World Chefs: Becky Selengut reveals magic of mushrooms in new book

Tue Oct 14, 2014 9:15am EDT
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By Andrea Burzynski

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chef and culinary instructor Becky Selengut has come a long way since first experimenting as a child with soggy, canned mushrooms, and she reveals new insights about them in her second cookbook, "Shroom."

Since that first encounter with mushrooms, Seattle-based Selengut, 44, has taught cooking classes at a food cooperative, served as a culinary professor at Bastyr University in Washington state, authored a cookbook on fish, and foraged for better mushrooms in the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

She spoke to Reuters about how to cook mushrooms and why fresh isn't always best.

Q: Why mushrooms?

A: It's basically my first favorite food ... It also seemed like it was a good time to write a book about mushrooms because so many mushrooms are hitting the shelves now that people don't know what the hell they are, or what to do with them.

Q: How did you decide which varieties to include?

A: Here in Seattle, you can actually forage for over 30 different kinds of mushrooms in the woods. But I wanted to make sure I got ones that your average cook could find somehow without actually having to go into the woods - either at a supermarket for the first third of the book, the middle third of the book usually at specialty stores or farmers' markets, and then for the last third of the book you can sometimes find them at vegetable or farmers' markets, or you can mail-order them.

Q: Are there any advantages to dried mushrooms over fresh ones?   Continued...