To be honest, I've always felt a bit ambiguous about mushrooms: their shape and form intrigue me and I love their texture and their Victorian photograph-tones of black-and-whiteness...
But, with the exception of the porcini mushroom, I've never been hysterically keen on them as a culinary offering and the greyness of your average mushroom soup - coupled with its dull, pungent, earthy smell - has always struck me as being just too reminiscent of mouldering graveyards and decaying compost.
Interestingly, I now discover, I am not alone - as the following extracts show...
I confess, that nothing frightens me more than the appearance of mushrooms on the table, especially in a small provincial town.Image: © Brian Sibley, 2007- Alexandre Dumas
Strange that mankind should ever have used the mushroom. All the various species of this substance are of a leathery consistence, and contain but little nutriment. The condiments or seasonings which are added are what are chiefly prized. Without these, we should almost as soon eat sawdust as mushrooms.- William Andrus Alcott, The Young House-keeper (1846)
Not being ambitious of martyrdom, even in the cause of gastronomical enterprise, especially if the instrument is to be a contemptible, rank-smelling fungus, I never eat or cook mushrooms.- Marion Harland, Common Sense in the Household: A Manual of
Practical Housewifery (1873)
Whatever dressing one gives to mushrooms, to whatever sauces our Apiciuses put them, they are not really good but to be sent back to the dungheap where they are born.