Mushroom Musings with Sophia Roe

Today's podcast features a conversation with Sophia Roe. As a major fungi lover and renowned chef, mushrooms are a central muse for Sophia in the kitchen and far, far beyond. We discuss how fungi can be instrumental in exploring philosophical and ecological narratives on living & being. We challenge stigmas around fungi, and the associations of ‘bad’ with natural phenomena like rot and decay.

Sophia reminds us that modern day problems aren't involuntary. One of our greatest allies in regenerative action? Fungi. When we learn of fungi's potential in our suffering world, they begin to look like a sort of skeleton key of solutions.

And on a lighter note, Sophia shares how to cook the perfect mushrooms, and how not liking mushrooms is a false reality — all it takes is the right preparation and an open mind. 

Today features a conversation with Sophia Roe. As a major mushroom lover and renowned chef, mushrooms are a central muse for Sophia in the kitchen and way, way beyond. We discuss how fungi offer valuable insight to philosophical and ecological narratives. We challenge stigmas around mushrooms & fungi, and our associations of ‘bad’ with natural phenomena. Some modern day problems don’t have to be a problem, and we talk about how fungi can be the skeleton key to solving or mitigating many. Sophia also shares how to cook the perfect mushrooms, and how not liking mushrooms is a false reality — all it takes is the right preparation and an open mind.

Sophia Roe is a celebrated chef, writer, and advocate who looks at the world of food, art, and wellness through a lens of diversity, inclusivity, and honesty. Her innate passion for food has always been connected to an understanding—from a young age—that some people have access to nutritious foods, while others simply do not. This duality is the foundation for Sophia’s work: celebrating the beauty and art in cooking while creating resources to advance food justice and build more sustainable, equitable systems. 

As a young chef, Sophia stood apart; she felt like nobody looked or spoke like she did, but with social media she built a community where she could share her recipes, her convictions, and her honest take on wellness. Her powerful storytelling has helped those around her understand that there isn’t “one way” to approach wellness. Sophia’s community leans on her for actionable advice and encouragement in an effort to live a more balanced and healthy life. In addition to sharing her recipes, she leads transformative workshops, classes, and retreats that offer a safe, open forum for storytelling, community, food, and healing. 

It is with this foundation that Sophia is producing and hosting a new show on VICE called “Counter Space.” Launching November 26, 2020, “Counter Space” combines her expertise in the kitchen with her work in food activism and education. The underlying theme in every episode is resilience, adaptability, and awareness, and “Counter Space” informs consumers about the food, habits, politics, and food systems that affect us all. 

Beyond her public platforms, Sophia dedicates much of her time to supporting and empowering young people with similar circumstances through her involvement with two philanthropic organizations: Women’s Prison Association and Edible Schoolyard NYC

Sophia resides in Brooklyn, NY and spends most of her free time writing and filming. She is currently penning her first book, which is slated to launch at the end of 2021.

Topics Covered:

  • Sophia’s love for mold, and how these ubiquitous and essential fungi catalyzed her dedication to the fungal queendom
  • Reframing waste as a viable material for fungal proliferation
  • Inspiring figures in the mushroom scene and how their work is changing the narrative
  • Sophia’s cooking show Counter Space, and the importance of mindful consumerism
  • The do’s and don’ts of cooking with mushrooms
  • Jelly fungi and what to love about them
  • The remarkable applications of fungi in each of our lives, and how it’s only just begun

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai ** Subject to error
Alex 0:22
Welcome back everyone to another episode of the mushroom revival podcast. We are absolutely obsessed with the power of mushrooms. We are bridging the gap between you are incredible listeners and the beautiful, wonderful world of mushrooms. And we bring on guests and experts from all around the globe to geek out with us, tune in to this wonderful world. And so strap in, tune in and shroom to another episode.

Lera 0:56
And today we have the lovely chef and mushroom lover Sophia row. We are so excited that she is choosing to spend some time with us and talk to us about why we should be so in love with fungi, mushrooms, all the above. So if Yeah, thank you for joining us.

Sophia 1:13
Oh my gosh, thank you for having me. It's a special I love that highlight of my week.

Lera 1:17
It is a special podcast work ended up with about 100 guests lined up by now. And I'm amazed that we have not run out of things to talk about.

Alex 1:25
And overall I mean, what do we know about mushrooms? We really don't know anything. So it's a crazy world out there.

Sophia 1:32
Yeah, we learn new things every day. It's the ultimate kingdom. It really is. It's it's or queendom according to Juliana 40, which is a special I think that's very, very nice.

Alex 1:44
I love that you love Giuliana, because she's our role model as well. She's the queen of mushrooms herself. And how did you how did you get into mushrooms because I watched your stories. You're unbelievably passionate about the topic and I'm in you're an incredible chef and an all around amazing person. But how did you get introduced?

Sophia 2:06
So fungus mold spores, you know, I'm from Florida. It's a very humid environment, it's a swamp. There is a lot of mold and fungus and yeast and a lot of humidity there a lot of moisture there which is primetime for fungi. And as a little kid, I was alone a lot. Like I really spent most of my time alone. I remember those this park Gilbert Park, I was just fascinated by these little things. I they were like little friends to me. And it was also you know, like I said I was alone. So major imagination. So I've just always been fascinated with the way that they looked. Even this idea of food going bad like mold. That's this idea. That's like kind of gross. But I was always fascinated by it like, Whoa, what's happening in my loaf of bread. Like it just kind of further supported my obsession with food, you know this. And I think that we add a lot of good and bad to things like something's gone bad because it has mold on it. The big umbrella for me is that fungus for me is a conversation about death. And I think that's why I'm so obsessed with it. That to me, fungus is proof that life exists after death. And I while I don't well, none of us, like really understand it. That's also how we feel about that. We don't really understand it. And we're so scared of, of we're so scared of death and we're so scared of something going bad or rot. You know, those are such negative things. And I just don't believe that they are I really don't believe I think you can find a lot of answers to a lot of questions that we actually have inside of depth and inside of rocks and inside of garbage. So I mean, that's a long answer to your question. But ultimately, my fascination started when I was a very young person, very little girl.

Lera 3:57
I think this is one of the more charming mushroom love stories I've ever heard. The kind of adorable little girl looking at a moldy sandwich and thinking wow, there's some wisdom here. That's so awesome.

Alex 4:09
And we need more people like you right because that's how penicillin was invented right or found was through this fascination with more than sending people all around the world to look at moldy melons and, and breads and things like that, to save hundreds of millions of people's lives. It's through this this exploration of death that we find life and and life saving solutions to a lot of our world's problems and that's awesome. You know, we're obsessed with cordyceps and it's it's this fungus that attacks insects right and so bugs are ready people are like oh like and then fungus ill and then a fungus that attacks insects takes over their body and it's kind of too turns into a zombie? is for most people this, what are you talking about? That is the grossest thing on the planet. But for us, it's like that is so weird and cool. And that exists in nature like that we shouldn't shy away right from what exists in nature. And most of the, a lot of the beauty most beautiful things in nature are ones that people shy away from, right. Absolutely Absolutely. I couldn't agree more people like to think nature is is Sunshine Rainbows, right? Mother Earth, it is all loving and beautiful. And but there's this other aspect that a lot of people don't like to look at, which is death. Right? And it's the second most important day of our lives.

Sophia 5:53
I mean, yeah, that's wonderful. That's a great way of putting it. It really is, I think that people don't realize, you know, if not for fungi, if not for these things, and then the world would just, there'll be dead stuff everywhere. So I think we need to start looking at, I think we just need to start looking at the symbols of fungi differently. You know, I think we need to start looking at raw differently. You know, and I feel like the same thing goes into play. When we talk about race, I understand this is not that conversation, but like, this idea that white is pure and black is dirty, right? Like we learned those kind of concepts pretty young. And I feel like fungus ties into that conversation about death. And what when we're having these, these thoughts about death, it's so bad, everything is so negative, you know, and we don't when you start looking at fungi as a regenerative tool, you know, or, or more symbiotic, right? Like, there's fungus all over us. There's mold all like we're I don't know why we think we're these like, it's funny. This one girl on Instagram was like, I just can't get over that I'm eating fungus. And I'm like, baby girl, you need it to survive honey, like you think you're just don't have like, your like, your microbiome exists on your you have bacteria all over your body, you know, so it's so interesting, this idea of like, cleanliness. And there's also even like sort of this app, some people find it to be negative, sort of the phallic symbol of a mushroom, you know. So it's also got that sort of negative connotation there as well. So I just feel like it's really misunderstood, right? Like people, people also think fungi, fungi are only mushrooms, right there. Mushrooms are just the fruiting body. So like, there's just some things we're just people are just not really clear. It's a big mysterious kingdom to a lot of people, which is a part of the reason why I also again, supports my fascination. Thanks for making it sexy, you know, with your platform. And as seriously, it's so important to have those conversations and meet people where they're at. And kind of bridge that gap and open people's minds up to you know, and it's more more than the conversation around mushrooms and fungi, right? It weaves its intersectional with race and, and every single concept on the planet. It's all interconnected. Right? And so the more that we have these conversations, it opens up other uncomfortable topics that we can talk about, and make people say, Oh, you know, I never never thought about it. Like that way. You know? And yeah, yeah, actually, that, that you are right, you know, and, and,

Alex 8:23
yeah, it and I feel like mushrooms can be that building block. And we're starting to see it change in the US Not, not every country around the world is myco phobic, right? You know, China, for example, is 5000 years of his rich, rich history of using mushrooms for food, functional ingredients, etc. But here in the US, it's we we have to have more people like you, you know, and having these conversations making mushroom sexy, using them in foods and cooking and in functional ingredients, building materials XYZ, saying, Wow, these, this queendom is awesome. And we can partner with these fungi with these mushrooms and do some cool stuff. As

Sophia 9:13
we certainly can. I mean, we must, like I just feel like we could there's so much to learn. You know, I want to be more like fungi every day. You know? And I just think that that there's this idea of connection to with fungus that I think we as humans don't feel like we are connected and a lot of times you know we're in our houses, we're doing our thing and like no, you are absolutely impacted by your surroundings. 1,000% I always give that example like if you're at the you're at a red light and the light turns green and you don't go that person behind you is going to Hawk you have just impacted that person's day. Right later on when they're at home. They're gonna remember in this in the scheme of their day, oh yeah, this person, they didn't go I honked my horn I I didn't action because of something that that someone else did. We don't realize how interconnected that we really Are and that even maybe even more has been exacerbated with the pandemic. I think we're really just becoming even more closed even more like I don't need other people I'm not impacted by other things and I just debt is so not true. And we actually do need each other it's like the the Primo thing that I think big umbrella thing we can learn from fungi like we really really do need each other and we all truly are connected 1,000%

Lera 10:29
Hey guys, if you love the show and want to continue getting tantalizing mushroom content such as this, please consider supporting us by going to mushroom revival calm and purchasing one of our amazing mushroom products.

Alex 10:41
This is how we keep the lights on this is a total passion project, we do not offer any outside advertisers. And this is totally revolutionized our health, we want to spread the mushrooms far and wide in every corner possible. If you're listening to this, we will offer you a special coupon code that we're not offering anybody else. If you're listening to this, there's a little easter egg that you just found. The coupon code is called*** here is to figure out how much you actually save, you got to figure it out. You got to open that easter egg as well and put it into your cart to find out a special offering that only you will get. So when you go watch a movie, you get a bowl of popcorn obviously. So when you listen to mushroom podcast, you get a mushroom tincture, pumping through your veins pumping through your eardrums, you are a mushroom help the mushroom revival. We love you guys so much. Back to the show. I just read something really quick just before I came on. And the Post said we need to change the phrase self love to community love. Right. And some people need self love, right? And and but other people are confusing self love with community love. And what they really need is that that loving community, right? And they're trying so hard for self love, but they end up isolating and it makes the problem worse. So yeah, that's a really good point.

Sophia 12:18
I mean, the point of self love is so that you can then go back to the collective. And I talked about this all the time, like, even when we're looking at indigenous cultures, you know, the whole idea of taking care of yourself isn't so that now you're just walking around is this solo individual unit of someone who's taking care of themselves. So that you can also better take care of the collective as a whole, right? It's the that the mycelium of it all, you know, like the undergirding of it all is that we all are taking care of each other singularly so that we are a stronger unit together. You know, and that's also the intuition of it all. Which is another thing that I think fungi fungie really have, you know, they're really tuned into that their intuition. You know, when you understand yourself, you're more likely to also like, understand yourself and what your self needs, you're more likely to also understand what other people might need. You know, equity is at top of mind, you know, because you're putting that important for yourself. So, again, I can't stress it enough, like the conversation about mushrooms or fungi is so not linear. And I think that that's the thing I'm always trying to push like it is a sexy conversation because it's rich. It's a very rich conversation.

Lera 13:22
I think one of the most important lessons so far in the 21st century is how crucial biodiversity is for health. I mean, like your gut, oh, well, you know, we're not alone more of our weight is is bacterial. It's not even us. It's not our DNA. Yeah, if we didn't have that we would be dead in the water. And that's true for everything like the health of our your cavities and our mouths and our teeth and like, it's just infinite. We have like microbiologists are continuing to find out, the more diversity, the better. It's checks and balances. And this is I kind of learned this convoluted from cultivating mushrooms because as a cultivator you're trying to isolate right? You need to get that strain of mushroom on a petri plate and nothing else that you have to eliminate the competitors. And that works right like we can grow some of these mushrooms. But most of the mushrooms You see, we have no freaking idea how to grow. We cannot take that from Mother Nature and put it into our own conditions and propagate. We just can't do it. And it's probably because I mean, it's definitely because of the complexities there. There's relationships with the trees and the bugs in the plants. And we are so so far behind from understanding how the hell you get an Amanita mushroom to fruit for example. And like how that affects its chemistry. Yeah,

Sophia 14:41
yep, temperature, I mean air quality and there's just so many factors. And again, I think that goes into this idea. When we're looking at ourselves and really understanding like, I want to be like that, like I want to be not able to be replicated. Like I want them, you know, saying like, I want to be so that so I guess it's like, it's really I guess my fascination for mushrooms. It's it's big umbrella because it's it's it's really childlike, you know. And I think that's another thing that us as adults, we need to remember to be, you know, I really want to change the world one day and I say it all the time, like, I don't believe you can do that without being tapped into your imagination. And at this point in 2021, to be revolutionary, you have to be tapped into your imagination. And I just, like what an incredible thing for there to just be something that is just impossible to be replicated, where humans were the smart able people and we can't do it. Like, I am fascinated by that idea of of just nature, it just does what the heck it wants to do. And that is the the most that triggers my imagination, like nothing else, like wow, just completely feral, completely unbound, you know, complete and, and, and nature feels worthy of that. Right? nature will show up and show out. This is what I'm doing. I'm growing this today. I don't care if you don't understand. Oh, you didn't want it to rain. So what? Like, it's amazing. I just think it's amazing.

Alex 16:14
How has your own experiments with I see you getting a bunch of mushroom kits and growing your own mushrooms? How is that experience?

Sophia 16:23
I mean, great. I don't know if I just have really good house. Or if I'm just I don't know what's happening. But for a while, I was like, I was a full blown mushroom farmer in this house. Like I had mushrooms growing everywhere. So it's a it's I think it's a fun experience for me because as a chef, I eat a lot of mushrooms. So while we can have massive conversations about like all kinds of fungi and all kinds of different varietals of all kinds of different things. I'm really obsessed with mold. To be honest, mold is probably i can't i don't know if i can i hope i should say that but disappoint people but of all of the things and kingdoms like I'm a big mold person. But, uh, I eat mushrooms almost every day. So cooking, excuse me, growing them in my own house was also just kind of like saving me some money.

Lera 17:17
Do you have a favorite to grow and or eat?

Sophia 17:20
I'm really in an oyster oyster mushroom kick right now. They grow really, really well in my house and some of my favorites for a quick saute. So that's Yeah, I love Shawn trails. I don't know. I don't know if we're doing if I'm going to make something for someone. And I'm like, okay, we're going to show out it's going to be a morale moment. We're using Morales we're really going there. But there's really no bad mushroom. I don't I don't I don't eat them raw. Like I don't have feelings about raw cooked as a chef I'll eat them however like I'm like a rule odd whatever you want. Like it's for people that don't like mushrooms. I always just say always just because I've never made them for you. It's fine. I'll help you

Alex 18:03
going back to the mold is it just because that was the first kind of fungus that caught your attention? And it's it's maybe like a meditative practice for you just contemplating death and decay and reversing that identity of it or is it something totally something else? Is it just the cool green colors or something like that or?

Sophia 18:26
I think so. You know like the food stylist in me vibes really just appreciates the look of it. And but I also just I don't know I always go back to this like what is what is something that's gone bad? What is that? Why has it gone back gone bad for who? Like has not gone bad for the mold?

Alex 18:45
I yeah, you know.

Sophia 18:50
So I just, I always go back to them and oh, yeah, the bread is bad. Is it bad? It looks perfectly good bread for the malt. Like is perfect. It goes back to my again. my fascination with funghi is bigger. my fascination with garbage trash. I love trash. You know, I love garbage. I love my favorite thing. Like I get flowers. You know, my favorite thing is to just let them sit and just die and just leave them there. You know this I think death is really a beautiful, beautiful thing that we have to start repurposing and reframing. I'm not saying that as humans we aren't sad and there's no sorrow. Absolutely. But nature is showing us in front of our eyes. that something happens after you die. That can be amazing and remarkable and special. And I don't know it's just something about something about that whole bad word. I don't know. It's interesting to me.

Alex 19:43
Have you seen the the TED talk about the mushroom death suit? The real suit? Yeah,

Sophia 19:48
Yes.

Alex 19:49
Yes. Would you do that?

Sophia 19:50
Of course I would. Of course. Are you kidding me? I will do that. What do I care what happens also like what what Do I have feelings? I mean, like, I also think that mean, it's very personal. how you handle death is very, there's a lot of ceremony around it, you know, I didn't have a really great childhood. So I'm not connected with my family. So I actually don't really have feelings about my body after I die. And so that sort of dedicating my body to science is something I am 100% I absolutely will do, it's so important to me. And to help those who are alive still, and also to like, I don't know, fungi makes me feel so differently about this idea of even being alive. Like who's to say, I'm actually dead? When I'm dead? I'm alive to something. You know, I don't know. Again, this is this is my fascination with that life and death conversation is really wrapped up in mushroom and fungus. And I think we can geek out like, you know, tremella Yo, fusiformis. That's my favorite mushroom. I love Oh, yeah, shrooms Oh, it's my favorite, I love that we can geek out hard. But like, I do think that in an effort to make the sexy, and to get just the lay person, a regular person excited about mushrooms, you got to make the conversation bigger. And so to clinicals a little leg up, I already feel weird about mushrooms don't go to clinical. So I, I don't like to go that clinical, even though I can. Because I just want people to be excited about growing things, you know, I get tagged in, at this point, hundreds of people buying their own mushroom kits, because I'm recommending them. And that is awesome. That is just I mean, I get emotional thinking about it. It's just the most remarkable thing for people to really be like, Wow, look at what I'm growing. And you see their pride in it. They're so excited about it and trying it out. And I don't like mushrooms when my mom does. And look, I made these and kids love it.

Alex 21:41
Oh my god.

Sophia 21:43
Right. They love it, they get so excited about it. And so I just I keep it there. And then put in little tidbits here and there about how magical this really is.

Alex 21:57
You You made a comment earlier that one day you hope to change the world. And there's this awesome scene. I don't know if you seen it the movie soul, where he basically gets this jazz gig and they're outside afterwards. And he's like, wow, I dreamed about getting that gig. And now it doesn't really feel that special. And the woman says to him, Well, there's the story of two fish. And one fish says, I'm looking for the ocean. And the other fish as well that you're in it. And he's like, no, this is water. I'm looking for the ocean. And and he goes off swimming. And yeah, I think you're already changing the world. I think every day I mean, from getting people, hundreds of people to buy their own kits to grow their own food, to empower themselves to connect with the bigger aspects of what does fungi even mean? What do mushrooms even mean? Right? That's changing the world and through cooking through. I mean, you're involved with a bunch of different organizations with helping homelessness and other people growing their food in inner cities and things like that. I mean, you're doing incredible work. So I thank you.

Yeah, thank you. Yeah, thank you.

Sophia 23:16
Oh, that's so special. I mean, listen, it's, uh, you know, I, it's pick your thing and make it your thing. And I this, this is my thing. You know, and I think the bigger message is that idea that, yes, it's really great. You get this mushroom kit, and you're harvesting your own mushrooms, it's great cultivation, and you're learning, but like, Oh my god, I'm actually making food in my house. And you see this moment that it clicks with people to like I to be able to watch it on Instagram where I say I asked them, okay, like, what are you going to do with your beautiful pink oyster mushrooms now? And they're like, Oh, my God, oh, yeah. What the heck am I gonna do like, you know, the excitement around it, you know, and then the specialness of it. Like, I grew these, I have to do something very special. And then there's a paying, I will always remind people like, you know, that same very, very same thinking can be applied to anything you get at the grocery store. Because something you get at the grocery store was also grown and justice magical, right? We don't live in an agrarian place anymore. So we are already because of all of the things right the we don't see our food being grown. We don't actually understand the farmer, what is a farmer, right? Like we don't, we're not tethered to those things like we used to be. And so I think this idea of a mushroom kit is so nice, because it really reminds you of the work it takes you got to take care of this stuff. You got to make sure it's moist. You got to make sure it's in the right area. You got to make sure it doesn't get direct sunlight. It's like a pet. You have to take care of it. You know, and that's really special.

Lera 24:46
It is and I love your content for many reasons and recently indulged in some counterspace episodes, which were it was like a cooking show and a vice documentary hybrid. It was amazing. You give a hint. And you talk about the supply chain of whatever commodity you're currently working with. And that to me highlights your attention to the journey of all the things that you're using in your life. So thank you for building that conversation around consumerism. And obviously, I watched the mushroom episode with Giuliana fritchie. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about this and like maybe some things that you learned from just doing some investigation?

Sophia 25:29
Okay, so I, we were shooting really high to be able to speak with her. I mean, that was like, it was kind of one of those things where I was like, there's no way she's, she's in LA. It's like, it's just, it's like, I'm in New York. It's like, it's stupid. And Maggie, my segment producer came back and was like, No, like, this is who we're going to interview. And I was like, Okay, well, wow, I'm gonna cry. You know, you're like, Oh, you have someone's like keynote, like, memorized. That's pretty. That's, you know, it's like, so intense. So I was extremely nervous. But she's just so kind. And so I was I, even that interview, I was like, I didn't know and i watch it, I watch it back. And I'm like cringing, because I am. You can just I know, I'm so nervous when I'm talking to her because she's just meant. So she means a lot to me just as a woman in this field, as well and to be the first mycologist in her country, and what she's done with just not just the fungi Foundation, which by the way, if you don't know about the fungal Foundation, you gotta go into it, donate support, support. But I think that what I sort of investigated in my in my investigative work, it was her thinking was exactly like mine. It was a bigger conversation, sort of. I want mushrooms to have a better reputation, right? It was what we were what we were both very much looking at it in the same way from your reputations perspective, like, let's get super clinical. But like, also, that's not going to get the Gen Z excited. And we need them excited. And also, I'm thinking future farming. I'm thinking there's there are, there are potentially funguses molds, things that eat plastic, right? When we're having these climate change conversations, a lot of us are just kind of talking to ourselves in circles, we're not actually talking about what we can do aquaponics hydroponics, right precision farming, we're not actually talking about regenerating, regenerating topsoil, what that can look like and how, how fungal practices can be beneficial there. And so for me, it was really like, that's the angle I want to come from. Because that's what young people are excited about. I'm very grateful to live in a time where there are young people very excited about climate change. So I want to in my millennial mind, because I'm not a Gen Z, or I want to arm them with actual knowledge. Like these are the things that can actually help combat climate change. And fungal research. It's just it, we need more, it's more more and more and more, I appreciate that we have like, we're spending billions of dollars on fake meat, I appreciate that. But if we can spend billions of dollars on creating fake meat, then we can also spend billions of dollars on this research because I believe that it is just one of the single most important things that's going to help us in the near future not not 50 years from now, but like now, like five years from now. And that is what we really I learned so much of in my investigation. And having so many conversations with Miss Furci.

Alex 28:37
She's like the mother of the fungal kingdom. I look up to her as kind of like a second mother in the mushroom scene is she just holds people in this really beautiful way and welcomes everyone. No ego No. Like, nothing is just all for the love of fungi all for the love of people loving fungi, and all about making mushroom sexy, accessible. Yep, and relatable and empowering fungi. Right? So it's amazing. And I would have to mimic what you're saying of you know, Paul Stamets is is a good influencer for a lot of people just getting into mushrooms and it's starting to change more and more people are starting to become that influencer like Giuliana. And when I was coming into the scene, it was way that mushrooms can can degrade oil. They can degrade plastic, they can become this protein rich food they can hold, you know, 70% of carbon in our soils, they can, you know, and it went on and on and on and on. And I'm still on a daily basis like Wait, what fungi can do that.

Sophia 29:52
It's amazing. It's truly remarkable. And I'm just like, I'm sorry, but if our issue is garbage and waste Is that not? That's why that's why we have this kingdom. Like, I'm sorry, but like the planet doesn't make mistakes, you know what I mean? Like we like, we're ignoring the one thing that was put here by who we don't know, which is another thing that's very fascinating. We have no idea why this alien amazing thing that is, fungus is here, but it was put here and can handle all of these things that all sound to me like, they're all this is for them, what did they are here and available for the job? They're here for that. So like, let's do it. They're ready. You know, I don't know. And that was the thing I spoke with her a lot, just sort of how she's like a lot of she said something to me, like a lot of the things that are problems don't have to be problems. We have the solutions here. You know? And I'm like, Yeah, like, even for me and hunger, I don't believe hunger should have to be a problem. It really does not have to be a problem. You know, we just have to go about looking at it differently. You know, and so,

Alex 30:58
yes, fungi have a lot of the solutions, because they're so resilient, right, and they pop up in every nook and cranny of the earth and possibly beyond, right, and other solar systems and things like that. But we find them in Antarctica, you know, in the ice, they're just hanging out in the ice. And, you know, underneath the Pacific Ocean, there's dozens and dozens of different fungi, you know, in our mouths on our skin. They're intra noble, only consuming radioactive waste. I mean, there's a pop up in every single way. And they've been even thrown out of this of a space station and survived the vacuum of space for six months brought back on board, they're fine. You know, they are remarkable in the way that they just persevere. Right? And anything life throws at them. They're like, Oh, yeah, okay. Oh, adapt. And that is huge. I was in a talk yesterday, all about adaptogens. And, you know, it's funny that the way we use fungi and the way we look up to fungi, and the way we learn so much is the way that they can adapt right to these extreme environments. And they're like, Yeah, whatever. This is cool. I'm hanging out in a lava pit, you know, like, and, and I'm chewing on plastic. No worries, just throw a whole landfill at me. I gotcha. I it might take me a million years to develop the enzymes to, you know, to degrade this, but I got it. What's time? Yeah, yeah, with time, and I got plenty of that. I survived all the mass extinctions. I'm good. I've been on planet earth for a billion years. And that's creating symbiosis with other organisms for the last 700 million years. You know, I'm, we're good. Literally,

Sophia 32:58
no sweat. No, no, that's another was another thing too. It's like, I want to be just like that. We can learn so much from them. This is I think, what is time, you know, and I say it all and I always say, I always say this time is very real. When you're baking a cake. I don't want to like, I'm not trying to, you know, I don't want to go super space. We can however, but I just mean like this idea of rushing and again, the dead alive. Good, bad, like what, you know, what does that really mean? being alive? What does that mean? You know, and if I'm, I just feel like if, if I'm alive enough for fungus then like, I'm, then I'm alive. You know? So I, the, the sort of magic for me is, has to be this idea of resilience has to be this sort of, I'm unfazed. I'm unfettered by all this other stuff that's going on. I'm existing. You do what you do. I'm doing what I'm doing. But that's fine. It's like fungus literally minds her business. You know what I'm saying? Like she does exactly what she wants to do. Where she wants to do it when she wants to do it, and how she wants to do it. And she really doesn't care how you feel about it. Or how long it takes. It's amazing. She's sexy. He knows that is a sexy woman. You know,

Lera 34:15
So, so sexy. Yes. Couldn't agree more. So what mushroom do you have tattooed on your arm?

Alex 34:22
Oh my god.

Sophia 34:23
What if we could find it? Oh, who knows?

Alex 34:26
That was such a cute episode.

Sophia 34:31
Yeah, I didn't realize that she had it. So it was like so I also was like,

Alex 34:36
Oh, I have a spore print. No mushroom but just the spores

Sophia 34:40
Oh, so beautiful. Oh my god. It's gorgeous. It was like very real and I didn't realize they were gonna leave it in. So you're seeing this like, moment where I'm like, Oh my god, I was like this thing and you know it was it Yeah, it was a very sweet thing. And now Now we WhatsApp like Meet Giulinana on WhatsApp. It's like the cutest thing. She's just like, oh, like, here's, here's this amazing. This puffball thinking of you, like, Oh my god, I know we have like a very sweet, a very sweet thing. And I also think now too, it's like thinking I have this, I have a really wonderful friend and she's like, come to LA and I'm like, the pandemic, but I'll be there. I'm literally coming. So if I show up at your door like but I also think to another really fascinating thing for me to segue a little bit when especially since I want to talk about my favorite mushrooms like white jelly mushrooms I love I love love jelly fungi so much. But it's multiple uses so many uses at different from when they're dry. You see a lot of skincare starting to understand white jelly mushrooms and the benefits there, which I think is really really nice. Their ability to hold water. I think scientifically we need to figure that out. That's a very fascinating thing to me. I'm really, really into this future of like the jelly mushroom. How do you feel about jelly mushrooms? Are you a jelly mushroom fan?

Lera 36:12
Oh, favorite mushroom, right? That's one of my favorites. Tremella.

Sophia 36:16
It is I just I love that you're saying this. It's truly my favorite. It's really my favorite species.

Alex 36:23
We actually have it in our daily 10 tincture, which we're gonna send you is one of our mushrooms that we work with. And what's cool is that you were talking about, you know, the whole isolating a single fungus to grow, right? And tremella is two different types of fungi coming together. And so it took so long to figure out how to grow it. And then a farmer was like, you know, we have to combine these two different fungi unable to grow this mushroom and that's just fascinating of just, you know, instead of this monoculture it's it's permaculture it's it's coming together it's multiple species in symbiosis, which is incredible. So so that was awesome.

Sophia 37:11
My favorite I love that you love I assume so. But you know when we're thinking about my favorite and my Oh, that's a lot of people don't really do very very edible soups vegetables all you know, so which is also great, very multi use, as well.

Lera 37:26
I love jellies especially cat's tongue

Sophia 37:28
I don't know if you remember I haven't found so weird, but what is funky looking one

Lera 37:34
It is so fun to touch. It literally feels like a cat's tongue like inflated with oh yes

Alex 37:41
yeah funny it has all these little like hairs on oh my god it's yeah it even looks like a tongue it's it's really awesome. Oh my gosh one it does his his woodier which Yep, feels like an ear even looks like it a lot of times and it's such an incredible dish with vinegar. Oh my god I'm obsessed with with vinegar soaps, Whittier that is one of my favorite dishes of all time and going back to texture it's this trend right now I'm seeing on Tick Tock of just like boiling mushrooms

Sophia 38:20
I don't know if you oh the Pat and like they pat on them. And like it's a little suggestive and very sexual and I'm very down I'm very supportive. I love it. I love it. Or the I saw one video talking about woodier I saw one where there's like the water droplets where like there's water droplets and the guys like hitting it and the water and you're like what am i watching?

Lera 38:47
Yeah, you feel like weirdly guilty about

Sophia 38:50
yes you're like this is not this is definitely is this PG is it. I know it's just a mushroom but is it speaking of woody or though if you're in New York, you can always get them from Italy. You can always get them they are always there if you want some and it all the vinegar soaked with yours that you can possibly imagine over there and Italy on 22nd Street and Broadway so Aussie anyone's wondering,

Alex 39:15
going back to Cooking because most people say they are I say a lot of people in the US say they don't like mushrooms and I think what you said is because I haven't cooked them for you yet. Right and I think people just don't know how to cook them. Or they're eating the wrong mushroom right i'm i'm not really a fan of button mushrooms or portobellos for the most part, they have to be cooked to the right way. There's other mushrooms that you can you can maybe mess up a little bit and this a little more lenient, right but but mushrooms is really easy to mess up. So for people at home that maybe are new to mushrooms or new to cooking mushrooms, the pandemic really turn the gear up on a homecooking so how, what would you recommend for people to start? What is a good mushroom to start with? And maybe a good recipe of how to cook mushrooms?

Sophia 40:11
Okay, so first things first, I think it's an accessible conversation, right? Like, I always start with what's most successful like a white button mushroom is going to be your most your most accessible mushroom, you're going to be most of the time, you're going to be everywhere. So I think it's important to take stock and what exactly texture and taste you are looking for. You know, and so what what do you imagine a mushroom to taste like? or Why do you think you don't like it? Is it the is it soggy when you've had it and so that's why so you're looking for some crunch, right? That's gonna be you can able to get that on stovetop, you can able to get that when you roast. I think it's about right temperature. I also think that when we get mushrooms home, I see people do crazy things like wash them and water, like submerge them in water. Please don't do that. Don't do that. Why would you do that? Don't do that. No, just wipe them down. Just give them a little wipe. It's fine. And people say yeah, but mushroom salad. They grow in dirt and I say booboo, a lot of food grows in dirt, it's all gonna work out. So much food grows in dirt, so much food grows in poop, and we work it out. So you know what I'm saying? Like it's all gonna work out. So I tell people wipe them down really, really nice. It's your pan, medium heat. Throw them in the pan, oil, little oil, not some crazy oil that forth a cup of oils, a teeny bit of oil, leave them be let them do their thing. They're going to release water, especially when to salt them. So after you salt them, you'll see the water release. I think we fiddle too much. I think this is the case not just for mushrooms with cooking in general. We fiddle too much for seeing if it let them sit, let them sit. I actually have a few videos coming out on the particulars of a perfect sauteed mushroom. And the number one most important rule is to get let them cook. You're expecting them to have a beautiful golden crust on them but you won't let them sit in the pan and develop that golden crust. We've got to let them get nice and golden crust. You can get that with so many mushrooms. Like oyster mushrooms, maybe not a Nokia mushrooms I see people using a Nokia a lot. The Nokia is a really good in soups there. I love I love steamed in okie felittle if you put some ginger tea in your steamer basket, so not water, so use tea. So use ginger tea and your steamer basket and you put mushrooms in your steamer basket. Mushrooms love to absorb, don't they right? Like they really soak up that yummy flavor. So even for you it might even be in your steamer baskets and vinegar to really gets into those mushrooms in a really, really beautiful way. So I recommend that especially if you like steamed veggies, like if that's kind of your vibe. Use your imagination when it comes to cooking. I think that we are like well. So I'll pay I saw someone do a recipe once where they threw the mushrooms in the pan. Put water in the pan. Put the lid on it was like what like that is why are we who told that to you that was it. That's bad oil. He don't fiddle with them is going to be your best bet. I think advanced portabellas I think are advanced just because if you don't do them, right, it's they're kind of terrible. And so I don't like to recommend those. So if you're thinking if you're not a mushroom lover, don't reach for the poor big big portobellos don't because I feel like they are so easy to you know what I'm saying? Like they're not if they're not done right? They're really bad.

Lera 43:44
Like eggplant.

Sophia 43:46
It's like eggplant. Oh, artichokes! Yes. If it's not right, it's bad. So, you know I'm saying I just feel like I don't understand that it's so simple. Oil, mushrooms saute pan roast in the oven. It's gonna be delicious every single time now, advanced dehydration come through. We love some dehydration. If you want some like lopped some lobster mushrooms that are dehydrated and you rehydrate them in to some liquid, add a little bit of coconut aminos little soy sauce in there some seaweed you have the makings of some delicious kombu broth situation station that is scrumptious. So I think we need to look at mushrooms I guess you can eat them but they can also be weighed. They can be big flavor builders. They can create umami and richness and depth when you especially if you're opting for no meat. If you're trying to go no meat, then mushrooms are a great option for flavor building really, really great option.

Alex 44:46
I can see why you have your own show. I'd book you.

Sophia 44:52
It's a lot. It's a lot. It's a lot but you know, I don't know I just feel like using your imagination. You know, it's just a The best thing I can think when when going into cook, going about things in a problem solving way to people let that stop them. Oh, last time I did mushrooms, they were really soggy. So I don't like mushrooms. I'm like, No, what you've just displayed to me is a problem. Let's create a solution. Because why don't like just because you made them and they were soggy doesn't mean like mushrooms are soggy. It just means you don't know how to make them. It's a you problem, not a mushroom problem.

Alex 45:30
I'm just picturing you talking in that deep voice filter that you do. That kills me every single time.

Sophia 45:39
Never saw me love a little bit of food humor. Now listen, if it's not fun, like what are we doing? Like that's the thing too. We take everything way too seriously, this is food. You know what I'm saying? Like we when we have it, we're so lucky to have it. So let's like have fun with it and make it fun. You know, it's like also to the sun. You know what to say? Right? You know what? It's a sameness right? Today it is okay. It's the same t i s A and E. So a tea. A tea has tea leaves in it. To sane is a blend that has dried berries and nuts and herbs, but it doesn't actually have any tea leaves in it so it doesn't have any caffeine in it. So one of my favorite things, if some dried goji berries, with some dried porcini mushrooms, I know to hear me out. I know this is like What is she talking about? With some cinnamon sticks, some star nice some cardamom, and you let that just do its thing in a pot on less on the stove, and you just have the most interesting cooking liquid. It is its own way to sane, wonderful broth. And then you steep some ramen noodles in that. So the noodles will soak up the flavor of this broth. And now you can use those noodles in a stir fry or use them however you want to use them. You know, like, I think it's like, What? What could I possibly make with this and really letting your mind go big. You know, like who says that when you make rice, you gotta use water. Now, why not use a little bit of mushroom broth that you make from scratch. And who says that mushroom broth you made from scratch, there's even a recipe written for it already. You know, you can create one yourself. You know. So that is what I'm trying to have people do like use your imagination have a lot more fun and look at food as solution based thinking more like problem solving and less like, last time I did it was horrible. It's probably your fault. So you know, that means you messed up. And so you are human. And we will learn and you'll do better next time. You know, it's not the foods fault.

Lera 47:37
Yeah, we do live in a privileged time. I mean, most of us have access to more than just salt and pepper. Yes, spices Do we have like 30?

Alex 47:45
I mean, yeah. And just any food that we could think of right down the street. Right? It? Yeah, it's incredible. And and it's a pro and a con to what you were saying before is that we're closer to a wider variety of foods, but far away from the farmer. And so how do we get creative and diverse with our eating, but also connect to the whole lifecycle of, of, yeah, that that's a cool piece of nature right in front of you. And I would love to know, the lifecycle of how that grew. And yes,

Sophia 48:22
yes, I think it's the coolest thing ever. I also think even if it was my show, and we mentioned it briefly, but this idea of supply chain or the say B, I don't like to call it supply chain. It's I interviewed this this year, many coffee farmer it's really, and he had this term that he really liked called value chain. And I Wow, that's so great. You know, 60% of the food that we eat here in America comes from somewhere else. Right? And so already we're disconnected. Right? Like, what does that mean? And when we talk about eating locally, and we make it like it's an easy thing, I don't ever want for people to misunderstand me it is not easy. I mean, eating locally. Like, I guess that means coffees out costs. There's no cherries, there's no coffee cherries grown in Kansas, you know what I'm saying? Like? It's, you know, like, I think that this is hard, right? Like olive oil, like short of California. It's not it's just not a lot of olive oil going on here in America. You know, it's that is the same story for so many spices and so many things, specialty wise that we eat, you know, particularly even even, I mean, vegans, I mean, look, we look at someone I used to be a vegan, I was vegan for a really long time. But understanding that a lot of your food you're getting from somewhere else, avocados from Mexico, came from Peru, the story goes on and on and on. And so this idea of mushrooms is so fascinating to me because they do exist everywhere. They really do. Right and they are everywhere. And that is a it's it's one of the few things that I can think and the only kingdom that I can think that exists everywhere, everywhere all the time. And so I mean you can go into I mean Do you guys know Blackboard or Alexis? Oh, yeah, of course you do. Amazing. She's remarkable. I had to have her on the show. So, I mean, this girl finds everything you can possibly imagine like a mile from her house. You know what I mean? And so people like this also are so important for me. decenter like, again, nothing's about me, like as a, I call myself that sort of like story steward. But if I can find a way as a voice to center these important things that some might consider very, Someone once told me that my love for mushrooms and mushrooms are very kind of granular, and very kind of like, over in their own corner. And I was like, ma'am, what's your cause, like, mushrooms are centerstage Excuse me, what? You know, like, I just want to let everybody know, mushrooms aren't here, there, they are the 2020 forever 2020 2021 they are the winner, they are here forever. And centering people who are experts in that field are in our how we dismantle the weird feelings about funky, right, and the because it's not, I can't do it alone. You know, I can't do it alone.

Alex 51:17
And most of the time, those people that have those weird feelings are eating a piece of bread, or, you know, drinking beer, you know, the yeast is just in everything that they eat, let alone they share over 50% of their DNA with fungi. And they have probably hundreds, or if not 1000s of different species of fungi, in or on their body. But it shows up in so many ways. You know, if you eat any vegetable, any plant, right? It needs fungi to survive either mycorrhizal connecting to the roots, or endophytic fungi in the cell walls, plants. And even spearmint, the smell of spearmen is because of a fungi inside the cell wall of spearmen. And so we're starting to discover all these different spices and plants and functional foods that make these compounds only because there's a fungi in it, and the second you take it out, it no longer has that smell or that taste are that compound that we like, that's, that's beneficial, you know, so they are center stage. And I always think they're, they're kind of humble stewards of our Earth. Right? A lot of times, they don't like to be in the spotlight, and they do the work. And they're like, I don't have to take credit, right. But if you want to shout me out, you know, go for it. And I'll work with you. And I'll love you and, and we can build this beautiful relationship, but they're underground. They're in trees, they're, you know, they're, they're hiding a lot of times, and they'll go poke up and tease you with this beautiful fruit. But they're, they're just kind of this mysterious. And, and they tease you right? And once they get you into their world, it's like, Wow, it this is never ending and so remarkable.

Sophia 53:18
I mean, I'm tethered for life. I mean, it's just like, I'm connected forever. And I think, you know, also it's breaking this breaking the stigma around mushrooms to like psilocybin magic mushrooms. Like, by the way, I'm from Florida, we've had an incredible relationship with magic mushrooms, me and golden teachers, we went through a hat, we had a whole vibe. In my early 20s. We had a really like tight relationship. But it's also like, I just want people to know, like, that's the thing, if you want it to be a thing, like microdosing. Like, let's hang out there if you want to hang out there. If not, like let's just let's just have life and death conversation. If not, let's just like grow our own food. Right? Like, what is your vibe here? Like we can find something that is going to support the support of fungi. Right, you just let me know what your situation is right there. There's there. There's a story for everybody. You know, I think psilocybin is a very important conversation. hugely important. And that research is something that I am heavily invested in, even monetarily fiscally invested in, because I do believe in, I believe in the power fungie in every single way. But most notably for humans, I believe in that power, whether we're talking about climate change, or biologically on our mind, mentally, etc. But I do want to have to have that conversation because there are so many people that are like, oh, psilocybin. Ooh, that's weird. You know, like, they have weird feelings about it. And I'm like, okay, but chicken of the woods. Young, you know, like, Yeah, she taught gay back to the big girl monologue like you're right. Like, I mean, I think it was ancient civilizations are they found? I mean, I think they found that one of the oldest, one of the oldest bodies, skeletons Excuse me.

Alex 55:11
That's the red lady. Yeah, yes, sir. Yes.

Sophia 55:15
Thank you. Yes. Yes. On the teeth spores on the teeth. And so okay. I mean, that's pretty alien. Like, like, That's amazing. And sometimes that conversation really gets people into it. Sometimes I'm speaking about fungi. And I meet someone else who's like, really geeked out on the alien vibes, like spores on the teeth. Whoa, that's amazing, like from another planet. And then other times, I'm just speaking to a mom that has hungry kids. And she's just trying to get her kids to eat mushrooms. I mean, so it just runs the gamut. It just depends at the end of it all. I am a chef. So cooking mushrooms. That's bread and butter for me.

Lera 55:53
Thank you for shape shifting for people that's productive. And you have a pretty decent following. And you're using that platform. Thank you, from us from the mushrooms for doing. It's making a difference. I have friends who follow you in what like sent me something that you posted. And they were like, you've been saying mushrooms are cool, but they really are. They really, really are. And I don't feel like it's like a sellout. or anything. You know, like season two,

Sophia 56:21
we're going to talk more we're going to there's going to be more. And you know what, you guys don't know something very funny. I had to really push for that mushroom episode. Really, I had to push for it. I it was not easy. Because a lot of them are sort of focused around the country. Right worth and it was like, if we don't if if we don't do this mushroom episode. I can't do like it, won't I it's I have to do it. And of course, it ended up being like one of everyone's like, sort of favorite episodes. And also was probably the only rapidly episode that really inspire people to grow kits. Small hold, right, like just, I mean, so many great, great, great mushroom stories, and really got people super active and super excited. So my goal is to get people just as excited. I mean, we're in America domestically, we're going into like, more humid weather. come through, like I'm ready. Like, I want to see more mushroom excitement. So

Lera 57:21
stay tuned. Okay, so the last question is, if mushrooms had the microphone and could say one thing to the human race, what do you think they would say?

Sophia 57:31
Okay, relax. You're worthy of ease, just like we are. And remember, you need your neighbor more than you think you do. That's, that's what I would say. Yeah, that's what they would say. I think. Yeah, they're in some kind of like, in some kind of Morgan Freeman voice.

Lera 57:55
Of course.

Sophia 57:58
It wouldn't be the same without some kind of voice of God from the small. The small flower of this mushroom with this big booming, kind of, you know, you know, James Earl Jones voice like Darth Vader. Could you imagine? Maybe that, you know, like a Darth Vader voice like this? mushroom. Oh, man, you know, big boys little thing.

Alex 58:24
Where can people follow your work? Yeah, I'm sure there's a million places. But any, any main places that people can catch up with you and see your recipes your show?

Sophia 58:37
Yeah, well, they can watch my show vice every Saturday is a new episode. There's a lots of episodes 24 of them. So every Saturday, you can watch a new one. You can also watch them. Some of them are on YouTube as well. The show is called counterspace. I am the host of it. Not every show is about mushrooms, unfortunately. But they all are about very important important issues that we that I think it now a 2021 we can all kind of relate to or on my Instagram. Sofia underscore row where I talk about basically everything. Sometimes it's my hair. Sometimes it's food. Sometimes it's me talking shit about food. You just never know. You never know on my Instagram. But it's it's it's mushrooms at least three, four times a week at the very at the minimum minute.

Lera 59:25
Everything will be in the show notes. Sophia, thank you so much for coming on the show. We had a great time and keep up the amazing work keep changing the world.

Alex 59:35
And thanks everyone for tuning in and trimming in. Wherever you are in the world. We love you so much sending a big virtual hug wherever you're tuning in from, whether you're watching or just listening. We love you so much and please also you keep having that childlike curiosity about mushrooms and fungi and everything natural and beautiful about this world. Hello to our site mushroom revival calm, a ton of blogs, ton of podcasts, a whole line of functional mushroom products and, as always, much love and may the spores be with you.

Sophia 1:00:11
I love it. You guys are the best.

Alex 1:00:14
You're the best.

Sophia 1:00:17
May the spores be with you. That was my little Darth hit had to get in there with a little dark humor.