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When I was growing up in postwar Britain, most people had a very narrow view of mushrooms. Even my own family just thought they grew in fields where horses left their poo, and they were white with pink gills that turned dark brown as they got older. We called them “field mushrooms,” or “horse mushrooms” if they were bigger.

Actually, those field mushrooms (known as meadow mushrooms in America) were Agaricus campestris, while their larger cousins were A. arvensis. We ate both, but called any other fungi “toadstools” and believed they were dangerous to eat.

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