Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had quite the experience during a recent diplomatic trip to China. Despite not being aware that the mushrooms she ate on the July trip to China had hallucinogenic impacts, Yellen ate some “hallucinogenic” mushrooms that a fellow diner ordered.
In an interview with CNN host Erin Burnett, Yellen laughed about the incident and admitted that she went with a large group and “someone else arranged the dinner and did the ordering”. She clarified that the mushrooms she ate were “delicious”, but she only found out about their psychoactive effects after the meal.
“There was a delicious mushroom dish,” Yellen recounted. “I was not aware that these mushrooms had hallucinogenic properties. I learned that later.”
When Burnett asked her what the mushroom experience was like, Yellen laughed once again and did not give any details other than saying that the mushrooms were cooked properly, which meant they did not induce any psychoactive effects.
The restaurant posted on a Chinese social media platform about Yellen’s love for mushrooms and how she ordered four portions of a particular wild mushroom species.
“Our staff said she loved mushrooms very much,” the restaurant stated. “It was an extremely magical day.”
Yellen was confirmed as the 78th Treasury Secretary in January 2021 and has since had to contend with numerous economic issues, including the U.S. federal deficit and the national debt.
In recent weeks, Yellen has made a number of overtures and outlined plans to restore the global economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. She recently discussed the need to raise taxes on the wealthy in order to pay for essential initiatives to help those affected by the pandemic.
“We should not be patting ourselves on the back when so many people are facing economic insecurity, and we have seen a rise in hunger and poverty,” Yellen stated.
Yellen’s “magic mushroom” moment is just the latest incident in a long list of colorful stories that demonstrate the Treasury Secretary’s sense of humor and wit. Whether or not she will be able to apply this lighthearted approach to more serious matters in the coming months will be something to watch out for.