Friday, 7 January 2011

Friday Fungus: Mushroom Deniers (and a flavour of what they're missing)

Out there in the world – I know you find this hard to take – there remain “mushroom deniers”. The simple act of entering “I hate mushrooms” into a Google search reveal over 1.4 million references. That’s a whole load of mushroom hatred going down out there! Some of these ‘mushroom deniers have even coined the term ‘mycophobe’ to describe their sad condition.

Some deniers have gone to the trouble of listing all the things wrong with mushrooms – a terrifying list of sins ranging from alleged ‘sliminess’, how they feel between ones toes (‘deniers’ seem strangely obsessed by the relationship between mushrooms and athlete’s foot), the smell and, of course, the taste.

Although millions of people eat mushrooms without any ill-effect - indeed, with every indication of pleasure (even great pleasure) – the deniers are always harking on about how some mushrooms are poisonous. There’s a whole forum and a Facebook group dedicated to sharing a dislike for mushrooms – a kind of support group for the terminally squeamish.

Even within my family there are mushroom deniers – my brother, my son, my nephew. And sometimes I worry – but not for long. After all – if they don’t want the joy of mushrooms, if they choose to deny the wonderfulness of fungi - that means more for me! More mushroom risotto, more Portobello mushrooms with Stilton & pine nuts and more of Kathryn’s wonderful mushroom soup.

Or how about a mushroom and cream cheese bagel? Made with fresh mushrooms gently fried with shallots, warm bagels and whatever cream cheese takes your fancy! Wonderful – think of those mushroom juices running down your chin, of licking the cheese and mushroom off your fingers and remember that ‘mushroom deniers’ are missing this joy. Spare them a thought as you go for the second helpings!


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