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Most Europeans are familiar with a bountiful variety of mushrooms growing wild in meadow and forest. Underprivileged Americans are acquainted for the most part, only with the cultivated white Agaricus bisporus, available and overpriced at the local supermarket. This sad fact will necessarily impart a certain sameness to Jane Grigson's glorious array of dishes meant to be as different and distinct as the morel, the cep, the truffle and the girolle--unless you take her advice and become an amateur mycologist who can tell a parasol from an inky cap at a glance. A beautiful collection of recipes and culinary lore, The Mushroom Feast includes specialties created by some of the world's most illustrious chefs, culled from antique cookbooks such as La Varenne's Le Cuisinier Francois (1651) or Ali Bab's Gastronomie Pratique (ninth edition, 1928) along with recipes from Mrs. Beeton (the Victorian Betty Crocker) and the nonpareil creations of the 19th century French chef, Careme, who officiated in the kitchens of the Prince Regent. Mushrooms with cream and herbs, with madeira, mushrooms in English hare soup, with iamb or veal kidneys, as part of a quiche or a smoked sausage salad. Grigson will tell you the optimal variety to use in each recipe, how to dry and freeze wild mushrooms, how to make duxelles--everything you might want to know about these magical edible fungi except how to get enough of them.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1975
Publisher: Knopf