dinsdag 18 november 2014

The #FungiVerse [updated]

Recently I read Cynthia Bertelsen's compact but dense 'Mushroom, A Global History', a book on the cultural and gastronomic history of the mushroom. My favorite chapter deals with the domestication of the mushroom, it argues that large scale exploitation of mushrooms is a very recent phenomena and that much is still being done to bring new species under domestication. To see if I could reproduce this observation I turned to the 'What's on the Menu' dataset hosted and created by the New York Public Library. One of their files (Dish.csv) contains the first and last occurrence of over 400.000 dishes. I searched he names for all these dishes for the occurrence of a number of different mushrooms. This resulted in the following image that clearly shows how new fungi other than the common white mushroom still are for American restaurant visitors. Enoki, ceps, shiitake and even chestnut mushrooms are all recent additions. The file used gives titles and not actual ingredients. But I would think that it catches at least every use of the truffle as they are too expensive to use without telling. Click to enlarge.

This image shows with what other ingredients the mushrooms were combined with. 

Could we by combining the data behind these 2 images in order to say how the use of mushrooms has changed through the years? I wish you luck if you want to find out. You will need it.

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