Taste in Mushrooms

Unusual edible mushrooms

‘Taste’ is used figuratively to mark our differences – our taste in fashion, culture, etc – and that’s how I’m using it here. Because I’d never dare eat any of these.

My sweetheart won’t eat mushrooms at all. it isn’t so much the flavour but the mouth feel. He’s happy for things to be cooked with them, provided any destined for his plate are reallocated to mine. While I’m positively adventurous, compared with him, the bar is set low. I do love mushrooms, especially button ones, but no-one would say I had sophisticated tastes.

Part of the trouble is that I have no faith in my ability to distinguish the edible mushrooms from the deadly ones and I have read too many Agatha Christie books as a girl. You have to assume if mushrooms are being offered for sale, they are OK, but I always entertain a flash of doubt. So while I’ve been going out of my way to sample a few wild raspberries on my walks, I would never dare forage for mushrooms.

In my lifetime, I must have eaten some of the ones above, in Chinese dishes, for example, but not deliberately. I could never see the point in buying them, often at great expense, when the button ones suit me fine.

Porcini mushrooms for sale at 49.50 per lb

I am happy to pay extra for good bread, if I can get it, though there are limits. Willingness to pay a premium price is partly to do with ability – can I stretch to this? – but also with perceived value, built up over a lifetime of associations.

Bread, now: aroma, bite, crust, wholesomeness, nutrients, artisan values, tasty extras like olives, walnuts, seeds, sour cherries even… those things tempt me.

Mushrooms: more spindly looking, more wizened, a higher stalk to cap ratio, more chewy or more melting…?  I just don’t get it. What am I missing?

Shared for Becky’s Square Perspectives. Her post today will raise a smile.

34 Replies to “Taste in Mushrooms”

  1. I did visit Becky’s post, and, yes, it is a good one for lightening the heart. Thanks to you both for that! As for mushrooms, they too lighten my heart; for reasons I cannot explain, I love their look. I have also been known, back in the day when I ate such things, to eat mushroom pizza most undaintily. Someone made mushroom soup once that was one of the best things I ever ate. But mostly I love looking at them. Your first photo above is lovely to me — a brown study, for sure. The price in the second photo was all I could see, however. Good gracious!

    I’m in complete agreement that “adventure” and “mushroom” ought not go together in terms of ingestion. But they make for a fine visual adventure. Thanks!

    1. Some things are too good to be eaten without some gusto but I’m having all kinds of thoughts about you undaintily eating mushroom pizza. I quite like a mushroom pizza myself – my main problem is waiting long enough for it to cool.

      1. Oh, indeed. One must develop such a fine sense of timing with that first bite of good pizza! Too soon, and the mouth gets burned; too late and the cheese isn’t properly gooey. Practice, practice, practice!

  2. Having lived in France where fungi- hunting was an art form, but one which I never dared indulge in without the company of a knowledgeable friend, I’ve come to appreciate some of the subtle flavour differences. But on the whole I get by with common-or garden field or button mushrooms, and the extra kick of dried ones in various flavours. But I do love a good mushroom-hunt, though I’m only confident in picking field mushrooms, shaggy ink caps and puffballs. Free food is the best!

    1. I like the idea of foraging and will always grab a few berries if they’re ripe. Infact I was looking enviously at raspberries growing wild just a few feet out of reach earlier today. I can’t imagine eating puffballs. I would never have thought they were edible if you hadn’t told me.

  3. I’m in your camp about trusting wild mushrooms, with similar threats of death drilled into my head as a child. Like your partner, I find the texture off-putting. The flavor, esp. in soup, is welcome, however!

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