Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New To Me: Fungi

(Quorn image courtesy of Jan Ainali)
 I’ve been eating fungi recently. I bought this stuff called Quorn, thinking it was one of those soy products that masquerades as chicken.   While I was cooking it (okay, heating it in the microwave for 2 minutes), I read the package and learned that Quorn is largely made of mycoprotein. Cool, but unexpected.
I don’t like mushrooms and lichen creeps me out, so my only previous up close and personal experience with fungi was a missed encounter with “magic mushrooms” in my misspent youth.

I always avoided psychedelics, mostly because I had such strong reactions to pot (depersonalization, anyone?) that I was too scared.  A college ex-boyfriend, who was a boyfriend at the time, gave me a bag of “magic mushrooms” as a going away present, when he headed off to Latin America for a semester abroad. The bag sat in my fridge, until the day the slumlord made an impromptu apartment inspection.

He opened the fridge, picked up the bag of of shriveled mushrooms, and said, “Looks like you need to clean out this fridge.” 

About two seconds after he left, I flushed the mushrooms down the toilet (the toilet in the bathroom which had no door, because that’s how wretched that apartment was).  So that’s as close as I ever got to fun with fungi, until I found Quorn. Maybe one day, when I’m 80 or so, I’ll set off a psychedelic fueled journey of the soul.  It seems like something everyone should do before they die.

Hopefully you’ll be as happy as I was to learn that fungi are not underrepresented in the world of literature.  GoodReads has compiled lists of books featuring bad fungi (murder via poison!) and good fungi (adventures in idyllic musthroom gathering).  I also came across this cool kid’s book, Fungus The Bogeyman.  Burgin Streetman has an awesome review of the book over at her site, Vintage Childrens’ Books My Kid Loves. I’m still unclear on whether this Bogeyman is actually a fungus, but I guess I’ll have to read to find out!

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