I've always been [and am] texturally sensitive to food, so I was never really fond of mushrooms. As a kid, I developed an aversion to chewy and [unusually] resilient meats of any kind*. Little did I know that my mum was feeding me Campbell's heavily creamed soup [of deceit]. So it was only up until recently [as in last month] that I began to develop an interest in mushrooms. All thanks to a friend who is a self-professed mushroom connoisseur and has this unbridled enthusiasm for story telling. She introduced me to a couple of guidebooks detailing in some of the most exquisite varieties of mushrooms I've ever seen, [most of them being exclusive to the Northeastern region].
So it's no wonder that so many people have an affinity for these remarkably delicate organisms. There's even a FungiFest being held in LA this month. The line up sounds pretty interesting: mushroom harvesting and cooking, tours, slime mold racing [...], mushroom flavoured gelato tastings and more. I've included a short on one of the festival's speakers, Dr. Bob Cummings. It documents Dr. Bob on one of his routine mushroom drives**/walks and introduces a variety of colorful specimens.
Dr. Bob Cummings from David Fenster on Vimeo.
I've always found it fascinating to observe a person speak passionately about their field or something that they are deeply interested in. It’s like they exude a kind of captivating force that draws curiosity where it never existed [especially for something like mushrooms]. Personally, I have had yet to discover that single impetus to make my heart palpitate wildly, so its quite exciting to watch and listen to someone else who has.
*includes the likes of clams/mussels
**he has the ability to spot mushrooms on the side of the road going 40 mph.