National Stuffed Mushroom Day
annually on February 4th
Today is for the stuffed variety of edible mushrooms. They began being made in the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries, were likely derived from Italian stuffed zucchini, and probably got their start somewhere in Italy. Mushroom eating dates to ancient times, being enjoyed by the Chinese, Romans, and Greeks. Mushroom eating became more widespread in nineteenth century France, when the French began growing them for consumption. Crimini mushrooms were the most popular at this time, but soon gourmet mushrooms such as morels, shiitakes, and the rare and expensive truffle were eaten.
When stuffed mushrooms are prepared, the stems of the mushrooms are usually removed, the caps are turned over, and the mushrooms are stuffed with various ingredients. Sometimes the stems are cut up and used as part of the stuffing. Stuffed mushrooms may be filled with herbs such as parsley, basil, chives, and tarragon; with cheese such as gouda or parmesan; with vegetables such as garlic, spinach, onions, tomatoes, and peppers; with meat such as sausage and pork; and with olive oil, breadcrumbs, spices, salt, and pepper. In the 1940s and '50s they began being presented as a delicacy, and more expensive ingredients such as crabmeat and hot sausage began being used. The ingredients may be sautéed before being put in the mushroom caps, and more olive oil may be drizzled on top of them before they are cooked. They are baked or broiled, usually while sitting on a pan, but they can also be put on skewers or a rotisserie. They can be served hot, at room temperature, or cold, and are commonly served as an hors d'oeuvre, snack, or side dish.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by eating stuffed mushrooms. With the many varieties of mushrooms and stuffing ingredients, the possibilities you can create are endless. Pick a type of mushroom, whether it be a portobello, the similar but smaller crimini, the button mushroom, or any other variety, as well as a handful of the many stuffing ingredients listed in the description, and get creative. You could look online for recipes as well.