Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/110

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

stew them in milk, exactly as you would make an oyster-stew. The elm-tree mushroom, the honey-colored mushroom, and any others tasting raw of grass or trees, are only good broiled. The meadow-mushroom, horse-mushroom, or coprinus, are excellent cooked either way. There is no doubt of the wholesome character of esculent fungus. During the season, we eat them at our table three times a day; sometimes of a half-dozen kinds at a meal. We never enjoy better digestion than during toadstool-time. They furnish a natural alkali which in some systems is greatly needed.

We also dry them for use in winter. The Chinese and Japanese make dried fungus a very general article of diet. I speak here from personal acquaintance with their habits, acquired by a residence in San Francisco and Honolulu, as well as in their native land. No better substitute for meat than fungus can be found. Neither its odor when cooking, nor the gravy it makes, resembles any form of vegetable food. This is but natural, since the plant absorbs oxygen from the air, after the manner of animals.

Mushrooms grow above the ground, like any other plants. I have carefully watched all kinds, both in a natural state and when raised in my own closet. The common mushroom (supposed to spring up in a night, and which, says vulgar error, must be gathered with the dew on it) takes about ten days to mature from a button the size of a pin-head to a disk three or four inches in diameter, although most of this time the cap is just beneath the soil. This is the average period needed in acquiring perfection by other kinds, although some, as the Coprinarii, do not consume half that time.

 
Note.—Outlines of British Fungology, by Rev. M. J. Berkeley. London: L. Reeve & Co., 1860.

Handbook of British Fungi, by M. C. Cooke. London: Macmillan & Co., 1871.
A Plain and Easy Account of British Fungi, by M. C. Cooke. London: Robert Hardwicke, 1871.
Mushrooms and Toadstools. Illustrated with Two Large Charts. By Worthington G. Smith. London: Robert Hardwicke, 1867.
The Esculent Funguses of England, by C. D. Badham. London: L. Reeve & Co., 1870.
Fungi: their Nature and Uses, by M. C. Cooke. Edited by Rev. M. J. Berkeley. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1875.

 

SKETCH OF PRESIDENT BARNARD.

AMONG the promoters of science and liberal culture in our time, few men have labored more efficiently and successfully than the present versatile and accomplished President of Columbia College. Although Dr. Barnard has done his share of original scientific work, it is not claimed for him that he has made any great discoveries;