Mycophagy and Mycology
Natural History, Taxonomy, Language, Nutrition
John H Balfour
Discusses a report of a recent meeting of the Perthshire Society of Natural Science which featured papers by John Sadler on Perthshire flora and Francis B W White on 'Sugaring for Moths', and which ended with members eating different species of funguses, each described with its abstruse technical name, 'cooked in almost every conceivable manner'. Notes the distinction made by 'modern mycologists and mycophagists' between boletus and fungus, and explains that although many funguses are edible, 'few Britons dare venture upon any but the Common Mushroom'. Suggests that this may be due to their fear of 'injury' when discussing such 'crackjaw names' as those listed in the report. Explains some of the 'trivial' names given to funguses other than the common mushroom, but points out that most people call them toadstools. Concludes by advising Mr Punch to enjoy eating the Boletus edulis fungus, which, despite its name, is a delicacy.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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