Kumin on mushrooms

11 June 2004 at 18:29 Leave a comment

Maxine Kumin on mushrooms:

“The mushroom passion freshens with me year by year. Too bad it is such an esoteric subject for Americans — each genus is as distinct as broccoli from cauliflower. A broccoli poem would speak its own universal, but a boletus poem? They are, of course, the toadstools in Alice and all those dreadful fairy books of my childhood, each with an elf underneath. Little children are taught to trample them on sight as something nasty to be eradicated. A pity. Once you have eaten wild mushrooms, the dull store-bought agaricus is a poor substitute. I think of Thoreau’s “a huckleberry never reaches Boston.” I pickle some mushrooms, string others with needle and thread and hang them to dry. Extras I saute and freeze, but they are a pale imitation of the fresh-picked and into the pot ones.”

Maxine Kumin, “Estivating (journal),” Ploughshares, Spring 1974.

I find myself more and more under their spell which is works out well here in France where there are so many varieties available every day.


Entry filed under: eating, writing.

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T. Anderson Painter

I am a misanthrope. No one ever believes me, but this seems to prove my point.



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