History of Fungi
By Paul Isackson
Le Cordon Bleu:
The first species of edible mushroom have been found in Chile, 13000 years back but the first evidence of mushroom consumption have been found several years back in China. In Chinese tradition, mushrooms were considered a medicinal item as well as a food item. In ancient times the act of consuming mushroom was called ‘Mycophagy’. The upper class of Ancient Romans and Greeks were also fond of eating mushrooms in their meals. USA got imported spores from Mexico in late 1800’s and hence led to the introduction of mushroom. Chinese cuisine makes wide use of mushroom in most of its recipes. Indian, Greek and American cuisines are also not far behind from Chinese cuisine while using mushroom in their recipes. Mushroom omelet Chinese style and Chinese chicken with mushrooms are some of the common Chinese mushroom recipes. Matar mushroom and rock’s curry mushroom soup are common Indian mushroom dishes. Mushroom gives an earthy flavor and meaty texture to various dishes. My thoughts and detailed description on mushrooms hold a mushroom in your hand; feel its springy flesh. Smell its dark, pungent aroma. Imagine how it will taste – its gills breaking in your mouth, easily chewed but never liquefied. That one of a kind texture, flavor, and aroma - makes mushrooms a true culinary marvel. Add them to anything and a dish now has a strong flavor base. Add cream to mushrooms, and it’s heaven on earth. On the subconscious level, mushrooms stimulate feelings, such as fear and a primal hunger for something wild. Mushrooms incite these feelings because we have a long and complex history of interaction with them. Mushrooms, like tomatoes, were mysterious and scary at first, but have evolved into a huge industry that mass produces a rather tasteless product, but is supplemented with authentic, exotic options. The word that describes the fear of mushrooms is mykophobia. It is a popular feeling because we still know...
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