- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Harvard University Press (October 30, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674445554
- ISBN-13: 978-0674445550
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,355,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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In the Company of Mushrooms: A Biologist's Tale
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Elio Schaechter's In the Company of Mushrooms is a delight from start to finish, a truly splendid account of an obsession. It's everything about mushrooms: their extraordinary biology, history, appearance, flavours, folklore, cuisine, gathering and more. A passionate work, admits Schaechter. Laced with stories and arcane knowledge (did you know that truffle-hunting pigs are all sows, chasing a sex hormone the fungus secretes?), this is a dream of a book. (New Scientist)
Elio Schaechter has written an entertaining account of the arcane world of hunting and identifying wild mushrooms...Schaechter several times disclaims his book as a guide, and he is quite right. This book is not a guide to collecting mushrooms; rather, it is a guide to thinking about them. (Margaret E. Guthrie New York Times Book Review)
[A] funny and fascinating book. (Nature)
[A] charming memoir...[In the Company of Mushrooms] is 'science writing' (usually an oxymoron) at its very best. (M. R. Montgomery Boston Globe)
Elio Schaechter's In the Company of Mushrooms is likely to stoke the ardor of mushroom lovers; it's certainly bound to increase their knowledge of this most intriguing plant. (David Farkas Cleveland Plain Dealer)
'Crimini!' I exclaimed, halfway through this charming story of one man's love affair with mushrooms. 'Fungi aren't quite as yucky as I thought.'...[A]long with a wealth of lore about the natural history of fungi and the social history of the people who hunt them, Schaechter provides a lengthy list of clubs in the United States and Canada where amateurs can learn mycogastronomy firsthand. In short, here's a book where you're sure to find a good story with an uplifting morel. (Laurence A. Marschall The Sciences)
An enthusiastic journey through mushroom lore and science. (Chronicle of Higher Education)
A wonderful book by an amateur in the best meaning of the word. Schaechter makes a convincing case for E.O. Wilson's biophilia hypothesis--the suggestion of an inborn affinity human beings have for other forms of life. This book is not a field guide on how to distinguish edible from poisonous mushrooms; it is filled with stories about fungi and the people who study them (as he reminds us, story and history derive from the Greek work for 'learning by inquiry'). (Felix Bärlocher Quarterly Review of Biology)
[An] engaging book. (Booklist)
[Schaechter] covers the whole mushroom: biology and life history, common wild and cultivated species, clubs and collecting, eating, and hallucinogenic and poisonous mushrooms. The author enthusiastically entertains and informs the reader with his worldwide experiences as a mushroom gatherer and gourmet and as a consultant to the Boston Poison Center...Not a detailed field guide, cookbook, or textbook, this work is an excellent choice for the curious but perhaps biology-deficient reader who would like to know a little more about mushrooms. (Library Journal)
An intelligent and delightful tour of the mushroom world. It serves as an excellent introduction to the mushroom microcosm, yet contains enough novel and insightful material to appeal to even the most jaded mushroom hunter or mycologist. I recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in nature. (David Arora, author of Mushrooms Demystified: A Comprehensive Guide to the Fleshy Fungi)
Top customer reviews
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Buy the field guides, of course, but buy this book if you love mushrooms and mushrooming.
If you enjoy the thrill of a morel hunt and its tasty aftermath, or are an armchair naturalist who would like to read a well-written investigation into the secret life of fungi, "In the Company of Mushrooms" will both nourish and instruct you. Just remember that there are two tons of fungi for every human on the planet!
Professor Schaechter is a lover of mushrooms. In his hands these seemingly ignoble denizens of rotting tree trunks and forest floors, neither plants nor animals, become not only interesting, but beautiful as well. He considers the biology and history of the mushroom, the uses and dangers; the entire interrelationship of human and fungus in fact, in a warm and engaging narrative style which brings the reader along for a most enjoyable biology lesson. Every branch of learning should have an Elio Schaechter.
(The "score" rating is an ineradicable feature of the page. This reviewer does not "score" books.)