I've never eaten fresh shitake mushrooms, although they are available at the local markets and supermarkets. Every Chinese recipe I've used calls for the dried variety, presumably because of the concentration of flavour. From memory, the same goes for Japanese, also. Many other recipes (baked beans, for instance) call for dried or canned items, rather than fresh. The dried salt cod, baccala, could never be replaced with fresh. Anchovies, belacan, bombay duck -- the list goes on. I was pondering this whilst pottering around the kitchen the other day. Indeed, when using fresh vegetables or fish, the fresher the better. But what of dry aged beef, vintage cheese, fine wine, even? It seems to me we use the aged or preserved to complement or accompany the fresh. Not a question, just a talking point. Thoughts?