Drawing connections between the microbial community and human culture

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Sandor Katz says people’s fear of bacteria projects onto the time-tested process of fermentation, as seen here in cornbread under the microscope. Photo by Sandor Ellix Katz

According to food writer and DIY activist Sandor Ellix Katz, the English language uses the word “fermentation” to describe both the literal process of yeast and bacteria transforming nutrients in foods and beverages, but also any phenomenon that is bubbly and dynamic. Some fermentations occur within hours such as yogurt, while other processes take a year or longer, like soy sauce or miso. Waiting doesn’t always come easily. Katz’s new book, “Fermentation as Metaphor” grapples with the challenges and gifts of fermentation, and how it relates directly to human culture and daily lives.


Fermentation can be highly transformative. Walk into a cheese shop and realize that all those cheeses started with the same ingredient. “Fermentation as Metaphor” is the latest book by Sandor Ellix Katz. Photo courtesy of Chelsea Green Publishing
Credits

Host:
Evan Kleiman

Producers:
Joseph Stone, Laryl Garcia