Friday, May 4, 2012
Mushrooms Go Mainstream
I eat mushrooms frequently because I enjoy them, but lately I've been hearing about them in a medical context. Several of the people in my cancer support group were discussing the health benefits of mushrooms. Apparently, these fungi strengthen the immune system and are thought to be beneficial both to cancer patients and to people hoping to avoid cancer. Since I am slightly skeptical by nature, I wondered if these stories were on the crackpot fringe of alternative medicine, but they are not. Even the American Cancer Society has been following one type of mushroom.
Last month, the folks in my group were discussing a different type of mushroom, called turkey tails, which are also receiving attention for cancer patients. You know that these ideas have gone mainstream when you can buy the products online at amazon.
In my younger days, I mostly ate white button mushrooms. Nowadays I generally eat crimini or portobellos. These are the same types of mushrooms, Agaricus bisporus. The white button mushrooms are the youngest; the portobellos are the oldest. Since my kids gave me a grill, I have grilled mushrooms every week. Sometimes I marinate them; at other times, I just brush them with oil before grilling. They make great sandwiches when combined with grilled peppers and herbed goat cheese, and they are also wonderful in omelets or atop most meats.
Last month, I accompanied a friend to an Asian food market in Littleton and was dumfounded by the sheer variety of their dried mushrooms (also their noodles, but that's another story). Clearly, I have lots of experimenting to do.