In a Pickle
Foodies are freaking for all things fermented
Life / 17 Jan 2011
Several recent food trends, from hemp to CSAs, have decidedly hippie roots, and the latest is no exception. Although fermented grub has been omnipresent on food trucks and in bars for a while now, this seems to be the year in which it will go beyond your typical kimchi and briny picklebacks. With considerable airtime being given to the importance of probiotics, bacteria has never been so popular.
Fermentation Cookbook:
Authored by Sandor Ellix Katz, a self-described "fermentation fetishist," Wild Fermentation is touted as the most comprehensive fermentation cookbook ever published. At the least, it’s the de facto user guide for today’s fermentation enthusiasts, many of whom flock to hear Katz speak at his frequent public appearances. Food bloggers and DIY’ers alike are posting his recipes online—his kombucha shows up on Brooklyn Feed and his sauerkraut is featured on Boing Boing. Even The New Yorker praised Katz’s work as aiding “opportunivores” in the preservation of their dumpster dive findings. Katz’s Flower Wine recipe, celebrated in Portland rag Willamette Week, is a boozy delight made from freshly picked flowers and the yeast of wild berries. Too bad it takes nine months to age.
Fermentation Classes:
Last summer, we covered what was then a still burgeoning canning trend. Subsequently, interest in all things fermented has sparked a nationwide movement, and with more folks wanting to learn food preservation techniques, classes in fermentation are booming. In New York, Williamsburg’s hipster training facility 3rd Ward offers health-minded fermentation workshops that teach attendees how to cultivate kombucha and sourdough-starter breads, while Brooklyn Brainery is spicing up cabbage with a “Make Your Own Kimchi Party” and “Fermentation Fixation” course. In California, San Francisco meetup group Kitchen Magic—tagline: “Alchemists of Food Unite”—gathers to craft mead, while Angelenos can take Fermentation 101 at Angeli Caffe. Of course, those who experiment with this at home may want to also invest in a few boxes of incense.
Fermentation Festival:
A true food movement wouldn’t be complete without its own festival, and fermentation is no exception. The third annual Freestone Fermentation Festival kicks off in California this May, with both indoor and outdoor festivities extolling the potency of fermented edibles. Cooking demonstrations on the LEED-certified farm include Easy Cheese Making, Cooking with Natto, and Dipping into Digestive Health: Easy Miso Dips. Attendees can even soak their feet in a cedar enzyme bath, feeling fermentation work its magic on their toes. Naturally, Portland is also home to an annual fermentation festival where attendees can sample and trade epicurean bacteria. One wonders how the “verbena lacto-fermented soda” compares to Cascal. Bottoms up!
©The Intelligence Group