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Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms Hardcover – October 25, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Mycophilia is the most engrossing, readable book about mushrooms and the science of mycology I have ever read. This is THE book to give to people interested in mushrooms, whether they are beginners, longtime mushroom hunters, or professional mycologists.” ―Gary Lincoff, author of The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms

“Engaging trawl through the labryinths of mycophilia...lyrical and precise...Ms. Bone ends her odyssey elegantly, discovering mushrooms may be the most important--and most hopeful--ingredient of life on Earth.” ―Wall Street Journal

“One of the most beguiling books I've read this year. A generous sprinkling of amateur photos only adds to the charm of "Mycophilia"...Weird details,combined with a flair for startling analogies, brighten even the most rambling passages of Bone's book...Set her on the hunt for fungi in the aftermath of a forest fire and Bone can make you shiver in the slovenly vacuum of a campsite she compres to a cold fireplace...Bone deployes the precise, uncommon vocabulary of the best naturalists. Bone's enthusiasm would prompt even the most languid armchair ecologist to take a new interest in...mushrooms...Each and every fungus contains properties that, as described by Bone, sound almost magical...Delicious, surprising and dizzyingly informative book.” ―New York Times Book Review

“Earthy and honest...with good humor and clear writing.” ―The Denver Post

“Mycophilia...will delight many readers...[Bone] makes a charming and witty tour guide through the vast world of fungi...Mycophilia is one of those books that can completely change the way we view the Earth, making us ever more conscious and even conscientious citizens.” ―The Plain Dealer

About the Author

EUGENIA BONE is an author and a food writer who has been featured in numerous national publications. She writes a blog on preserving foods for the Denver Post. She lives in New York City.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; First Edition edition (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605294071
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605294070
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #572,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I have been writing about food for twenty years. My first book, At Mesa's Edge, was nominated for a Colorado Book Award. My second book, Italian Family Dining, was written with my father, artist and cookbook author Edward Giobbi. My third, Well Preserved, was nominated for a James Beard Award. My fourth book, Mycophilia, is about mycology. It might seem incongruous, but in fact, recipe writing and science writing are not totally dissimilar: both require very precise thinking and evocative language. It took me years to understand the science (I was not a biology major, not by a long shot) and to navigate the erudite and eccentric community of professional and amateur mycologists, but producing Mycophilia has been the most profound writing experience of my career. Mushrooms turned out to be the window by which I came to understand nature in a deeper way. For mushroom recipes, links to mushroom clubs, and more, go to http://mycophilia.com/ My current book is The Kitchen Ecosystem, a cookbook that reimagines traditional home cooking for the 21st century. Organized by primary ingredient, from Apples to Zucchini, there are recipes to eat some fresh, preserve some, use the preserves, and use the scraps--the stuff you usually throw away--to bump up the flavor of future meals. All the preserving recipes are small batch, to be prepared while you are hanging around the kitchen cooking dinner anyway. It's the integrative approach to cooking.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms noted food writer Eugenia Bones takes us along on her personal voyage of discovery in the mushroom realm and it's (mostly undergound) parent the fungal kingdom.

An unusual book, Mycophilia is a journal peppered with scientific information, folklore, gardening tips and the occasional bad pun, providing us with a window into the world of mushrooms and the cast of characters who hunt, cook, document, experiment, dye (and much more) with them. As I read I could not help but wonder at how little attention we collectively pay to an organism (neither plant nor animal) which makes up 25% of the planet's biomass, is among the earliest life forms and which is intricately intertwined with so many aspects of our existence. As she was instructed prior to embarking on a mushroom hunt (foray), one only need to stop and look.

It is a very well written and enjoyable read. Along the way I learned a great deal more than I had anticipated, not least of which is how little I have learned about this large and varied kingdom in 20+ years of science education. I was surprised to find that fewer than 5% of the species have been identified, described scientifically, and yet how many uses have been discovered and described for mushrooms. I found myself spouting mushroom facts at the dinner table which in turn has gotten my son more interested in science : I believe the things which grabbed his attentiu0on were: that there is a mushroom which tastes like maple syrup "let's grow them," and that if all of the spores from one of the more prolific species were to bloom at once, it would throw the planet out of orbit).
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Eugenia Bone is fascinated by mushrooms, although not a hardcore mycologist. She likes the edible mushrooms as a cook and, recalling mushroom hunting trips as a child, set to learn more. From mushroom festivals to scientific study of the cancer fighting properties of medicinal mushrooms, she takes you on a broad journey through the fungal kingdom.

First, this is not a field guide. You will need a library of field guides as well as local experts if you wish to follow up her stories with real life experience. But even while not a field guide, I can only hope the actual edition has color plates and quality printing. I am reviewing an advance copy and the illustrations are abysmal.

Eugenia Bone has obviously been influenced by Paul Stamet's Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World, a book I highly recommend to mushroom lovers, environmentalists and lovers of the quirky. While Stamet's has the depth of years of collecting, experimenting with and propagating mushrooms- indeed he is one of the leading experts on the subject- Boone is a fascinated amateur. I like her book, her enthusiasm and her ability to pick up interesting facts and her ability to make them understandable to mushroom newbies.

I have been collecting and cooking mushrooms for 30 years, but generally confine myself to polypores (mushrooms with pinholes underneath instead of gills) where it is easier to avoid poisonous mistakes. It is also the part of the mushroom kingdom where most of the medicinal mushrooms are found, and as a practitioner of Oriental Medicine I make use of those. I have maybe 30 books on mushrooms in addition to herbals that reference them. Still I found Mycophilia to be enjoyable and worth reading.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Mycophilia is a hard-to-categorize blend of popular science, memoir, and travelogue, but here's what I think it really is: the story of one woman's love affair with all things mushroomy. And while I was expecting something maybe a little more focused and less gregarious, I enjoyed plunging into the strange world of mushrooms and mushroomers.

Just to be clear, Mycophilia is not a mushroom guide. It won't tell you how to avoid the poisonous ones or identify the edible ones. There are no recipes or color photos, and the grainy black and white photos that are there rarely add much. Instead, Eugenia Bone's growing interest in mycology and travels to different conferences, festivals, and farms form the basis of interesting, if eclectic, chapters that cover truffles, psychedelics, pro mushroom hunting, medicinal mushrooms, and even mushrooms as potential environmental heroes. The chapters stand well on their own and can be read out of order. (If anything, they can be just a little repetitive as several people are introduced more than once.) Read together, however, they drive in Bone's point that mushrooms are in, on, or affecting just about everything on this planet.

Accessible but not dumbed down, Mycophilia is perfect for the factoid-loving layperson. Although I have several books on mushrooms, Bone has an eye for quirky and fascinating facts that few others mention: the fungal parasites that turn their caterpillar and ant hosts into zombies and eventually fruit through their bodies, the truth about truffle oil, the fungus growing within Chernobyl, the possible link between fossil fuels and mushrooms.
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