Great for any person who perennially insists that they’re a “fun-gi” at family functions, Frank Hyman’s How to Forage for Mushrooms without Dying is a fascinating guidebook that’ll earn its place on any bookshelf, even if the only foraging that gets done is deeper into the sofa cushions.
Hyman covers an array of topics with signature style, from Anglophilic mycophobia to a covetable tools section to correct storage and preparation. Engaging, informative personal anecdotes are peppered throughout, but the main focus is the robust field identification guide.
With roughly 14,000 species of mushroom in the world, the book doesn’t attempt to be comprehensive. It’s slim enough to fit in a pocket because Hyman wants it to get outside. Its mushroom identification section simplifies field IDs, featuring only those characteristics that must all be correct in order to consume. Nonetheless, the guide is still chock full of mushrooms with names as delicious and evocative as the mushrooms themselves, many of which have few to no lookalikes.
Poor judgment, not intelligence, is really what gets people in trouble with mushrooms, whether from the grocery store or the wilds. While most mushroom books are by mycologists for mycologists, Hyman writes as an experienced mushroom forager who’s excited to bring others into the fold…or field or forest, as the case may be.
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