Yellen Feasts on Psychedelic ‘Shrooms in China
It has been reported and confirmed that while in China to negotiate with high level officials, United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen dined on controversial Jian shou ging mushrooms – which are variously reported to be delicious, poisonous … and psychedelic. She savored the fungi at the Yi Shou/Yi Wang (In and Out) restaurant – not to be confused with the American fast-food eatery.
We can assume that they were delicious – for those who like mushrooms — since Yellen dined on four orders of the delicacy. As to their being considered poisonous, Professor Peter Mortimer, of the Kunming Institute of Botany, says the mushrooms “are considered poisonous as they can be hallucinogenic.”
They are sufficiently toxic to be on the Botanical Society of Yunnan’s index of poisonous mushrooms – again because of the possible psychedelic effect. Mortimer said that he had “a friend who mistakenly ate them and hallucinated for three days.”
According to experts, the toxic or psychedelic nature of the mushrooms are not a problem … if they are prepared “properly.” I did not find any of the news reports indicating the “proper” way to prepare the jian Shou ging mushroom.
Mushrooms and other fungi are very popular menu items in the Middle Kingdom. In fact, China features many restaurants that have nothing but mushroom and fungus dishes on the menu. I know that because, as a mushroom lover, I have been to several of them. I cannot say that I have had the jian shou ging mushroom – and cannot say I have not. I have eaten a very wide variety of mushrooms on the menus, but without any adverse results.
The stories I found in my research omitted a rather significant point. Was Yellen aware of the reputation of the jian shou ging ‘shroom when she ordered them? Was she taking a risk? Or looking for a high?
The restaurant owners describe Yellen’s visit as a “magical moment” – whatever that is supposed to mean. They further honored her by adding her name to the menu. It was not clear if the controversial ‘srhooms are now known as the Yellen jian shou ging or it was some other item on the menu.
If I should ever get back to Beijing, I will be scoping out the Ye Shou/Yi Wang restaurant for an order of jian shou ging mushrooms. No, I will not be looking for a psychedelic “dessert.” I will assume the restaurant will prepare them “properly.” But I will take along a designated driver, just in case.
You will notice that I did not take any cheap shots tying Yellen’s dining on the mushroom to any criticism of her performance in China. That is because her failure to achieve anything for America has nothing to do with her gourmet food choice.
So, there ‘tis.