THE HEALING CIRCLE author Coco Picard talks mushrooms, “The Devil Wears Prada,” and capitalism in Daily Beast essay

My Instagram feed is currently riddled with mushroom advertisements. A mushroom beverage exceeds coffee for focus and health benefits! Mushroom face serums provide youthful, plump-celled, and small-pored complexions! Another mushroom supplement rivals Xanax! To say nothing of the anti-dementia mushrooms, cancer-fighting mushrooms, gut-health mushrooms, and luxury magic mushroom retreats! In 2022, The New York Times named mushrooms the “ingredient of the year” and the U.S. food broker Presence hailed “mushroom everything” alongside carbonated sodas, relaxation supplements, and sleep supplements.

But how did mushrooms—a largely marginalized category of beings—develop such prominence in popular imagination?