There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who hate mushrooms and those who are wrong.
Mushrooms, like mold and whatever causes ringworm, are fungus, not food. Nothing perverts a pizza, mars a marinara or quells a quesadilla like mushrooms. When it comes to ingesting fungi, I make an exception for yeast, which yields beer and dough and other culinary wonders, and is refined to a texture that does not evoke human flesh.
My repulsion for mushrooms runs so deep that I demand to be cremated rather than buried when I die, if for no other reason than to deny mushrooms an opportunity to leech their way into existence via my rotting corpse.
This distaste for mushrooms dates to childhood, though the circumstances are lost in the dense forest of memory. Not even their empowering effects in the Super Mario games or the fact that they housed Smurfs could sway me as a kid. While my tastes have evolved, and I have become a vegetarian no less, mushrooms still disgust me. As an adult, they stir feelings of disdain on par with the similarly fungal, likewise inexplicably popular and comparably queerly becapped Donald Trump, whose supporters sprout on the manure he spews with the haste of mushrooms on a cow patty after a late-spring rain.
This is not to say that I am a mycophobe or that I am immune to the diverse and vibrant aesthetic merits of wild mushrooms. I was excited to recently explore Mushroom Gulch in central Colorado’s San Isabel National Forest; its name conjures a cremini-carpeted ravine, and after a few days of showers the conditions were favorable for fungus.
Alas, we encountered only a few puny specimens. None of the brain-like bulbs or tumorous tiers. No cartoonish toadstools.
Maybe it is still too early for mushroom hunting. Or perhaps I was just looking with the wrong animals. After all, “you gotta have swine to show you where the truffles are.”