Meet Merlin Sheldrake, the man who loves fungi so much he's not only written a book about them, but he's also allowed pleurotus ostreatus to devour his every written word, producing a healthy crop of oyster mushrooms, which he then decided to eat.
Photo: Merlin Sheldrake©Hanna-Katrina Jedrosz
The Cambridge scholar and author of Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, & Shape Our Futures admits to being flattered at first by the fungi's voracious appetite, as it greedily consumed the pages of his book, but upon reflection realises that pleurotus can devour everything from crude oil to cigarette butts.
Here's Melvin, eating the mushrooms that sprouted from his book. Some of them are pickled the rest are sauteed up with oil and garlic. Writing in his twitter feed he reports : "They were delicious: I couldn’t taste any off notes, which suggests that the #fungus had fully metabolised the text."
The biologist, writer, musician, fermenter and all-round fungi champion believes that fungi can change the way we think about and approach the world. After all, fungi are a whole kingdom of life, more dominant than animals and six times the number of plants, he reminds us.
Sheldrake's carefully researched and poetic words offer some fascinating insights into the science and philosophy of this largely undiscovered world, as he reveals the secret lives of fungi, from the point of view of fungi.