This section is from the book "Philadelphia Cook Book: A Manual Of Home Economies", by Sarah Tyson Heston Rorer. Also available from Amazon: Philadelphia Cook Book.
It is highly important for those who employ mushrooms as food, to be able to distinguish those which are edible from the poisonous ones. The edible appear in old sod, in a clear, open, sunny field. They are at first very small on a short foot stalk, and are then known as button mushrooms. Their growth is rapid; in an hour the under skin cracks and the mushroom then opens, spreading like an umbrella, and shows the gills underneath, which should be a pale salmon color. In an hour or so it changes to a dark brown, and is then called "old." According to M. Richard, even mushrooms which are usually edible may prove poisonous, if collected too late, or in places which are too moist.
The skin of the good mushrooms peels off easily. Those with yellow or white gills, and those which grow in low, damp, shady places, or around decayed stumps of old trees, or any other decayed matter, are to be avoided.
The good mushrooms have invariably an agreeable smell, while the poisonous have a rank putrid smell. It is always safe to use the canned mushrooms, which are convenient and cheap, but tough and indigestible, and we caution those who eat them to masticate diligently.
It is said that one poisonous mushroom among a pint of good ones, will turn a silver spoon black, if stirred with it while they are stewing
Wipe the mushrooms clean, and peel off the skin. Cover the bottoms of shallow baking-pans with white paper, put the mushrooms in a single layer on this, and stand in a cool oven to dry. When dry and shriveled, take them out, put in paper bags, and hang in a cool, dry place.
When wanted for use, put them in cold water or milk, and bring slowly to a simmer. In this way they will regain nearly their natural size and flavor.
Peel the mushrooms, wash them in cold water and cut off the bottom of the stalks. Then put them in a porcelain saucepan; to every pint of mushrooms, add one tablespoon-ful of butter rolled in flour. Let the mushrooms cook in their own liquor and the butter for fifteen minutes, then add salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
Peel the mushrooms, wash them in cold water and cut off the bottom of the stalks. Then put them into a porcelain-lined kettle; to every pint of mushrooms add a tablespoon-ful of butter divided into four bits and rolled in flour. Let the mushrooms cook in their own liquor with the butter and flour for fifteen minutes, then add two tablespoonfuls of thick cream, salt and pepper to taste. Take from the fire, add the well-beaten yolk of one egg, and, if you use it, one tablespoonful of sherry. Serve immediately.
1 can of mushrooms Yolk of one egg 1 tablespoonful of sherry, if you use it
1 tablespoonful of butter 1/2 pint of milk Salt and pepper to taste (white is the best)
1 tablespoonful of flour
Drain the mushrooms. Put the butter in a porcelain or granite saucepan, add to it the flour, mix until smooth; add the milk, and stir continually until it boils; then add the mushrooms, salt and pepper, stir until thoroughly heated. Take from the fire, add the well-beaten yolk of the egg, and the wine, then serve.
In cooking canned mushrooms, do not boil, as they are already cooked, and the second boiling toughens them.
For this, choose the larger mushrooms. Peel, cut off the stalks close to the top, place them upside down in a pie dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put a tiny piece of butter in each mushroom. Bake in a quick oven twenty minutes, basting two or three times with a little melted butter. Serve hot on the dish in which they were baked.
For this, choose the largest mushrooms you can get. Peel, cut off the stalks close to the top, baste them well with melted butter, dust lightly with salt and pepper, and let them stand a half-hour. Then place them in a wire broiler, close the broiler very carefully so as not to break them, broil them over a clear fire, first on one side and then on the other. Open the broiler, remove them carefully with a spoon, place them on small squares of buttered toast, pour on a little melted butter, and serve.