The Mushroom Factor

Having literally just sat down to eat, I have to ask: why are there mushrooms in my vegetable fried rice?

When did mushrooms become a vegetable? Because, shock news for anyone who can’t remember their school years, mushrooms are a fungus. You know, along with mould (that furry stuff on your bread or fruit if you leave it a few days), thrush (all types of thrush are fungal, guys) and ringworm on your skin.

I’ll be honest from the start, I don’t like mushrooms. I can just about deal with them when they’re chopped up small and cooked, but left halved and “warmed” in a dish, no way. Disgusting. So when I sat down to order a take away tonight, it never occurred to me to question the Mushroom Factor. I chose mixed vegetable rice and I expected mixed vegetables.

The fact that mushrooms have their own rice (mushroom fried) is just plain selfish. You don’t see chicken or beef muscling in on each other or prawn, now do you? Okay, perhaps in special fried rice, but that’s special.

Am I wrong to feel put out?

According to some very brief research (I was trying to pick the mushrooms out as I searched), yes… and no. From a fungus orientated website (yes, they exist), chemically they are vegetables – I guess this is all of their nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Although it is also highlighted that they have a different type of fibre to plants. In reproductive terms, they are a fruit, but then so are tomatoes and cucumbers which I never put in my fruit salad. The same website then also states that “evolutionarily speaking, fungi are more closely related to animals”.

So, they’re none of the above. Or all of the above.

What I love about foodreference.com is that at the top, it states that “Mushrooms are not a true vegetable… It is a fungus” (we’re back to the mould and thrush here people), yet at the bottom of the article there is information on how to make them one of your 5 a day. Make up your mind, either they aren’t a vegetable or they are!

I loved one particular website on Vegetable Free Living (chapter 3: What counts as a vegetable?) and really have to pass it on to a few friends and family members who don’t eat vegetables at all (although one does eat mushrooms, so maybe she’ll have to give them up now). It was this site that pointed me towards the American official list of food groups (which sadly puts mushrooms in the vegetable group), but mushrooms really truly are fungi! I love the author’s viewpoint and his website is hilarious, but mushrooms are not a vegetable!

It’s similar to when I go into a certain chain of sandwich shops and they ask multiple times if I want cheese on it. This even happens in the local burger bar (no, I honestly don’t eat take away that much) when I get an odd look for not wanting cheese on my burger because, let’s face it, when I ask for a burger that’s what I want. If I wanted a burger with cheese I’d have asked for, what’s it called now? Oh, yeah, a cheeseburger!

Cheese and mushrooms, get over yourself and everyone else get over them too!

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