Growing up in the 90s, the only mushroom I had time for was Toad – Princess Peach’s loyal companion and by far the best Mario Kart character. My mom had been dying to have the mushrooms in her Bolognese, carbonara, and stir-fries. I thought it was wild. It was messy, unsettling, and spongy. The balance has changed over the past few decades. It’s not just that I love mushrooms, lovingly splashing yellow oysters from my fridge, and enjoying my morning coffee with Reishi and chocolate mix every morning – but everything outside my kitchen seems to produce mushrooms as well.
You dominate my social media feed; Takeover of the beauty and wellness industry; inspirational assorted books, exhibits, cheesy poster art, fashionable foraging and adorable housewares; Thanks to their unique structure and chemical properties, they are the ideal building blocks for everything from housing insulation to synthetic leather; and to be called ecological saviors sent to change the way we produce, consume and live. The psychedelic is becoming mainstream. Millennials have reportedly stopped drinking and instead ingest tiny amounts of psilocybin to improve their self-care. I would buy mushrooms if I knew anything about the stock markets. (Okay, those adorable little robots that deliver food right from your door. They’re growing.
They’ve been around since the beginning, but mushrooms aren’t new to the world. We actually share a common evolutionary history – a branch from the family tree that branched out from plants “possibly 1.1 billion years ago,” Natalie Angier wrote in 1993 for The New York Times. This is why fungal diseases can be so hard to treat, according to an article. “Much of the metabolism is so similar that you cannot adequately control a fungus without seriously affecting the human host,” said Mitchell L. Sogin, Ph.D. from the Center for Molecular Evolution at the Marine Biological Laboratory. We are mushrooms, and mushrooms are us. This toenail-fungus will ruin your life for many years. Crazy!
Many non-indigenous Westerners are just starting to realize that mushrooms have been treasured in many cultures. “America has been incredibly mycophobic the past 70 or so years,” Gordon Walker, Ph.D., the mycologist behind #FascinatedByFungi. This TikTok account aims to attract its 778,000+ followers to mushrooms inspire. “I believe that a lot this can be traced back to around World War II. This is when many of our immigrant food culture was lost to the whitewashing of American food. It happened at the expense local food systems but with the blessing of national food processors. Food became more industrialized and optimized to speed, cost-effectiveness, and ease of production. This led to a surge in fresh produce being pushed to the margins by tater tots and TV dinners. Because mushrooms were once feared, they may have lost their popularity.
Salt and pepper mill made of wood
“It has always been like this: ‘Eeewww, [mushrooms]’, Says Koch, author and TV presenter Sophia Roe. “For example, it’s these phallic things that represent death, rot, and mold – none of which is really bad.” However, we now have more information about mushrooms thanks to the proliferation of YouTube channels, books, and social media accounts like Walker’s. “People used be suspicious of mushrooms, as eating the wrong mushrooms could cause death or sickness,” Gina Rae La Cerva is a geographer, environmental analyst, and author Feasting Wild. In Search for the Last Untamed Food. “Now you can simply take a photo with your smartphone and identify what you see, even if it is far away.”
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