The Age Old Debate: Are Mushrooms Good or… Nah?

By: Claire Nunez and Olivia Langenberg

Claire: So hey, thanks for joining us today to talk about mushrooms.  My name is Claire and I am generally a fan of the fungi.

Olivia: Hey pals, I’m Olivia and I would rather shrivel up and disintegrate than force my tongue to touch a mushroom.

C: So why do you hate mushrooms so much that you wanted to spend time writing about this? I am concerned.

O: Well, I’m glad you asked. In my spare time I like to watch “What I Eat in a Day: Vegan” videos. I’m not a vegan, but I always want to know what they eat. From my experience, vegans love mushrooms, and I’m tired of everyone praising them. Once I was at a restaurant and someone asked me to eat a fried mushroom. More like eating a piece of fried rubber. It’s disgusting.

C: Okay, but I like mushrooms because they are a really hecking good substitute for meat in literally everything.  Like, mushrooms are perfect in everything.  They are super good and umami-ish.  I eat meat and I like to add some mushrooms in to be a bit more ~sustainable~.  I don’t get the rubber thing.  Mushrooms are not condoms. Trademark that.

O: You’re trying to tell me that mushrooms don’t prevent pregnancy? Yikes. Also what the fuck does “umami-ish” mean?

C: For starters, mushrooms are not effective at preventing pregnancy or STIs.  They are not meant to be worn during sexual relations.  Secondly, umami is the meat-y texture that real meat has.  When you eat some truffle fries, the flavor is “umami.”

O: Alright, alright. Mushrooms aren’t condoms. Fair enough. I want to get back to mushrooms as food. Tell me why you want to eat something that has the texture of a worn out tire. Also…. I can’t forget the faint dirt taste that comes along with eating a mushroom. I don’t understand why you’d want to do that to yourself.

C: Mushrooms TASTE good if you cook them correctly.  A lot of people do not know how to cook the fungi.  They overcook them.  Do not do this, mushroom chefs! I prefer my mushrooms…raw.

O: So you make the argument that mushrooms taste good if you cook them correctly… but you prefer them raw. How is that supposed to make sense? Give me a mushroom recipe then.

C: Fine. I see what you are saying.  Here we go, I am going to single-handedly bring paper plates back.  Take a pan. Put olive oil in it. Put some onions in it. Put the mushrooms in it.  Add salt. Add pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are damn soft.

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O: I don’t like onions either. Try again.

C: What the fuck is wrong with your taste buds?

O: It’s all about the TEXTURE. Food is an experience. Mushrooms and onions give my tongue discomfort. Mushrooms are rubbery and onions are too… thin?  

C: You sound like my mother. I feel like onions aren’t thin– it depends how you chop ‘em.  

O: Your mother must have refined taste. Sorry I’d rather eat food with delectable texture than eat “plant food” that still tastes like the place it came from. (Dirt.)

C: I think there is just a lot going on in your mouth.  Like, I am pretty sure that it probably means you have an allergy to something.  My old roommate and best friend, Rachel (hey, Rach) is allergic to literally everything. Her mouth cannot taste things like a normal human. Sorry Rach.

O: I wouldn’t say that mushrooms give me hives, but mushrooms give me hives. I wouldn’t say it’s an allergy-thing, though. It’s more like… I’m an adult with a sophisticated palette and when something threatens that, my body doesn’t know how to respond. Why eat a mushroom when

you could eat… anything else?

C: Mushrooms have a lot of nutritional value. Mushrooms have a lot of the B vitamins and like, potassium, copper, iron, and phosphorus.  We all need more phosphorus in our lives.

O: Why are you bringing the periodic table into this? I’m pretty sure I’d have the exact same experience if I ate 10 pennies.

C: We need a lot of elements in our bodies for scientific reasons.  You know what else you’d get if you ate ten pennies? Probably typhoid. Those things are #germy.

O: At least I’m not eating FUNGI.

C: Well, you are probably eating some old dude’s finger skin cells. Which is worse?

O: We inhale dead skin every night when we sleep. Seems like we’re both in the same boat there.  

C: But that is inhaling MY skin cells or my roommate’s boyfriend’s skin cells because he’s always around…woah. Okay, but eating mushrooms is not the same as eating pennies.

O: Alright. Walk me through the experience of eating a mushroom. How does it make you feel? What does it feel like on your taste buds? Really try to wow me.

C: Okay so I take that sexy mushroom and I put it in my mouth.  I literally chew it and instant taste bud orgasm. Boom. There we go. That’s it.

O: I’m bored. Sounds like you could have that experience with lots of foods. Why are mushrooms unique in any way?

C: They are so versatile.  You can do anything with them.  You can put anything on them or with them in any kind of cuisine. Mushrooms are like tofu; they absorb the flavor of everything but still have that special nuttiness.

O: But why are mushrooms out here looking exactly like antique doorknobs? Think about all the germs on your doorknob. Now think about a mushroom. Coincidence? I think not.

C: I literally do not think mushrooms are the same as a doorknob.  I am really glad that neither of us are on the same page about mushrooms and we are almost done here.

O: I don’t know, Claire… I’m still not convinced. I just keep thinking about tires.

C: You know, I think mushrooms DO taste like tires but I am just into that.

O: You… admit that mushrooms taste like tires. And you’re INTO THAT. I don’t see how you can even come out here and argue with me when you enjoy the taste of tires. I’m going to keep your taste buds in my thoughts. Good luck.

C: I am just going to keep my taste buds out of this mess.  They did not do anything to deserve this.  I think we just need to wrap this ish up.  No one is actually going to read this far anyway….

O: Okay. I’ll end this with my hot take. Mushrooms don’t belong in any sort of dish. There’s a reason that there’s a type of mushroom called (shiit)ake. ‘Nuff said.  

C: I am going to now give my final word on this topic.  Mushrooms are good for you.  I love mushrooms.  They are perfect.  Just like me. Let’s just say that mushrooms deserve a place on your plate, obviously.

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