Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes the medicinal qualities and health benefits of certain species of fungi. Western mycology is a cutting- edge discipline and Hawthorn University is pleased to welcome Alison Gardner and Merry Winslow to discuss Mushrooms for Health and Flavor. Alison and Merry's webinar recording is now available for review here:
Living in mushroom country of northern California, Alison Gardner and Merry Winslow have had the opportunity to explore the many ways fungi can contribute to the human diet. The simple act of walking in the forest in search of mushrooms has benefits to the heart and circulatory system similar to those of meditation. The nutrients in wild (and cultivated) mushrooms such as shiitake, reishi, and cordyceps can contribute to a balanced diet and enhance the dining experience. Bringing home one’s foraged bounty to the family table has a certain joy in and of itself, and we know that health comes from a synthesis of physical mental and spiritual experiences. Join us as we explore the many ways in which the wonderful world of fungi contributes to the wellbeing of the planet, and ourselves.
When Merry Winslow met teacher’s aid Alison Gardner at Teresa Sholars’ “Mushrooms of the North Coast” identification course at College of the Redwoods, she convinced Alison that her culinary artistry deserved a cookbook, and their partnership was born.
Alison Gardner was born in Santa Barbara, California, and moved north to the Mendocino coast with her family in 1969, at the age of 10. She learned her first mushrooms the next fall, from an “old-timer”, and has been an avid mushroom hunter and eater ever since. She has attended and teacher-aided for the local community college mushroom classes, as well as leading private mushroom tours. She started cooking meals regularly for the family at age 13, learning from her mother, a cousin and a neighbor. She took a commercial cooking class in high school, and worked in restaurants, and has done some catering. She is also a botanist and potter, and still resides on the Mendocino coast.
Alison’s book partner, Merry Winslow, also resides and forages in Mendocino and writes “When I first moved onto this land in Mendocino I found signs tacked to the trees: “No Mushroom Hunting! Violators will be prosecuted after our dogs are through with them!” I found the signs disturbing because of the hostility they projected, so I took them down. I was inspired, though, by the good foraging that the signs promised. For the first few years I lived here, I sought the wild edibles. I took many walks looking for mushrooms but never finding any I could recognize. Finally I took Teresa Sholars’ “Mushrooms of the North Coast” identification course at College of the Redwoods, and suddenly, I was SEEING mushrooms everywhere! Since then, I have found great quantities of edible mushrooms within a few miles of home. During that fateful class at C/R, I met Alison, who was the teacher’s aide. Every week she would bring delicious dishes to class, which she had made with wild mushrooms. I convinced her that her artistry deserved a cookbook. Hence this partnership was born, and she has provided us with so many excellent tasting experiences since then that writing this cookbook has been a culinary adventure of the finest sort.”
Alison Gardner and Merry Winslow
Authors: The Wild Mushroom Cookbook