Helping from the Kitchen Helping from the Kitchen
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Photo by Andrey Konstantinov/Unsplash
Good Food

Helping from the Kitchen

A Food-Based Altruism
Marta Dymek
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time 7 minutes

There has been much talk lately of the fact that we have to change for the good of the world, and that everyone can become a superhero for the purposes of this change. But what to do as a newly-recruited hero, and how to change reality for the better?

The comparison between involvement in important matters and transforming into a superhero seems to have taken a solid hold in our imagination. Areta Szpura asks How to Change the World? (Jak uratować świat?) in her book, animal rights charity Otwarte Klatki (Open Cages) encourages social media followers to become superheroes for animals, and at the latest climate strike I spotted someone in a Superman costume calling on people to save the oceans. I like this comparison a lot because it shows that everyone, including

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A Cap and a Stem A Cap and a Stem
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Mushrooms colour plate, illustration from Larousse du XXème siècle 1932, public domain (Rawpixel)
Good Food

A Cap and a Stem

The Culinary Rewards of Mushroom Foraging
Monika Kucia

Go mushroom hunting! We encourage all to go to the forest (not only vegetarians and ancient Slavic culture aficionados).

First take a healthy walk; later cook and taste. It’s pure magic. Who among us has never imagined a gnome underneath a handsome blusher? Mushrooms are among the most fairy-tale-like things in nature, as far as I’m concerned – they place somewhere between rainbow, coral and the Northern Lights. Going deep into the forest, or taking ‘a forest bath’ (from Japanese shinrin-yoku, which is officially a medicinal practice there!), you find all of those delectable protrusions, swellings and oozy caps. Erotic associations are obvious, especially when thinking about truffles with their musky animal scent and fame as an aphrodisiac (a reputation that they share with all luxury food). Among the people fascinated by mushrooms was John Cage, the avant-garde 20th century artist, composer and performer. He spent a lot of time in forests methodically studying and collecting various mushrooms. In 1962, he co-founded a New York mycological society, and lectured on mushrooms (as well as experimental music) in the New School for Social Research. He even made some extra money supplying local restaurants with particularly fine specimens. Mushrooms are strange creatures. They’re like a kind of meat, owing to their similar chemical composition. But at the same time, they’re a sort of vegetable, as they contain carbohydrates (about 40%) and a lot of water (in fresh mushrooms, it’s about 90%). The mushroom-hunting season lasts from summer to late autumn. For centuries, mushrooms were called ‘poor people’s meat’, as they are a valuable source of protein and can be as nutritious as a pork chop. Ever since meat became more widely available, mushrooms (as well as beans) have become rather forgotten as a hearty, high-protein, all-year food.

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