Re: Weekly Vocab 6: to know
|From:||Peter Bleackley <peter.bleackley@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, May 8, 2003, 10:05|
At 19:12 08/05/2003 +1000, you wrote:
>Andreas Johansson wrote:
>>Incidentally, what is the difference 'tween "mushroom" and "fungus"?
>Mushrooms pass as food. I'm not sure how, but when you don't eat
>mushrooms or olives, it severely limits the variety of pizzas you can
>have. I call mushrooms fungi (the plural of fungus, normally pronounced
>in these parts as /faNgai/) to reflect how much I love them.
>Fungi includes toadstools, mushrooms, at least one kind of foot disease
>and others besides.
>Toadstools, which I'm guessing is the next question, are
>mushroom-looking-like things that even those who pass mushrooms as food
>won't eat. They're also what faries sit on. I've never seen a toad
>sitting on one.
"Toadstool" comes from a root cognate with the German "Tod", death. It
implies a poisonous fungus. "Mushroom" is generally used for edible
varieties. There is a bit of ambiguity, however, as the English were
historically very cautious about the edibility of fungi, and so there is
relatively little tradition of mushroom-picking in England (don't know
about other parts of Britain). The average English person would therefore
be unlikely to know whether a given wild fungus was edible or not, so in
uncertain cases the two terms might be used interchangeably. However, if
you can buy it at the greengrocers, it should be a mushroom. If Uncle
Arthur, who liked to gather wild food in the woods and hedges, made an
unfortunate mistake, it was a toadstool.