Room 101 #4 – Mushrooms

We all know the feeling. Those things you just cannot stand. They keep you awake at night. They make your skin crawl. They awake a hatred within you that you haven’t known since the checkout machine said there was an unexpected item in the baggage area. Go on, put it in Room 101.

Mushrooms. They have been the marmite of vegetables for decades, but now it’s about time we all just agree that they are empirically disgusting. We are unnecessarily swamped with the many varieties of the atrocious slug-like things in our local supermarkets; button mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, canned mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup. They are an infestation that needs to be stopped.

Firstly, why would anyone want to eat something that isn’t aesthetically pleasing? Is it a worm or a mushroom? You can’t really tell. Nothing about this slimy bulb-like alien food should make anyone think “Yum, I am definitely in the mood for mushrooms tonight!” No, just no. Not dissimilar looking to the Witchetty Grub creature that features in ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here’, eating mushrooms should surely be contained to Bush tucker trials.

“In America, it is also shocking to note that the Food and Drug Association LEGALLY allows 19 maggots and 74 mites in every 3.5 ounce can of mushrooms”

Secondly, people seem to ignore the obvious: they are actually fungus. Why have we now resorted to making our food fancier by adding fungus to it? This is obscene. In America, it is also shocking to note that the Food and Drug Association LEGALLY allows 19 maggots and 74 mites in every 3.5 ounce can of mushrooms. Not only are you eating the devil food, you could also be eating these lovely creatures.

Apart from being virtually tasteless and terrible excuse for a meat substitute, the texture is not too dissimilar from eating a slimy leech. Unfortunately a mushroom somehow, sometimes, trespasses into my mouth. The rubbery and chewy substance takes an eternity to swallow. Leaving what can only be described as a foul and lingering taste. I would not wish this upon my worst enemy.

“The mushroom should not be treated as a hipster food”

This brings me on to my next point: mushrooms ruin the best of foods. Pizza and Pasta. Strong contenders for the best food creations of all time. All-too-frequently ruined by the surprise infestation of a billion mushrooms. Is there anything more disappointing than eagerly anticipating a wonderful pasta dish at a fancy restaurant for the waitress to put down in front of you a plate swamped with floating browny grey fungus?

And now to my biggest hatred: the Portobello Mushroom. Also known as ‘the big one with all the hairy brown bits inside.’ Unless you are a vegetarian, there is no reason for anybody to be eating these vile fungi, even if they are disguised in a burger and topped with halloumi cheese. Again, a criminal invention.

The mushroom should not be treated as a hipster food. You don’t impress your middle-class acquaintances with a side of mushroom to a beautifully cooked steak. The mushroom needs to return to where it belongs, the outside. Not on my dinner plate. It is time people realised that the mushroom is not a fun-guy, let alone a nice looking or nice tasting delicacy, so I propose we say no to the mushroom and remove it from our cooking forever more.

Sophie Morris

Do baked beans make you cringe? Are slow walkers your living hell? Send your own Room 101 to [email protected]

Image: Biodiversity Heritage Library via flickr

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