Altered Tastes: Fresh Mushrooms

This post is available on my new blog, located at

Everyone has experiences that change the way they perceive one of their five senses. Altered Tastes is an ongoing feature where I discuss culinary moments that rewire my sense of taste forever. Without further adieu…

I love mushrooms. Love them. I will judge any produce section by the variety and quality of their mushrooms. Usually, I am into the exotics. Mushrooms that can’t be easily cultivated. You know, the good stuff. But I digress, because today, I discuss:

The White Button Mushroom

The White Button Mushroom

The garden-variety, white button mushroom.

The vanilla of fungus, found plastic-wrapped in produce aisles at every grocery store. Sliced raw atop all the most uninspired salads I have eaten. I’ve never given this mushroom much consideration. In fact, I am generally prejudiced against them.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit a mushroom farm. Walking past a steaming pile of compost, and I mean steaming, we entered one of the pens.

A Mushroom Wonderland

A Mushroom Wonderland

Mushroom studded compost pallets extended as far as the eye can see. It was a cross between an alien landscape and a perverse marshmallow-mushroom nightmare.

“Can We Taste Them?”

“Sure.” said our guide.


With a simple twist, the entire mushroom came out of the soil.

I do not like raw mushrooms. I do not like them.

Wiping off of the small amounts of dirt…

Don’t mushrooms grow in poo?

I hesitantly took a bite.

It was incredible.

Meaty with a delicate, earthy flavor. Moist. None of that dry woodiness, or ‘shroom slime. Another bite and the mushroom was gone.

What the hell have I been eating all of these years?

In a single bite, every white button mushroom I have ever eaten immediately became stale.


4 responses to “Altered Tastes: Fresh Mushrooms

  1. Quite brave of you!

  2. I to, am a mushroom aficionado. I LOVE them. I could eat them with everything (almost!). What fun being able to visit a mushroom farm. Other than discovering the true essence of the white button mushroom, I hope you were able to leave with a large selection!

  3. Well, it’s interesting, the place I went to only grows Criminis and White Buttons. I am guessing they are the easiest to cultivate and sell. It was an awesome trip.

  4. Interesting….I don’t think I’ve ever even eaten a raw mushroom before.

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