Mushroom Hunters On the Trail of an Underground America

ISBN-10: 0345536258

ISBN-13: 9780345536259

Edition: N/A

Authors: Langdon Cook

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Hiding within the dark corners of America’s forests is culinary treasure. Chefs pay top dollar to showcase such elusive and beguiling ingredients on restaurant menus. Whether it is morels dressing up a filet mignon or truffles filling out a rich risotto, wild mushrooms are now found on the most elegant dinner tables across the country. The mushroom hunters, by contrast, are a rough lot. They live in the wilderness and move with the seasons. Motivated by Gold Rush desires, they haul improbable quantities of fungi from the woods for cash. Langdon Cook embeds himself in this shadowy subculture, reporting from both rural fringes and big city eateries with the flair of a novelist, uncovering along the way what might be the last gasp of frontier-style capitalism. Meet Doug, an ex-logger and crabber—now an itinerant mushroom picker trying to pay his bills and stay out of trouble; Jeremy, a former cook turned wild food entrepreneur, crisscrossing the continent to build a business amid cutthroat competition; their friend Matt, an up-and-coming chef whose kitchen alchemy is delightfully raising eyebrows; and the woman who inspires them all. Rich with the science and lore of edible fungi—from seductive chanterelles to exotic truffles—The Mushroom Hunters is equal parts gonzo travelogue and culinary history lesson, a rollicking, character-driven tour through a world that is by turns secretive, dangerous, and tragically American. Advance praise for The Mushroom Hunters “A beautifully written portrait of the people who collect and distribute wild mushrooms, The Mushroom Hunters is food and nature writing at its finest. Langdon Cook’s descriptions are so visceral you can smell the mushrooms, the forests, the rain on every page. The book is full of telling anecdotes about a kind of American that is ingrained in our mythology, the frontiersman. Mushroom hunters are contemporary Davy Crocketts, living off the grid, in tune with nature, embodying the independent-mindedness that characterizes America. This is a terrific book.”—Eugenia Bone, author of Mycophilia “In these pages, you’ll meet America’s last nomads—mushroom hunters—in all their ragamuffin glory. Langdon Cook brings to life all of these individuals with the eyes, ears, and heart of a first-rate novelist. Open The Mushroom Hunters at any page, and you’ll be instantly transported to the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Indeed, you may even find yourself smelling pine needles. The book will be a revelation for anyone who wonders how those morels or chanterelles end up at their favorite restaurant.”—Lawrence Millman, author of Last Places
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Book details

List price: $30.00
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 9/10/2013
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 320
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.364
Language: English

Langdon Cook is the author of Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager. His writing has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, and online journals. He lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.

Prologue: Outlaws in Lobster Park
Among the Recreationals
The Circuit Picker
Kings for a Day
The Buyer
New Frontier
Autumn Aroma
Winging It All the Way
The Discreet Charm of the Golden Chanterelle
Ingredients as Art
Sex, Love, and Truffles
Winter Pick
Into the Fire
Epilogue: A Death in the Family
Selected Bibliography
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