paper, 329 pp., $24.95
Beginning with strong cautionary words about eating wild mushrooms, author Michael Kuo proceeds to explain the ecological role of mushrooms in the environment, detailing features that help the adventurous observer to discover a particular mushroom. He discusses the importance of terminology in detection, noting for example that the same common name may be used for both a poisonous and an edible species. Learning from experts is required, Kuo insists. He suggests that amateur mycologists join a mushroom club in order to build up and reinforce their skills. He offers a list of equipment needed for hunting, collecting, and preparing edible mushrooms and provides a directory of profiles of individual mushroom species. Completing this volume are recipes using mushrooms, a listing of suggested readings and websites, as well as a combined glossary and index. The author’s humorous literary style throughout the book makes for delightful reading.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden