Bewitching Toadstools: Hauntingly Good Mushroom Recipes

Halloween, Holidays, Ingredient
on September 22, 2011
Stir-fry Mushrooms
Mark Boughton/styling: Teresa Blackburn

As witches and ghouls ready their toadstool brews for Halloween, we are taking a look at a few of mushroom’s most peculiar facts and making some devilish recipes of our own. So at your Halloween soiree this season, impress your guests with the following “did you knows” then tantalize their tongues with our magical mushroom menu:

  • Though they may seem like any other plant life, mushrooms in many ways more like animals. After all—they’re alive! They breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide just like us—and the monster from Frankenstein.
  • Toadstools’ hearty texture and taste makes them a welcome addition to risotto, sandwiches and stews. But be warned, if you venture out of the grocery aisle and into the forest—some varieties are downright deadly. Famed Roman Emperor Claudius is rumored to have experienced “death by shroom” after his combative wife Agrippina poisoned him with the highly potent death cap variety.
  • Mushrooms are grown from spores, not seeds. A single mature mushroom can release as many as 16 billion spores causing them to spread faster than a zombie outbreak at the Monroeville Mall.
  • In the tombs of Egypt, where groaning mummies still slump through narrow corridors (you know they do!), faded hieroglyphics etched into the wall give praise to the almighty mushroom—better known to them as “the plant of immortality.” In fact, these swaddled pharaohs were the only people allowed to eat the distinctly flavored delicacies back in their day.

—By Emily Arno