The Mushroom Cookbook and Primer

The is a valuable compendium of information about the many edible mushrooms that are now increasingly available to curious cooks. It includes 175 recipes, most of which I have never made and have little interest in...because for me the primary value of the book is the detailed information on finding, evaluating, storing, and using 30+ "common" mushrooms. Once I know about a mushroom, I can decide for myself how to use it with whatever fresh, local ingredients I have.

These mushrooms, except for the button mushroom, shiitake, portobello, and porcini, are usually not available at a run-of-the-mill supermarket.

Some of these you can find at Whole Foods. I saw a good variety of fresh ones at the Rosemont Market in Portland, Maine last night. Dried criminis, cepes, and chanterelles are often available at Polish and Russian markets and at Ed Hyder's Mediterranean Marketplace in Worcester. Now Oyster Creek Mushrooms of Damariscotta, Maine produces half-ounce packets of many of the less common varieties of dried mushrooms.

You can do it yourself, too. There are a couple of small companies providing mushroom-growing kits, none more sophisticated and user friendly than the wonderful Fungipail from Motown Mushrooms in Morrisville, Vermont. I bought one and it is growing now. I can already see the first harvest of Pearl Oyster Mushrooms coming out...

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