Michael Pollan’s book left me curious about mushrooms, and keen to try some seasonal varieties as they become available. At the moment, it is possible to order Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) and King Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus eryngii) from Emile Peloquin, an Ottawa-area dealer in local and organic foods. Both are quite tasty when fried at increasingly high temperature along with butter and diced garlic. One interesting fact about Oyster Mushrooms is that they are one of a relatively small number of carniverous fungi, with a mycelium capable of killing and digesting nematode worms. Another is that they are the only wild mushrooms I have ever been involved in the collection, cooking, and consumption of, during the second LIFEboat Flotilla.
I am looking forward to trying Chanterelles (Cantharellus) and Morels (Morchellaceae Morchella), both of which feature prominently in Pollan’s book. If I can find suitable guidance somewhere, I would also be interested in trying my hand (it is probably more accurate to say ‘my eyes’) at mushroom hunting.
[Update: 11 February 2008] I cooked up quite a sampling today: cremini, shitake, oyster, and agaricus mushrooms, all nicely fried up. Agaricus is not terribly interesting, but they look cute in the mixture.
[20 February 2008] One interesting explanation for my newfound love of mushrooms could be Vitamin D deficiency. Ottawa is hardly the sunniest place in winter and, even on the days that are both cold and bright, one’s skin is mostly covered. 1/2 cup of mushrooms can contain 2700 IU of vitamin D, which is important for the proper functioning of many bodily systems.