You may have read my post on Capturing Cultures at Real Food Projects with Holly Davis? Nothing’s changed. I’m still fascinated with fermenting my own foods, primarily vegetables.
So much so, that I have bought Sandor Katz’s most recent epistle on the subject, “the Art of Fermentation”. I’m about half way through. I’m finding it un-put-downable.
If you have an interest in traditional or cultured foods and nutrition, you will already know that Katz is considered the Godfather of lacto-fermentation. If not, his story is quite fascinating.
In brief, he grew up in New York and attended Brown University. He is openly gay and suffers from AIDS. In 1993, in his early thirties, he moved to rural Tennessee where he joined a “queer international community deep in the wooded hills”. (I bet there are some stories to tell there!) His particular interest in fermentation grew from overlapping interests in cooking, nutrition and gardening. And, it all started with an old crock he found at the back of an old barn, in which he made his first batch of sauerkraut. Since then, this self-proclaimed ‘fermentation revivalist’ has developed his love of fermentation to the extent that he now travels the United States, and the world, teaching workshops on home fermentation.
And, as Michael Pollan explains in the book’s foreword, “Sandor Katz writes about the transformative power of fermentation with such infectious enthusiasm that he makes you want to try things just to see what happens”. It’s true. He does. He writes with a wonderful passion that is open and full of warmth. I’d love to meet him…
Our perfection lies in our imperfection. (Sandor Ellix Katz)
Well, guess what? I’m going to. In February 2014. Because Sandor Katz is coming to Sydney (and Brisbane and Byron Bay and Hobart and Melbourne!)
The lovely people from Milkwood Permaculture have organised a weekend of intensive sessions here in Sydney on the art of fermentation with none other than the man himself. I’ve booked myself into two sessions – the first is on fermenting vegetables which includes dry salting vegetables to make dishes like sauerkraut, kimchi methods, and making basic brines to pickle vegetables. The second is on fermenting beverages which covers simple alcohols from fruit and honey, vinegar, kombucha, water kefir and homemade sodas.
It should be said that after much deliberating, I decided to forgo the remaining sessions on fermenting milk and fermenting grains, legumes and starchy tubers. In a house where one of us is gluten intolerant and another is allergic to dairy, that just seemed like overkill.
Anyhoo, if you have an interest in meeting the delectable Sandor Katz and learning from him about the art of fermentation, I urge you to head over to the Milkwood Permaculture website to get all the details. Maybe we can start a wee lacto-fermentation collective…?