Book Review

The Mushroom Lover's Cookbook and Primer
by Amy Farges

Cover: The Mushroom Lover's Cookbook and Primer

Amy Farges is co-owner of Marche Aux Delices (using the trademark "Aux Delices Des Bois") with her husband Thierry. The firm distributes wild mushrooms across the United States from their offices in New York City. Amy picked up the mushroom bug from Thierry who comes from a French family with a strong heritage of mushroom foraging and eating. For this book she collaborated on the recipes with cooking professional Chris Styler. Unlike the typical recipe book, this book hinges on Amy's engaging writing style and not just the recipes.

The first 13 pages of introductory material are enjoyable reading and provide a bit of history and background on both wild and cultivated mushrooms as well as hints on selecting, storing,cleaning, cooking and preserving mushrooms. The next major section is about 270 pages of recipes, but that section is not without Amy's enjoyable prose. Each recipe includes an introductory paragraph that explains what you can expect for a result and what the best use for each dish might be (party dish, appetizer, main dish etc.).

The recipe section of the book is split into 13 subsections. Among the recipes in a few of those subsections:

The final 38 pages are a "Mushroom Primer". What's that? Well, it's a description with preparation tips for each of the mushrooms featured in the book:

  • Black trumpet
  • Cauliflower
  • Chicken of the Woods
  • Fried Chicken
  • Honey
  • Milky Cap
  • Morel
  • Parasol
  • Puffball
  • Straw
  • Winecap
  • Blewit
  • Porcini
  • Cremini
  • Hedgehog
  • Honshimeji
  • Lobster
  • Fairy Ring
  • Pompom
  • St. Georges
  • Black Truffle
  • Wood Ear
  • Bluefoot
  • Chanterelle
  • Enoki
  • Hen of the Woods
  • Huitlacoche
  • Matsutake
  • Oyster
  • Portabella
  • Shiitake
  • White Truffle
  • Yellow Foot

The primer section also includes mail order sources of mushrooms and a conversion table.

In summary, we think this is a great cookbook especially for the mushroom enthusiast who isn't a gourmet cook - yet. The straightforward discussions and detailed recipes will make it easy to create many great dishes for your table.