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Article: 14 Books That Every Mushroom Lover Needs to Read at Least Once

14 Books That Every Mushroom Lover Needs to Read at Least Once

14 Books That Every Mushroom Lover Needs to Read at Least Once

Autumn and winter are the perfect seasons to curl up and get cozy with a good book. In the spirit of the season, we’re sharing a list of some of our favorite titles to help you deepen your understanding of nature, get more comfortable cooking mushrooms and instill a love of fungi in the next generation. Whether you’re new to the magic and mystery of mushrooms or your connection to them is long-established, there’s something for you here. 

Mushroom Cookbooks

“Fantastic Fungi Community Cookbook” 

edited and with essays by Eugenia Bone, with recipes from the Fantastic Fungi Community 

As we’ve said time and again, we’re here because of our community. You helped us expand from an award-winning, acclaimed film into a global movement of like-minded mycophiles. This cookbook is yours — with recipes you will actually want to cook for dinner, from people like you all around the world. Plus, it includes five essays from acclaimed author Bone, who also edited the book. 

With seasonal recipes for cultivated and wild mushrooms, this is the mushroom book you’ll reach for time and time again. Bookmark recipes like Lobster Mushroom Chowdah, Cream of Porcini Soup with Chicken, Rigatoni with Mushroom Bolognese and Oaxacan Wild Mushroom Quesadillas. 

"The Mushroom Feast: A Celebration of all Edible Fungi, Cultivated, Wild and Dried, with Recipes"

by Jane Grigson 

First published nearly 50 years ago, this indispensable classic includes over 100 recipes with tips on the best ways to use fresh and preserved mushrooms. Grigson also included stories about the rich folklore behind various fungi, along with guides to distinguish edible varieties from potentially harmful lookalikes. 

Grigson was one of the leading cookbook writers of her generation in the UK. She passed in 1990, but her books live on. The book covers all the classic culinary mushrooms, including truffles, cepes (porcini) and morels. There are updated versions or keep an eye out at your favorite secondhand bookstores for early editions.  

"Mushroom Gastronomy" 

by Krista Towns 

Put this one on your 2024 must-read list. Towns is the culinary editor for Fungi Magazine and culinary advisor/recipe developer for a premier mushroom farm. The recipes — 120 in total — range from ambitious to accessible, and they’re all exquisite: Black Trumpet Mushroom and White Bean Bisque, Candy Cap Cream Martini, Lion's Mane Bolognese, Morel Mini Quiche, Grilled Black Pearl Oyster and Charred Ramp Quesadilla, or Corn and Cheddar Grits with Wild Mushroom Ragu. 

Town uses 25 varieties of cultivated and wild mushrooms for appetizers, soups and broths, main dishes, desserts, and even cocktails. Beyond the recipes, she offers up nutritional values, cooking methods, culinary tips and flavor pairings, making this the ultimate culinary resource for home cooks and professional chefs alike. 

 This book will be published June 4, 2024. 

“Cooking with Healing Mushrooms: 150 Delicious Adaptogen-Rich Recipes That Boost Immunity, Reduce Inflammation and Promote Whole Body Health”  

by Stepfanie Romine 

This well-researched, handy book is half recipes and half guidebook to the supportive qualities of mushrooms. Romine categorizes mushrooms as major and minor based on their traditional and modern uses for health — and also as tough and tender, so you’ll learn how best to prepare them. 

A mix of comfort food favorites (Creamy Morel and Onion Dip, Lion’s Mane Crab Cakes and Oyster Mushroom Philly Cheesesteak Potatoes) and nutrient-dense recipes (Mango Lassi with Turmeric and Cordyceps, Chaga Acai Bowl and Adaptogenic Mushroom Fudge), the book is accessible for new and seasoned cooks alike.  

Nonfiction Mushroom Books

“Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms” 

by Eugenia Bone

We had to include Bone’s own book on mushrooms, which is captivating and comprehensive. She delves into not only the culinary uses of mushrooms but also the cultural, environmental and scientific potential of the fungi kingdom. From poison to exotic delicacy, hallucinogen to curative, Bone explores the diverse and fascinating uses of mushrooms throughout history and today. 

An accomplished food writer, Bone’s book is a delightful chronicle of her personal connections with the natural world as well as a thoroughly researched work of nonfiction. As a respected journalist who covers both food and natural science, Bone has a knack for reminding us that we are all connected to nature — and always leaves us hungry for more of her stories.  

The Lives of Fungi: A Natural History of Our Planet's Decomposers

by Britt Bunyard

Bunyard is the founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief of Fungi, the widest circulating mycology magazine in North America. Here, Bunyard offers stunning photography paired with stories about this extraordinary world beneath our feet. 

Mesmerizing detail shots will make you eager to turn each page, and the accompanying copy is equal parts riveting and accessible. 

“Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures” 

by Merlin Sheldrake

This book captures the magic and mystery of mushrooms — and the entire fungi kingdom — in a way that any fan of our film will appreciate. Sheldrake is on a mission to change how we understand the world, one mycelium and out-of-sight fungal organism at a time. This is a must-read for the science-obsessed person in your life. 

Shortlisted for the British Book Award, Entangled Life explores the myriad ways mushrooms can — and likely will — save the world. This book is a must-read for anyone who loves Fantastic Fungi!

“Christopher Hobbs's Medicinal Mushrooms: The Essential Guide: Boost Immunity, Improve Memory, Fight Cancer, Stop Infection, and Expand Your Consciousness” 

by Christopher Hobbs

This tome — winner of the 2021 American Botanical Council James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award — is readable but delivers detailed, intricately researched information about familiar and obscure mushrooms. 

Hobbs is an internationally renowned mycologist and herbalist with over 20 titles to his name; this one is basically a textbook that lay people can still understand. He includes details about nutritional content and active compounds for dozens of mushrooms, along with historical info and interesting anecdotes about traditional uses. 

Field Guides for Foragers 

"Fruits of the Forest: A Field Guide to Pacific Northwest Edible Mushrooms"

by Daniel Winkler

Whether you’re native to the region or planning a visit, this guide is an essential for any mushroom hunter in the Pacific Northwest. Winkler has called the PNW home for over a quarter-century, and he is a mushroom educator, trained ecologist and award-winning photographer. 

This full-color guide features over 170 edible mushrooms. It offers comprehensive information on habitats and seasonality, look-alikes, storing your haul and more. He even offers a few recipes, like Chanterelles in Cream Sauce, Bold Bolete Quiche, Breaded Saffron Milkcaps and Candy Cap Butter Cookies.  

"California Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Identification Guide"

by Michael G. Wood, Frederick A. Stevens and Dennis E. Desjardin 

Another geographically-specific guide, this one focuses only on the state of California — yet it features over 1,100 species profiles, with in-depth descriptions and photos. Of those, 650 mushrooms are profiled in enough detail to be accurately identified in the wild! 

The authors — a biologist, a botanist and a mycology-obsessed computer consultant — include info on each mushroom’s habitat, edibility, and comparisons with closely related species and potential look-alikes. A whopping 90% of the species exist outside the Golden State, making this book even more useful to myco-hunters. 

“Hunting Mushrooms: How to Safely Identify, Forage and Cook Wild Fungi” 

by Barbora Batokova 

We’ve peeked at an advance copy of this excellent foraging guide from the “Fungi Woman,” aka Barbora Batokova. With decades of foraging experience under her belt, this book is ideal for new foragers. Batokova included more than two dozen in-depth profiles of various mushrooms — and tells you how to stay safe when foraging. She also added 16 of her favorite recipes. 

More than simply a guide to identifying individual mushrooms, Batokova teaches readers the skills to categorize fungi and observe their natural surroundings. The book goes beyond the common edible mushrooms that most foragers seek, though she dives deep on many of those. Batokova does readers an even greater service by teaching about potentially harmful and even toxic mushrooms, including Death Caps and Destroying Angels. If you want to learn how to forage safely and responsibly, this book is a must-have. 

This book publishes in May 2024, so mark your calendar! 

Books for Kids

“Fantastic Fungi Coloring Book” 

illustrated by Rohan Daniel Eason 

This one is not just for kids — though they will certainly love coloring page after page. Based on mind-blowing photography by director Louie Schwartzberg, this deluxe coloring book is filled with the gorgeous and exotically beautiful images from the film. 

With over 12 different types of mushrooms, this coloring book is equally entertaining and educational. In addition to breathtaking landscapes featuring fungi, there are also patterns inspired by mushrooms for a meditative coloring experience. 

“Mason Goes Mushrooming” 

by Melany Kahn and illustrated by Ellen Korbonski 

We didn’t forget about the littlest mushroom lovers. Cultivate a love of foraging fungi with this beautifully illustrated book about a little boy named Mason and his four-legged best friend, Buddy. They travel through the woods of Vermont in search of Mason’s favorite edible mushrooms. 

Author Kahn has over 20 years of experience teaching little ones to forage — and Mason is based on her own son! Kids will love learning about different mushroom species, including chanterelles and lobsters in summer and black trumpets in the fall. There are lessons on the importance of sustainability and respecting nature, and tips about waiting for thunderstorms and apple blossoms to hunt certain species. There’s even a recipe that kids can help make! 

“Funky Fungi: 30 Activities for Exploring Molds, Mushrooms, Lichens, and More” 

by Alisha Gabriel and Sue Heavenrich

This activity book is perfect for active little ones. Entertaining but packed with super fun science lessons, this book is one that parents and kids will enjoy. Pick up a copy before the next school break to keep kids busy and learning. 

Kids will learn how the fungi kingdom is more than mushrooms on pizza. They will learn how mushrooms can help us and the planet we all call home. 

Photo Credit: Green Prophet

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