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Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares: The Love, Lore, and Mystique of Mushrooms [Kindle Edition]

Greg Marley
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2011 Winner, International Association of Culinary Professionals Jane Grigson Award2011 Finalist, International Association of Culinary Professionals in the Culinary History categoryThroughout history, people have had a complex and confusing relationship with mushrooms. Are fungi food or medicine, beneficial decomposers or deadly "toadstools" ready to kill anyone foolhardy enough to eat them? In fact, there is truth in all these statements. In Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares, author Greg Marley reveals some of the wonders and mysteries of mushrooms, and our conflicting human reactions to them.


With tales from around the world, Marley, a seasoned mushroom expert, explains that some cultures are mycophilic (mushroom-loving), like those of Russia and Eastern Europe, while others are intensely mycophobic (mushroom-fearing), including, the US. He shares stories from China, Japan, and Korea-where mushrooms are interwoven into the fabric of daily life as food, medicine, fable, and folklore-and from Slavic countries where whole families leave villages and cities during rainy periods of the late summer and fall and traipse into the forests for mushroom-collecting excursions.


From the famous Amanita phalloides (aka "the Death Cap"), reputed killer of Emperor Claudius in the first century AD, to the beloved chanterelle (cantharellus cibarius) known by at least eighty-nine different common names in almost twenty-five languages, Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares explores the ways that mushrooms have shaped societies all over the globe.


This fascinating and fresh look at mushrooms-their natural history, their uses and abuses, their pleasures and dangers-is a splendid introduction to both fungi themselves and to our human fascination with them. From useful descriptions of the most foolproof edible species to revealing stories about hallucinogenic or poisonous, yet often beautiful, fungi, Marley's long and passionate experience will inform and inspire readers with the stories of these dark and mysterious denizens of our forest floor.



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

By following a few basic guidelines, readers interested in foraging for their food will find themselves with a wealth of culinary opportunities courtesy of longtime amateur mycologist Marley (Mushrooms for Health). An enthusiastic guide, Marley introduces foragers to the most common wild edible shrooms – morels, puffballs, chicken mushrooms, and shaggy mane – as well as their more recognizable cousins in the market, such as chanterelles. Basic recipes for preparation (risottos, simple pastas, and the like) are included, enabling readers to get the most from their bounty. But Marley spends equal time with their more toxic and psychedelic brethren, describing key characteristics, common regions, and potential side effects, ensuring that initiates spend more time in the woods than the ER. While the book does have a set of color slides to aid in identification of edible and poisonous varieties, the sample pales in comparison to the many species Marley mentions. He's an enthused guide, though his tireless mushroom minutiae (trivia, history, taxonomy, and so on) and narrow focus on species native to the American northeast narrow the book's appeal. (Oct.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Mushroom lovers who can only get their fix by sampling the often paltry array that appears in their grocer’s produce section may be sorely tempted to indulge their mycophilia when they encounter some choice fungi in the wild. Unlike many Asian and European cultures, however, most Americans are hesitant to just pluck one off the forest floor and eat it on the spot. Perhaps such evocative names as the “Death Cap” mushroom has something to do with this mycophobia. Yet, says Marley, armed with proper background, this culinary caution can turn into complete confidence. From the fabled psychedelic “magic mushrooms” to the duplicitous appearance of “false morels,” Marley examines these fungal fiends and provides thorough descriptions of their habitat, appearance, and toxic properties to ward off potential misadventures. An avowed mycophile, Marley offers an entertaining and inquisitive look at both the heroes and villains of the kingdom Fungi in an enlightened guide that comprehensively examines their nutritional benefits, undesirable properties, and diverse cultural history. --Carol Haggas

Product Details

  • File Size: 3674 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing; 1 edition (October 29, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005KTT7D2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,830 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The first time I went on a mushroom hunt with the Mycological Society of San Francisco [...], I learned a lot about mushroom lore, mushroom anatomy, and mushroom recipes. My favorite joke from the group leader was this, "You'll only eat a poisonous mushroom once." ;-)

Greg Marley's book "Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares: The Love, Lore, and Mystique of Mushrooms" continues that guided tour of the mushroom world with a 6-part discussion:

Part I. Mushrooms and Culture
Part II. Mushrooms as Food
Part III. Dangerously Toxic, Deadly Interesting
Part IV. Mushrooms and the Mind: The Origin of Religion and the Pathway to Enlightment
Part V. Mushrooms within Living Ecosystems
Part VI. Tools for a New World

Each part is chock-full of good tidbits, introducing each type with its common name, its genus, and its species. What follows is great fun: other than the author's history with each mushroom, he offers songs, proverbs, and poetry that reference the great mushroom.

For those who love this fungi, it's a great book to add to your collection. For those just getting acquainted, this is a good book to start with. The photographs detailing each mushroom are vivid and clear. The endnotes give you a bit of further reading, and the index is invaluable. You can look up your mushroom by any of its names, nicknames, or even recipes.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
CHANTERELLE DREAMS, which focuses on mushrooms commonly found in the New England states, is neither a general introduction to mycology for beginners nor a mushroom-hunter's field guide. Most of the text consists of anecdotes about the author's personal enjoyment of, and experiences with, wild mushrooms; about well-publicized cases of mushroom poisoning; about religious and cultural uses of mushrooms; and about myths and lore surrounding glow-in-the-dark mushrooms, fairy rings, and the like.

Clearly the author is an expert in things mycological, but his technical descriptions of specific mushrooms can be difficult for beginners to follow. For example (p. 38): "Morels are saprobes, using as their food source leaf duff and wood in the soil. They have also been shown to form symbiotic, mycorrhizal associations with various tree species during parts of their life cycle. Their mycelia colonize broad areas, and often the fruiting body appears far from the original site of inoculation or obvious food source." Such information--undoubtedly of interest to experienced mushroom collectors--seems out of place in a book that isn't intended as a field guide. However, happily for the mycological novice, most of the stories that comprise the bulk of the text are far, far easier to read.

One fact that particularly caught my attention, is that some mushrooms (e.g., morels) can be mildly poisonous if not cooked before ingestion. CHANTERELLE DREAMS includes various mushroom recipes, a lot of good advice on how to get started with collecting mushrooms (e.g., start by joining a local mushroom club), instructions for growing your own mushrooms, a bibliography of recommended and supplemental reading, and an eight-page section of beautiful full-color photographs of selected mushrooms.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Framework for Getting into Mushroom Collection September 28, 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've been interested in mushrooms for a while, but like many people, I have a fear of eating the wrong one and dying :-) I have collected and eaten morels, but haven't had the nerve to eat any other wild mushroom ...yet. This book is fantastic as a way to get someone over that fear. I've read mushroom field guides before, but was overwhelmed by the photos and amount of info. I needed a framework to begin to grapple with overcoming my fear of mushrooms and give me a proper framework and attitude towards learning about them. No one I know personally does collecting. I also wanted a protocol on how to not only collect, but how to learn to safely eat for the first time mushrooms that are new to me. One of the other features I liked about the book was his recommendation of four mushroom groups for someone new to mushroom collection, his "Foolproof Four": 1. Morels, 2. Puffballs, 3. Sulphur mushroom/polypore, and 4. Shaggy Mane. This book is just what I have been looking for, to get me over my nervousness as a newbie to mushrooms.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best ever but not a field guide. February 27, 2011
Format:Paperback
I find some of these less than 5 star reviews absurd. The critical reviewers wanted this to be a field guide. Listen up. This is not a field guide! Read the title. Love, lore, mystique. Having read at least 50 mushroom books, I can tell you that this book is different from all others. It fills in a lot of knowledge you will NEVER get in a field guide. Read this after you have gotten over your need for field guides. It has a niche unto itself. Further, let me say that Greg's writing style is head and shoulders above that of most any other mushroom book. Excellent laying on the couch winter reading. I consider it one of the top three mushroom books I have read. Not a field guide though.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Foray deeper...with "Chanterellle Dreams" November 22, 2010
Format:Paperback
Foraged wild foods these days have risen from curious oddity to standard ingredients on many epicureans' cutting boards. And to those epicureans, few wild foods can outshine mushrooms. For most serious gastronomes reading this, wild edible mushrooms are more than likely an enticing ingredient, but of all the palatable species (most "edible" mushrooms, of course, simply aren't worth the trouble of bringing home because of their poor taste or texture), most mushroom hunters will stick to just a few of the more reliably recognized ones. If this describes you, Greg Marley's new book Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares is for you. Marley is an indefatigable fixture among the mycophiles of New England (he has made Maine his home since 1981). He routinely lectures on the topics of wild mushrooms and medicinal plants and fungi, leads mushrooms forays, and writes prolifically. His previous book, Mushrooms for Health: Medical Secrets of Northeastern Fungi (2009), was a welcome addition to any mycophile's shelf devoted to medicinal mushrooms; it was concisely written, easy to read even for beginners, and well priced. With Chanterelle Dreams, Marley has turned his attention--and pen--to the gustatory side of mushrooms. And lore. (You'll buy the book for the former, and read it over and over for the latter.)
Chanterelle Dreams will appeal to anyone, no matter the level of knowledge about mushrooms and other fungi. Certainly, this book will have special appeal to beginners.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Into the Woods
I have enjoyed mushrooms for as long as I can remember, and was fascinated to learn more about them when I first moved here to Pennsylvania, not far from Kennett Square ("the... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Robert L. Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read!
My son, a naturalist and mushroom aficionado got this (and another much more expensive book on mushrooms) for Christmas, but I noticed this is the one he was engrossed in reading... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Sarah Sue
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting
I love mushrooms. I work with Amanita Muscaria mushrooms, so the title alone caught my eye. Mushrooms of all types are very mysterious and magical. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Eternity Shaina
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, most informative
I will let the other 5 star reviews describe this book in detail.

Although this book is mostly about mushrooming in Maine, it definitely applies to the mountains of New... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Jack Pepper
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, informative and can help you both to get out of the house and to...
Mushroom foraging can be a great way to pass a late-summer afternoon AND a recipe for disaster. This book attempts to provide you with the fundamental information you will need to... Read more
Published on July 19, 2012 by D. Brennan
5.0 out of 5 stars great survey of mushroom facts and lore!
This is a fascinating and entertaining survey of the world of mycophilia. Greg weaves science, myth, and experience into a multitude of tales from the mushroom kingdom. Read more
Published on January 23, 2012 by islandgrown
5.0 out of 5 stars Author Has Voice of Experience - A Lot About the Issue of Poisoning...
Marley has decades of experience hunting wild mushrooms and researching them, he's a mycologist. This book focuses on edible mushrooms for culinary use. Read more
Published on January 16, 2012 by ChristineMM
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book!
Before reading this book, I had gone mushrooming a couple of times in Russia, liked to eat mushrooms, and had a passing interest in mushrooming. Read more
Published on December 15, 2011 by J. Jacobs
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Mushroom Recipes!
Fantastic book, I just wish I lived on the East coast! Very amazing recipes in this book as well as great details on how to dry or freeze or otherwise store a large mushroom... Read more
Published on May 27, 2011 by hellaD
4.0 out of 5 stars A good intro guide, though not complete
If you've never encountered mushrooming as a hobby--or profession--you may be surprised at how complex a topic it really is. Read more
Published on February 16, 2011 by Lupa
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