04/11/2011 10:24 am ET Updated Jun 11, 2011

How Mushrooms Became As American As Apple Pie

Fungus that grows on rot might not, at first, seem the perfect image of our culinary ideals. And yet, if there is one food that can most perfectly symbolize America's values in the way we eat and cook, it might well be mushrooms. All kinds of mushrooms: the otherworldly morels that have started to appear in the moist morning of the Great Lakes, yellowfoot chanterelles in the steep woods of the northern states, rugged Hen of the Woods mushrooms on the East coast. Their variety is infinite, their appearance beguiling, the taste, when fresh, ineffable. The fact is that we are now living in the Mushroom Millennium.

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