Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

How ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ Explains the Mushroom’s Appeal<!-- wp:html --><p>Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast</p> <p>My Instagram feed is currently riddled with mushroom advertisements. A mushroom beverage exceeds coffee for focus and health benefits! Mushroom face serums provide youthful, plump-celled, and small-pored complexions! Another mushroom supplement rivals Xanax! To say nothing of the anti-dementia mushrooms, cancer-fighting mushrooms, gut health mushrooms, and luxury <a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/billionaire-german-investor-christian-angermayer-says-mushrooms-are-key-to-his-success">magic mushroom </a>retreats! In 2022,<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/28/dining/food-trends-predictions-2022.html"> <em>The New York Times</em> named mushrooms the “ingredient of the year”</a> and the U.S. food broker<a href="https://www.nutritionaloutlook.com/view/relaxation-and-sleep-supplements-mushroom-everything-and-carbonated-soda-for-gut-health-among-2022-s-biggest-trends-predicts-u-s-food-broker-presence"> Presence</a> hailed “mushroom everything” alongside carbonated sodas, relaxation supplements, and sleep supplements.</p> <p>But how did mushrooms—a largely marginalized category of beings—develop such prominence in popular imagination?</p> <p>Sure, additional research reinforces mushrooms’ transformative potential. In 2008, for instance, Ekaterina Dadachova, Chair in Radiopharmacy and a professor at the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan for Nuclear Innovation, showed how<a href="https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/chernobyl-black-fungi-space"> mushrooms in the cooling reactors of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant could absorb and convert radioactive energy</a>.<a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57733178"> More recent studies show how fungus breaks down plastic</a>. Mushrooms also shape environments,<a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/05/04/993430007/trees-talk-to-each-other-mother-tree-ecologist-hears-lessons-for-people-too"> facilitating plant communication, for instance.</a> Mushrooms are appearing in literature like <em>The Over Story </em>and <em>Tears of the Trufflepig</em>, as well as more robust naturalist volumes with philosophical intent, such as Merlin Sheldrake’s 2020 book, <em>Entangled Life: How Fungi Make our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures.</em> Mushrooms have entered artistic dialogues via<a href="http://frieze.com/article/francesca-gavin-mushroom-futurism-2021"> art exhibits</a> and<a href="https://www.artnews.com/art-in-america/features/mushrooms-as-metaphors-urbonas-studio-tj-shin-xiaojing-jan-1234614585/"> artist practices</a> where fungi are used to reflect upon death, transformation, and alternative energy. These artworks are generative, opening new channels of awareness—for instance, how<a href="https://jaeyeonshin.com/Microbial-Speculation-of-our-Gut-Feelings"> TJ Yuen’s <em>Microbial Speculation of our Gut Feeling</em></a><em> </em>externalizes the microbes inside of us to connect with diasporic and immigrant experience. But why now?</p> <p><a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-the-devil-wears-prada-explains-the-mushrooms-appeal?source=articles&via=rss">Read more at The Daily Beast.</a></p><!-- /wp:html -->

Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

My Instagram feed is currently riddled with mushroom advertisements. A mushroom beverage exceeds coffee for focus and health benefits! Mushroom face serums provide youthful, plump-celled, and small-pored complexions! Another mushroom supplement rivals Xanax! To say nothing of the anti-dementia mushrooms, cancer-fighting mushrooms, gut health mushrooms, and luxury magic mushroom retreats! In 2022, The New York Times named mushrooms the “ingredient of the year” and the U.S. food broker Presence hailed “mushroom everything” alongside carbonated sodas, relaxation supplements, and sleep supplements.

But how did mushrooms—a largely marginalized category of beings—develop such prominence in popular imagination?

Sure, additional research reinforces mushrooms’ transformative potential. In 2008, for instance, Ekaterina Dadachova, Chair in Radiopharmacy and a professor at the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan for Nuclear Innovation, showed how mushrooms in the cooling reactors of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant could absorb and convert radioactive energy. More recent studies show how fungus breaks down plastic. Mushrooms also shape environments, facilitating plant communication, for instance. Mushrooms are appearing in literature like The Over Story and Tears of the Trufflepig, as well as more robust naturalist volumes with philosophical intent, such as Merlin Sheldrake’s 2020 book, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures. Mushrooms have entered artistic dialogues via art exhibits and artist practices where fungi are used to reflect upon death, transformation, and alternative energy. These artworks are generative, opening new channels of awareness—for instance, how TJ Yuen’s Microbial Speculation of our Gut Feeling externalizes the microbes inside of us to connect with diasporic and immigrant experience. But why now?

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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