Mushrooms – A Culinary History (or not)

I have to admit, right off the bat, that I’m not a fan of eating mushrooms.  I have come to the point that I can tolerate cooked mushrooms (if they are mixed with enough other foods to minimize their flavour), but raw mushrooms are not something that I can easily get down my throat…therefore, you mycophiles out there might not see things quite eye-to-eye with me.  But the point of this article isn’t to convince you not to eat mushrooms.  Rather, hopefully, to bring you a laugh…or at least a grunt of semi-amusement. 

So, without further ado, the Culinary History of Mushrooms (disclaimer:  any resemblance to reality is strictly coincidental)

It was the year 3276 B.C.  Zog had just returned home from a successful  hunting trip.  He had managed to bring down that most dreaded of pre-historic animals…a sabre toothed chihuahua.  His wife, Zigga, had just come home from a hunt of her own.  She had been out gathering various fruits and vegetables to eat with whatever meat Zog was able to bring home.  While she had been out, she noticed a rather colourful plant that she had never eaten before…to the best of her knowledge, nobody else she knew had ever eaten this particular plant before either.  So, she picked the mysterious bit of vegetation and added it to her bundle.  Little did she know that she was the first person in the history of the world to try something that would later be called a mushroom.

Zog was rather excited about the idea of eating something new and mysterious, so when Zigga presented the mushroom to him, he popped it into his mouth, chewed thoughtfully for a few seconds, and promptly dropped dead.

Zigga was saddened by the death of her husband, but knew that life must go on.  The next day, she again went out to gather vegetation.  She saw another mushroom – it looked identical to the one that had killed her husband, so she prudently left it alone.  A little further down the path, however, she saw a different variety of mushroom.  “I wonder,” she wondered, “If this one can be eaten.”  So she picked up the mushroom and took it home.  She gave it to her late husband’s brother Og.  Og knew how his brother had died, but being a rather simple-brained cave-man, he was also curious as to the effects that this fungus would have, so he took a small nibble.  Three days later, when the hallucinations finally seemed to have come to an end, he decided to eat the rest so that he could take “another trip on the magic mammoth”.  Alas, too much of a seemingly good thing was not so good (incidentally, the 2nd person to consume mushroom ended up being the 1st person to die of drug-overdose).

Zigga was beginning to see a pattern that mushrooms = death.  But she still wasn’t convinced…so she continued to kill off her family and friends with her various fungal experimentations.  Due to the fact that the legal system had not been invented yet, Zigga got away with her serial-mushrooming.  But by and by, she ended up discovering that there were  a few varieties of the fungus that seemed to have no ill effect on those who consumed them.

So…if not for Zigga’s curiosity, our society would have never degraded to the point of murder, drugs, or the consumption of fungus.

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