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The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America | [Langdon Cook]

The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America

Within the dark corners of America’s forests grow culinary treasures. Chefs pay top dollar to showcase these elusive and beguiling ingredients on their menus. Whether dressing up a filet mignon with smoky morels or shaving luxurious white truffles over pasta, the most elegant restaurants across the country now feature an abundance of wild mushrooms. Langdon Cook embeds himself in this shadowy subculture, reporting from both rural fringes and big-city eateries.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, September 2013 - Self-described amateur forager and mushroom hunter Langdon Cook goes into the woods as Thoreau once did – seeking knowledge, perhaps enlightenment – and comes out with a vast knowledge for the little known world of wild mushrooms and those who seek them. The mushroom is not the star of this book, merely a muse, with the focus on the hunters in at times pursuing an illegal trade. If you’ve ever wondered about the story behind your chanterelles, The Mushroom Hunter serves up a wild, fascinating ride, reading more like a suspense novel than a book about mushrooms, providing an eye-opening look into a world many don’t even realize exists. —Jessica, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

In the tradition of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief, and Mark Kurlansky’s Cod - a renowned culinary adventurer goes into the woods with the iconoclasts and outlaws who seek the world’s most coveted ingredient...and one of nature’s last truly wild foods: the uncultivated, uncontrollable mushroom.

Within the dark corners of America’s forests grow culinary treasures. Chefs pay top dollar to showcase these elusive and beguiling ingredients on their menus. Whether dressing up a filet mignon with smoky morels or shaving luxurious white truffles over pasta, the most elegant restaurants across the country now feature an abundance of wild mushrooms.

The mushroom hunters, by contrast, are a rough lot. They live in the wilderness and move with the seasons. Motivated by Gold Rush desires, they haul improbable quantities of fungi from the woods for cash. Langdon Cook embeds himself in this shadowy subculture, reporting from both rural fringes and big-city eateries with the flair of a novelist, uncovering along the way what might be the last gasp of frontier-style capitalism.

Meet Doug, an ex-logger and crabber - now an itinerant mushroom picker trying to pay his bills and stay out of trouble; and Jeremy, a former cook turned wild food entrepreneur, crisscrossing the continent to build a business amid cutthroat competition; their friend Matt, an up-and-coming chef whose kitchen alchemy is turning heads; and the woman who inspires them all.

Rich with the science and lore of edible fungi - from seductive chanterelles to exotic porcini - The Mushroom Hunters is equal parts gonzo travelogue and culinary history lesson, a rollicking, character-driven tour through a world that is by turns secretive, dangerous, and tragically American.

©2013 Langdon Cook (P)2013 Audible Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (100 )
5 star
 (36)
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 (34)
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2 star
 (5)
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Overall
3.9 (86 )
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 (5)
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Story
4.1 (88 )
5 star
 (35)
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 (33)
3 star
 (12)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
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  •  
    valerie s. phoenix, az USA 09-11-13
    valerie s. phoenix, az USA 09-11-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    251
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    9
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Intriguing and full of fun!"
    What did you love best about The Mushroom Hunters?

    This book is full of mini adventures as the author meets all sorts of unusual people in search of mushrooms. Every stitch of the book is interesting and colorful. A wonderful read!


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen Woodbridge, CT, United States 02-04-14
    Ellen Woodbridge, CT, United States 02-04-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Just What the Mycologist Ordered!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Mushroom Hunters the most enjoyable?

    I'd only recently taken up mushrooming. Meant to learn about mushrooms for years, and finally joined the Connecticut Valley Mycological Society. I'm a nature freak, always have been, but I didn't know much about fungus until I got involved with the club. The east coast is not the mushroom mecca that the west coast is, but you can still find almost all of the species covered in the book, if not in such astonishing abundance (less so with the droughts that are hurting us all where ever we are).

    I've had a taste of the way your heart pounds when you find a flush of chanterelles or trumpets, sprinted under the canopy to pounce on a king bolete (as if it could run away). So to listen to the buzz of finding hundreds of them, oh my!

    This was the right book at the right time for me.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Mushroom Hunters?

    When the author gets lost trying to navigate through the fallen trees on a burn site.


    What about Kevin Free’s performance did you like?

    He sounded like the kind of guy you'd go mushrooming with.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me hungry for MUSHROOMS.


    Any additional comments?

    I actually listened to this while I was out in the woods looking for mushrooms. Found a nice big flush of Hydnum repandum with my earbuds in!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mashby 04-25-14
    Mashby 04-25-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "As a documentary this was a good book."
    Any additional comments?

    I prefer novels but this one sounded fun. It was good as a documentary but a little repetitive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Regina Norman, OK, United States 10-16-13
    Regina Norman, OK, United States 10-16-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    38
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "could not read this tried 3 times"
    What would have made The Mushroom Hunters better?

    I am unable to follow this story. In fact I am not sure is this is a cooking book or a mystery


    Has The Mushroom Hunters turned you off from other books in this genre?

    see above


    Would you be willing to try another one of Kevin Free’s performances?

    no


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    did not finish


    Any additional comments?

    no

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr McLauchlan Nashua, USA 10-06-13
    Mr McLauchlan Nashua, USA 10-06-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The only audible book I haven't finished"
    Any additional comments?

    I found this book very boring. It is the only audible book I have bought which I haven't finished.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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