| An Identification Guide to Mushrooms of Britain and Northern Europe | By Josephine Bacon | Illustrated by Paul Sterry & Andrew Merrick | John Beaufoy Publishing | Edition 2 | 2020 | Paperback | 160 pages, 300 colour photos | ISBN: 9781912081370

The Publisher’s View: A photographic identification guide to 150 species of mushrooms most commonly found in Britain and Northern Europe. A user-friendly introduction includes an overview of distribution, the anatomy of a mushroom, nomenclature and useful information on hunting for and cooking with mushrooms. The identification section then divides into three categories: edible mushrooms, inedible (but not poisonous) mushrooms, and poisonous species. There is useful information on where and when mushrooms can be found, characteristic features and if edible, how best to cook the species.

The Author: Josephine Bacon has been picking wild mushrooms since she was nine. She is a member of the British Mycological Society and has participated in many mushroom forays.

Fatbirder View: This is a natty little guide which is part ID guide part cookbook, in as much as it not only tells you which fungi are safe and edible but tells you how best to cook them. I like the easy to follow layout, excellent illustrations, a calendar, where you find each one etc.

I’d have little trouble identifying species for my records had I this handy book in my pocket or in the glove compartment to be consulted.

I have but one criticism and it is an important one… insufficiently prominent coverage of confusion species. I understand how someone with the author’s expertise would not make this as prominent as I would like.

My dad once ate deadly nightshade as a boy… so we kids were warned in no uncertain terms about how deadly berries, fungi etc could be. Dad would always say something like ‘a spoonful of that is enough to kill 80 people’ frightening the life out of us and turning me into a lifetime foraging coward. Small print in the fact file needs to be red text next to any species that might conceivably be confused with something poisonous! Maybe the publisher can look at this for the next edition as it is otherwise an excellent and comprehensive guide.

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