Today we are back with another science cookbook, this time with The Art of Fermentation Review.
Winner of the James Beard Foundation Book Award for Reference and Scholarship, and a New York Times bestseller, with more than a quarter-million copies sold, The Art of Fermentation is the most comprehensive guide to do-it-yourself home fermentation ever published. Sandor Katz presents the concepts and processes behind fermentation in ways that are simple enough to guide a reader through their first experience making sauerkraut or yogurt, and in-depth enough to provide greater understanding and insight for experienced practitioners.
While Sandor expertly contextualizes fermentation in terms of biological and cultural evolution, health and nutrition, and even economics, this is primarily a compendium of practical information - how the processes work; parameters for safety; techniques for effective preservation; troubleshooting; and more.
In contrast with other fermentation books like Wild Fermentation or The Noma Guide to Fermentation, The Art of Fermentation is not your everyday recipe book. This is more a book of ideas and concepts, guideposts, and suggestions. You might almost call this an encyclopedia of fermented foods and beverages more than a cookbook.
The Art of Fermentation is a book that provides tons of scientific details and history about the art of fermenting food. Readers will find detailed information on fermenting vegetables; sugars into alcohol (meads, wines, and ciders); sour tonic beverages; milk; grains and starchy tubers; beers (and other grain-based alcoholic beverages); beans; seeds; nuts; fish; meat; and eggs, as well as growing mold cultures, using fermentation in agriculture, art, and energy production, and considerations for commercial enterprises.
With more than 500 pages, two-color illustrations, and extended resources, this book provides essential wisdom for cooks, homesteaders, farmers, gleaners, foragers, and food lovers of any kind who want to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for arguably the oldest form of food preservation, and part of the roots of culture itself.
The Art of Fermentation is packed with personal stories from people who started brewing cider in their closet during college to those who learned fermentation techniques at their grandparents’ knees. All their stories are interspersed with quotes from scientists and other professionals, underscoring the anecdotal evidence with descriptions of what’s going on beneath the microscope. Take this all together and you get a real understanding of the history, preparation, and health implications of these fermented foods and drinks.
The 14 chapters of the book cover everything from basic equipment to fermented vegetables, fermented grains, and growing your own culture molds. There are tons of projects (more than actual recipes) that will keep even the most fermentation enthusiast occupied for a long time to come. And for those worried about food safety with all this fermentation experimenting, Sandor gives plenty of information on what you’re looking for and how you know things are going ok (or not).
Many chapters have detailed photographs of fermented foods and the author’s experiences with them as he traveled across Romania, Japan, Korea and other countries where fermenting is a way of life. There are also photos of microscopic organisms-fungi and bacteria, that show us just how tiny we are in this vast Universe. These photos help us understand that the vast majority of them are our friends and that they exist for a reason. In fact; they could be the answer to battle modern lifestyle diseases that are rampant today.
The number of units sold worldwide clearly demonstrates the quality of this book. The Art of Fermentation is a masterpiece for every veteran and novice fermentation lover who takes this art and science seriously. As the title of the book suggests, this book is an in-depth exploration of essential concepts & processes from around the world.
Besides being one of the best books about fermentation ever written, The Art of Fermentation is also a remarkable political statement about the perils of industrialised food and the need for humans to reconnect with nature. In Sandor's words: “As microorganisms work their transformative magic and you witness the miracles of fermentation, envision yourself as an agent for change, creating agitation, releasing bubbles of transformation into the social order.”
The Art of Fermentation is an incredible book for everyone looking for scientific and detailed information about the benefits and methods of fermentation.