This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
"Make it a rule not to touch a mushroom whose lower gills are white".
The smallest buttons of the real mushroom (agaricus campestris) are, as everybody knows, delicious if nicely broiled, but for a prime dish of mushrooms from the grill, whether to eat alone or with a kidney, or steak, or cutlet, we prefer them fully grown, so that the brown gills are quite exposed; for in the buttons the gills are hidden by a membrane, which disappears as the head expands and rends it asunder.
Slices of buttered toast covered with fresh mushrooms, which have been dipped in butter and seasoned, set in the top part of a hot oven till cooked.
Open, cup-shaped fresh mushrooms peeled on the upper side, washed, the stalks chopped with parsley and shallots, stirred over fire with butter and thickening, the mushrooms filled with this stuffing and baked about 10 minutes.
Large open mushrooms steeped in oil for an hour, broiled on wire broiler, seasoned; served on toast.
Equal quantities of fresh mushrooms and sliced raw potatoes in a buttered pie dish with seasonings, little water, covered with paste, baked. Stalks of mushrooms stewed to make gravy to pour in the pie.
"A strange variety of taste has prevailed in various countries in regard to mushrooms. In Russia the peasants are never without them. They are hung up to dry in the roofs of the cottages like oat-cake in Lancashire, and form a greatly esteemed relish to all sorts of dishes. In some parts of Germany, also, they are largely preserved in brine for cooking purposes. In England, however, it is only lately that they have come at all into general use".
"Amongst edible members of the mushroom tribe, a much esteemed article of diet, is the beefsteak fungus (fistulina hepatica). It grows on trees, usually oak, is firm and juicy, and, as its popular name indicates, bear a great resemblance to a piece of beefsteak. Its weight may exceed 20 lbs. It is used sliced and eaten with salad, or grilled like true mushrooms".
There are many varieties of the true mushroom and of the horse-mushroom, but all are equally good for table. To distinguish between these and noxious fungi, the following test is recommended: Take half an onion, stripped of its external skin, and boil it with the mushrooms; if the color of the onion is changed and it becomes bluish, or tinged with black, it is an evident sign that poisonous fungi are present. If the onion preserves its color there is no danger.
Large field mushrooms peeled, crushed to a pulp, 1 tablespoon salt to every quart; let stand 24 hours, the liquor drained off and to every quart of it 20 cloves, 30 each pepper corns and allspice; boiled gently 1/2. hour, bottled, corked when cold. Will keep a long time.
These can be bought at Italian warehouses and fruit stores, and give more true mushroom flavor for sauces and garnishes than the canned champignons. Mushrooms can be dried, after peeling and trimming, on pans in a nearly cold baker's oven, and kept in paper bags.
Peeled, cup-shaped mushrooms hollow side upwards in a pan with butter in each one, salt and pepper, parsley and lemon juice. " Two mushrooms, each measuring 27 1/2 inches in circumference and 9 inches in diameter, and weighing fully 13 ounces, have been gathered from the farm of James Bower, at Haps-ford, Cheshire. These are believed to be the largest mushrooms ever known to have been seen in England".