Morel Tales: The Culture of Mushrooming

Presented by Gary Fine, PhD

Please read notice carefully for this Monday evening event at the
Niles Historical and Cultural Center

Drawing on the observations of three years spent in the company of dedicated amateur mushroomers and professional mycologists. Gary Alan Fine explores the ways in which Americans attempt to give meaning to the natural world, while providing an eye-opening look inside the cultures they construct around its study and appreciation.

This will be an interview-discussion with Gary Alan Fine, whose book Morel Tales: The Culture of Mushrooming (2003), is considered a landmark work on environmental sociology. We will explore his examination of a thriving community, one with its own language, ceremonies, jokes, narratives, rivalries and social codes. We will learn of the American phenomenon Fine calls “Naturework,’ that is, culturally constructing one’s own place in the natural environment through communities with shared systems of assigned meaning.

“Naturework,” Fine observes, is something we all do on some level – not only birders, butterfly collectors, rock hounds, hunters, hikers, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts, but all of us who construct community through narrative and nature through culture.

Gary Alan Fine, PhD is a professor of sociology at Northwestern University. He has been a member of Illinois Mycological Association and Culinary Historians of Chicago.

Niles Historical and Cultural Center
8970 Milwaukee Avenue, Niles, IL 60714
(Just north of Dempster)
Public transportation: Blue Line to the Jefferson Park CTA Station, from there it is 20 minutes on the PACE #270 bus to Milwaukee and Elizabeth.
Free Parking in the lot behind the building

Cost: Free. All are welcome!

This program is hosted by the Chicago Foodways Roundtable and the Illinois Mycological Association. To reserve, please e-mail: