THE FUNGUS AMONG US
Stuffed mushrooms have been an American cocktail fixture at least since the 1920s when alcohol, banned by Prohibition, was served illegally at underground watering-holes known as speakeasies. The most famous of these, like New York City’s notorious 21 Club, served small amounts of food throughout the night to prevent their well-heeled patrons from leaving the premises inebriated, thus drawing attention to their illicit activities.
Comestibles, like finger sandwiches or mushroom caps, that could be carried in one hand while a drink filled the other, allowed customers to eat, drink and socialize simultaneously. These earthy, hand-held, edible vessels are the perfect means to convey a wide variety of delicious fillings. Although white button mushrooms have been the usual choice for stuffing in the past, cremini mushrooms, which offer a greater depth of flavor, are preferred today. Conventional wisdom suggests cleaning mushrooms by brushing them with a soft bristled brush or by wiping them with a damp cloth so that they do not become soggy as a result of water immersion; But some restaurants simply give them a quick swish in a bowl of cold water and then leave them on paper towels to drain. And, while stems are easily snapped off, some suggest using a grapefruit spoon or melon baller to neatly remove them and carve a hollow for stuffing.