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197 × 120 × 18 mm
160 pages
56 illustrations, 46 in colour
01 Sep 2013
  • £11.99

  • This edition is currently unavailable

Mushroom A Global History Cynthia D. Bertelsen

Known as the meat of the vegetable world, mushrooms have their ardent supporters as well as their fierce detractors. J.R.R. Tolkien’s hobbits went crazy over them, while the French philosopher Denis Diderot thought they should be ‘sent back to the dung heap where they are born’. In Mushroom, Cynthia D. Bertelsen examines the colourful history of edible fungi, whose story is fraught with murder and accidental death, hunger and gluttony, sickness and health, religion and war. Some cultures equate them with the rottenness of life while others delight in cooking and eating them, and elevate them to the status of delicacy. And then there are those ‘magic’ mushrooms which some people link to ancient religious beliefs.

In the nineteenth century mushrooms entered the realm of haute cuisine after millennia of being picked from the wild for use in everyday cooking and medicine. This new demand drove entrepreneurs and farmers to seek methods for cultivating mushrooms, including experiments in domesticating the highly sought after but elusive truffles.

Packed with images of mushrooms both nondescript and outlandish from around the globe, this savoury book will be essential reading for any who appreciate the earthy delights of mushrooms.

‘a very readable and wide-ranging work . . . the whole is nicely illustrated, mainly in colour . . . If you know a serious mushroom cook, and would like a birthday present to extend their mycological background, this elegantly presented and delightful little book would be spot-on!’ — IMA Fungus

‘I spent several deluxe days in the company of her wonderful, colorful new Mushroom: A Global History, and can't say enough good things about it. In a cavalcade of stunning photos and prose, Bertelsen accomplishes the near-impossible: she makes us fall in love with the homely spore . . . Bertelsen delivers a command performance from start-to-finish . . . Here, the whole golden world of mushrooms is laid out before us, a treasure chest of history and folklore, knowledge and astonishment. Bertelsen magically turns what could have been an arcane investigation into an intimate and involved roundelay of mushroom facts and fictions, as well as mushroom recipes youll want to try yourself.’ — Alimentum Journal

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Cynthia D. Bertelsen is a culinary historian and photographer based in Blacksburg, Virginia. Author of the culinary history blog Gherkins & Tomatoes, and numerous articles on food and food history, in 2011 she won the Julia Child Independent Scholar grant awarded by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Introduction: The Importance of Being Mushroom
1  Anatomy of the Mushroom
2  The Quiet Hunt: Mushroom Foraging
3  Take Ye Fair Mushrooms: Cooking
4  Preservation
5  Nutrition, Medicine and Religion
6  Cultivation
7  A Mushrooming Future
How to Grow a Mushroom
Among the Mushrooms: The Major Players
Select Bibliography
Websites and Associations
Photo Acknowledgements