Bread. Cheese. Wine. Beer. Coffee. Chocolate. Most people consume fermented foods and drinks every day. For thousands of years, humans have enjoyed the distinctive flavors and nutrition resulting from the transformative power of microscopic bacteria and fungi.
Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods is the first cookbook to widely explore the culinary magic of fermentation. "Fermentation has been an important journey of discovery for me," writes author Sandor Ellix Katz. "I invite you to join me along this effervescent path, well trodden for thousands of years yet largely forgotten in our time and place, bypassed by the superhighway of industrial food production. "The flavors of fermentation are compelling and complex, quite literally alive. This book takes readers on a whirlwind trip through the wide world of fermentation, providing readers with basic and delicious recipes-some familiar, others exotic-that are easy to make at home.
The book covers vegetable ferments such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and sour pickles; bean ferments including miso, tempeh, dosas, and idli; dairy ferments including yogurt, kefir, and basic cheesemaking (as well as vegan alternatives); sourdough bread-making; other grain fermentations from Cherokee, African, Japanese, and Russian traditions; extremely simple wine- and beer-making (as well as cider-, mead-, and champagne-making) techniques; and vinegar-making.
With nearly 100 recipes, this is the most comprehensive and wide-ranging fermentation cookbook ever published.
A Down to Earth book on Fermentation for a Food Source The first part of the book provides some background, without all that scientific jargon of nutritionists, just plain and simple language. Then the book gives what it promises - lots of recipes and instructions on fermentation for all areas of food and drink. I have started growing a large garden and will enjoy many of the ideas in this book as I ferment my pickles, cabbage, beans, and berries, and explore the health benefits....more info
Perfect Balance! Wild Fermentation is informative and practical. Specific and flexible. Background and application. Upbeat and profound. In other words, it's a book with balance. The reader can learn all about the great reasons to consume fermented foods and also learn to make them. I've tried several of the recipes -- they've all worked out more or less, and I think the less part has to do with my skill and attentiveness rather than the clarity of the directions. I can't wait to try out some more!...more info
Wine making Love the ideas in this book. Have not made any wine as yet, but will in the future....more info
Great Book, essential recipes This book does meander over the bull details that make some cookbooks so boring. The essentials are here, straightforward. It speaks of the best and most simple methods of fermentation. He also describes the science behind the fermentation in the most practical manner possible.
The simplicity and clear prose speaks to the way nature intended fermentation.
Full of life and learning I found and still find this text to be ever so enlightening. Not only have I explored more in the kitchen with fermentation, making kraut and kombucha among other things, i have enjoyed bringing some fermentation "experiments" into the classroom that I teach in. Also, I have found that Katz is a fascinating human being and I have been truly inspired by his political and social ideas regarding life, death, health and fermenting. If you are interested in fermenting or if you suffer from illness and need relief outside of western medicine, I think this book will inspire you and hopefully bring you to a deeper place in health and healing. A must own!...more info
bubblin' pots I loved this book. I also read his other book "The Revolution will not be Microwaved", and both are wonderful. In "Wild Fermentation", he covers a wide range of fermented foods, and really makes it easy to try things immediately at home. I currently have fresh cheese, saurkraut, honey wine, and ginger soda all going right now, and I didn't have to go out and buy a bunch of equipment, or read some technical instructions. This is a very simple, punk rock way to ferment food. And it is delicious. You will be reminded of what life was like before modern technology, and how fun it is to make these bubbling brews in your kitchen....more info
Informative, clear, easy to follow! If you are interested in fermentation, this book provides all the information you need to get started. You'll also learn the health benefits and history of fermentation.
I have been using the author's methods for a while now, with good success. I enjoyed learning as much as I did about the process of fermentation.
Some people have mentioned the author's "lifestyle" as a stumbling block to their enjoyment of the book. I didn't find this book to be political or sexual or anti-Christian at all. To my mind, the author never tried to convert me to his point of view. He did, however, speak of his life as if it was okay to be who he was; perhaps this is what annoys people so! I also searched for the "dirty joke" in the first 10 pages that one reviewer mentioned, but couldn't find it. Perhaps this version has been cleaned up? ...more info
Good Information, Unappealing Format I purchased this book as and accompaniment to Sally Fallon's "Nourishing Traditions." While much of the information given was very interesting, I found the format a little "wild." I am usually a more right-brained individual, and enjoy a variety of fonts and formats, but in this case it seems a little overboard! I found it difficult to find the answer to specific questions about fermentation; such as how to properly store fermented products. I'm sure the answer is in there somewhere, but I didn't have time to reread the whole book to find it!
I think it is also very important to point out that you will get more than just information about fermentation in this book. The author lives a very different life-style, a strange mix of homosexual, hippie and Amish. His lifestyle choices are expressed throughout the entire book; and because I do not espouse his choices, I found it very bothersome. It would be one thing to discuss these things in the introduction, or in a chapter of the book; but his ideas about life are expressed on nearly every page! I do not deny him the right to express himself, I just wish there had been something on the cover information to indicate that this was more than a cookbook. For example, I would not write a book full of Biblical principals and Scripture references without giving some outward indication that it was a "Christian" book. I wish that Katz would have shown this same courtesy to his readers, as his ideas are in direct conflict with what many, like myself, would find appropriate.
Ultimately, I ended up throwing the book away. The format made it difficult to look up anything, and the "wild" approach to fermentation was a little overwhelming to someone new to fermentation processes. I did not feel comfortable passing on a book that promoted and normalized a lifestyle that conflicts with my personal beliefs, so I threw it away.
Again, let me emphasize that I believe he has the right to express himself, and to share with the world his unique lifestyle. I just wish he had been more upfront about this aspect of the book, so that those who do not agree with him could exercise our right to not purchase his book.
As to the content, He does have some interesting nutritional and historical information. He also gives recipes for some things not found in Sally Fallon's book. For someone already familiar with fermentation, his recipes could be helpful and fun. So if you have already experimented with fermentation, and are looking for something new and less controlled, then you might find this book helpful. Beware however, that to find this information, you must first dig through the stories of Katz's personal life. Some that may be bothersome if you value Biblical principles.
Personally, I recommend Sally Fallon's book, "Nourishing Traditions." It contains information about all types of food preparation, including fermentation. The recipes are easy to follow, and so far have been delicious! ...more info
Couldn't put it down! Absolutely loved it! Sandor Katz made a potentially intimidating subject into a fun, simple process. ...more info
OH So Good!!! I love this book! I've tried a few of the recipes and just love the results! I can't believe none of the "back to nature" type books and publications I read talk about the simple and healthful ways of preserving food through fermentation!
Sandor does a fantastic job of taking the mystery and careful measuring out of fermentation. Most of the recipes I've read for fermentation say you must follow the recipe exactly or risk food poisoning. I'd rather play around with the recipes, so this is just perfect for me! I'm also impressed with his research into traditional recipes.
I just read that kimchi may cure Avian Flu, and the recipe in this book is a fantastic hit here! We use it as salad dressing with some sesame oil!...more info
Awesome I love this book, I have made sourdough bread and ginger beer. They both turned out great. I am now looking to make kimchi and sauerkraut. Recipes are easy to follow and taste great. Love it....more info
Good recipes! This book contains lots of different recipes, and it is most helpful for all interested in fermentation. Kimchi-recipe is ok, fruit.kimchi something I've never heard of - soon to be tested in my fermentation studio! That recipe alone makes the book worth buying....more info
NOT WHAT I PAID FOR!!!! The recipes are outstanding. The commentary is repulsive. Please, Sandor, next time you publish a book, first write a COOKBOOK, then write another one to cathartically release your "inner" feelings. I was very disappointed to have to THROW IT IN THE TRASH! I really wish I could recommend this to my friends. But, unless they want to read about morbid lifestyles, colorful language, toxic morals, and fermenting into bugs at the time of death...well, then I would say to go-ahead and buy it. Just don't say I didn't warn you! Sorry Sallon Fallon, but I disagree with your pick here!...more info
A good little conservative cookbook This is a friendly little book written by a true conservative. What could be more conservative than using age-old recipes, trying to live self-sufficently, trying to care for the land, and trying to conserve things? Every self-proclaimed conservative in the country should read this book. Which is more conservative: invading foreign countries with jet fighters, machine guns, and other weapons of mass destruction, or growing your own cabbage to make sauerkraut?
I was disappointed that there was not much in the way of barley recipes. Barley is such a tasty grain, used for centuries, that it's a shame it's so neglected in our society.
Fantastic, inspiring introduction - make room on your counter! You'll need extra counter space for the many soon-to-be-bubbling crocks of fermented foods that you'll be inspired to try your hand at after reading this exciting, fascinating book. Katz combines some history, some science, some grassroots, and a whole lot of recipes - I couldn't put the book down, and wanted to immediately try fermenting everything I could get my hands on. I've just bought a bunch of jars & will be starting my first batches of sauerkraut, kimchi, and mead (!) - who knew fermenting could be so simple? Katz makes this very exciting process seem accessible to all of us....more info
Lots of information and inspiration Okay, the author is not like me at all, and he's very present
in the book... but he is very sincere and enthusiastic and
there's a lot of information on the different types of
fermented foods and how to make them and ideas about
how to use it (like how to serve sauerkraut). I especially
like how complete it is, even the really freaky fermentations
(prechewed corn!) that I'll never use. I was inspired to try
the techniques for sourdough and sauerkraut (I don't even
like those foods!) and they came out pretty good.
For those looking for an introduction to fermenting In response to the two-star reviewer...could you direct me to the pages where you found those anecdotes and transexual behavior? Because I've had the book for a few days, read most of it, and didn't find any of those anecdotes. I skimmed through the whole book to check, and I didn't find any. The closest he comes to doing so is describing his experiences in dealing with AIDS, and how his passion for fermented foods have aided him in this process. That's far off from anecdotes about sexual behavior. Maybe you were reading an earlier edition of the book.
Anyways, I like this book because it addresses all of the subconscious thoughts that I had about fermentation, such as why we ferment foods, how we discovered the process, and the subjectivity of distinctions between foods fermented to perfection and rotten foods. Most of all, I like how he encourages us to experiment and tells us that fermentation does not require precision and control, as others may tell us. The simplest recipe in the book involves leaving fresh apple cider out. I also like his desire for us to recycle foods as much as possible, such as by making fruit peel vinegars. He gives us about fifty recipes, which includes all of the popular items, such as sauerkraut, miso, and beer, along with a few more obscure ones, and he encourages us to experiment with these. Although over half of the book seems to be anecdotes and stories, they give helpful knowledge for anyone new to fermentation. You may find his writings on the analogy of fermentation to cultural revolution and the process of life cheesy. (Damn, I spent more time on this review than I wanted to.)...more info
Simply the Best This book is a rare gem. It contains all of the practical experience needed to ferment your own foods and beverages. Yogurt, kefir, country wine, T'ej, hooch, and much much more. It is all in here. Fermentation is such a fun hobby. This book is for the germo-phobe as well. Mircobes are our friends, not our enemies.
This book is truly a gift to share with others. [...]...more info
Yummy Yummy! I've had this book for over a year, and since first reading it I have pulled it off the shelf again and again. There seem to always be something bubbling away in a big crock or bowl in my kitchen. I feel like I owe the author dinner for all the great things that have been made in my house, inspired by him. ...more info
Stick To The Recipes I used to cringe at just hearing the words "pickles" or "kimchi," as they immediately brought to mind spoiled cucumber and cabbage. After reading this book, however, I decided to give them another shot. Now, I feast on gorgonzola and tempeh as readily as I do fresh vegetables. My only complaint about this book, and it is a very minor, nitpicky point, is that it ignores concepts completely. I have tried to branch out from the recipes and make some of my own inventions, starting with fermentation of a head of lettuce that had been sitting in my refrigerator for eight weeks. A stomach pumping later that night quickly taught me not to stray from the script. Who knew the black liquid pouring forth would have been bad for me?...more info
disclaimer: this is a recipe for "alternative" lifestyles I am surprised that Amazon published this review and then 3 months later censored it and then deleted it for 'PC' purposes.
Quite frankly the topic of fermented food is interesting but the author's anecdotes about transsexual behavior and transgender lifestyles are not! This book should come with a disclaimer about its so-called "alternative" lifestyles......more info
Highly Recommended Modern Treatment of Ancient Technique `Wild Fermentation' by Sandor Ellix Katz appears like a living fossil of the sixties counterculture, surfacing after forty years of being both shaped and scarred by the currents and tides of the last forty years. The author is a member of a very sixties hippie influenced rural community whose lifestyle seems to be grown directly from the soil laid down by `The Whole Earth Catalogue', `Easy Rider', `Alice's Restaurant', and the Hog Farm, but without any trace of the Merry Pranksters' antics or inclinations towards mind-altering drugs. The shaping of the last forty years is seen in the author's being HIV positive AIDs infected young man with a major interest in sharing his passion for fermented foods with the rest of the world through modern publishing and scholarly rigor.
Fermented food products are probably much more common in our lives today than they have been since the advent of the processed foods industry. And, this is a fact that even the average foodie may not be conscious. A quick inventory of fermented foods commonly used in modern American homes will show how widespread they have become.
The most obvious fermented product is beer, which has always been with us. Their cousins, wines and meads are also the product of fermentation. Virtually all cheeses are produced by fermentation, and our interest in and consumption of artisinal cheeses is rising fast. Yogurt is a close cousin of cheeses and consumption of yogurt has been rising since the early seventies. Sauerkraut and Choucroute have been with us since the beginning, but Asian fermented cabbage such as Kimchee and other fermented vegetables are becoming more popular. Pickles have also been a part of western cuisine for millennia Another part of the increasing interest in Asian foods is an increase in consumption of miso and tempeh, both from fermented soybeans. Asian fermented fish sauces from Thailand and Vietnam are also much more common today than they were 50 years ago. The granddaddy of fermented foods for Western cultures is yeast bread, especially sourdough breads.
Fermentation has at least four beneficial results, two of which have been known since prehistoric times. The first and most important effect is that fermentation is a method of natural preservation by the creation of acetic acid (acid in vinegar) or lactic acid (acid from milk sugar). The second, represented most clearly by the brewing of beer, is in the action of microorganisms on sugars to produce ethanol (alcohol in beer, wine, and liquor). The third is based on our physiological salivation response to acidic foods, or even the anticipation of acidic foods, thereby making the mouth feel of these foods more succulent by the combination of natural food moisture and our own saliva. Ancients may have sensed the last beneficial result, but it probably has not been fully realized until the 20th century. This is the ability of fermentation to break down foods which were hard to digest into different products which are both easier to digest and more nutritious. The two best examples of this action are the conversion of soy carbohydrates into miso and the conversion of milk into yogurt.
All of this has made fermentation into a darling of vegan advocates, as it broadens the range of useable non-animal protein and makes it all more palatable. It has also made fermentation into a favorite of alternate lifestyle nutritionists such as Sally Fallon, the author of the excellent book `Nourishing Traditions' who supplied a Foreword to this book. Fermentation is also one of the hallmarks of the slow food movement. Aside from the North African method for preserving lemons, I know of no other culinary methods that take as long to complete.
Anyone who has made pickles, sourdough bread, or beer should have a very good idea of the times involved in fermentation. And this doesn't even get into some of the olfactory `delights' that accompany the process of fermentation.
The author covers all of the types of fermentation mentioned above, devoting the greatest amount of space to vegetable, bean, and dairy fermentation. Bakers should not miss the lesser attention paid to breads, as for every book on yogurt, pickles, and kraut, there are ten books which cover artisinal baking with its sourdough sponges, poolishs, and begas.
On the political front, the most active issue regarding fermentation is the issue of unpasteurized cheeses being imported into or made in the United States. It is truly ironic that the home of Louis Pasteur relishes their raw cheeses while the squeaky-clean US won't let it in.
Aside from the thoroughly careful presentation the author gives of his material, the veracity of the book is strengthened by the extensively footnoted research behind his statements and the fact that the fruits of fermentation are essential to the lifestyle of the author and his comrades at their rural homestead. The similarity to both the hippie counterculture doctrines and the Amish lifestyle are unmistakable. One would almost take them for being scions of the Amish except for the names cited in the acknowledgments that I found myself checking against the names of the communities' goats. We owe this book in part to humans who go by the names Echo, Nettles, Leopard, Orchid, Spark, Book Mark, and Ravel Weaver.
I also thank Echo, Nettles, Leopard, et al and author Sandor Ellis Katz for this deeply thought out exposition of a pervasive and growing part of the modern culinary and nutritional environment.
This book may not be for everyone, or even for every foodie, but if anything I said sounds a chord in your psyche, I recommend you get a copy of this book and read it carefully....more info
Too Wild for Me I tried just blacking out all the offensive passages but there were so many! In the end I just got rid of it.
It didn't really have any more information than there is in "Nourishing Traditions" anyway.
I do find it interesting that I reviewed this when I got it and my negative review was taken down. ...more info
Should be read by every dedicated kitchen cook in America! With Sandor Katz's Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, And Craft Of Live-culture Foods as their guide, meal time dishes involving fermented and live-culture cuisines are not to be thought of as being restricted to gourmet class professional chefs. Most of us would recognize a great number of fermented foods (bread, coffee, chocolate, beer, wine, cheese, miso, yogurt, sauerkraut) that find their place in our kitchens and on our dining room tables. These are foods that depend on complex bacterial activity in order to be nutritional and palate-pleasing ingredients to our dining. What Sandor Katz has done is to compile a book that explores the history and politics of human nutrition, draws attention to world food traditions, and demonstrates the vital connection between natural, "live culture" foods and good human health. Wild Fermentation deserves a rightful place in any personal, professional, or academic Food & Nutrition reference collection -- and should be read by every dedicated kitchen cook in America!...more info
Excellent Sourcebook I am really pleased with this book. It covers the culture of live culture, and guides you step by step into becoming a fermentation fan. It is packed with recipes for vegetable, bean dairy, bread and grain ferments (wine, beer and vinegar too!) My only annoyance was the frequent reference by the author to being queer, living in a queer community, and building "our house together at the end of Sex Change Ridge, about a quarte-mile through the woods from "downtown" Short Mountain". I'm very happy for you - but exactly what does this have to do with fermentation? Despite this, the book is such a good resource I still give it 5 stars....more info
Well written but some recipes aren't good Right now I can only review 3 recipes from this book. The first one is for the basic saurkraut. Before I purchased this book I had made multiple batches of sauerkraut using various recipes on the net. Some I made in a fermenting crock and a few others in the Perfect Pickler (a neat device that allows you to make pickles and kraut in 4 days). After using Sandor's kraut recipe I found out that the kraut I had previously produced was of excellent quality. In other words I discovered quickly that most recipes you can find in this book you can easily locate without cost on the internet.
The second recipe I tried was the Onion Rye Sourdough bread. I followed the directions specifically but the taste and texture of this bread makes me wonder why I wasted all that good rye flour. Geez, Sandor, you couldn't have given us a recipe for Rye Bread that tasted good or at least a caveat emptor? - "Don't make this Rye Bread if you really enjoy store bought rye bread" or "If you can actually eat this I'll be laughing my *** off all the way to the bank." Seriously this author could have given us 1 good recipe for sourdough rye. Geez Sandor lighten up and use a little white flour in your rye bread to make it palatable.
The third recipe I tried was for the ginger beer. The "ginger bug" molded over before it bubbled. I threw it out.
I guess it was the pathetic rye bread that motivated me to give this review 1 star and perhaps this review is slanted. But usually a cook follows a recipe with some trust that the writer of a cookbook values the aesthetic taste of good food and that the finished product will be delicious. Anyone who has given this book a high rating - just do me one favor. Make the Onion Rye bread and see if you don't end up using it for a door stop.
great book I really enjoy and admire the author's style and tone as well as the useful information in this book.
Katz includes personal and historical background about many different fermentation processes and does a terrific job of encouraging readers to experiment and use their good judgment in adapting recipes to local circumstances. Where they overlap, the book's information accurately matches my experience and it has a useful index and sources for cultures, equipment and more.
The author obviously has much experience with fermented foods as well as great enthusiasm for them....more info
Release Your Inner Brewer I have been brewing beers for several years from kits to all natural raw ingredients. I have also made many of my own products like sauerkraut, horseradish sauce, wine, mead and vinegar. This book has given me a new leash on my creative life. Wild Fermentation is like the first book I ever read about brewing, The Joy of Brewing. It takes the laboratory mentality out of the process and encourages the fun and creativity. It also focuses one on the benefits of fermentation. You will be inspired to just start doing the stuff and enjoying the experience. Today I read less and do more because of this book, which I now carry around my kitchen all dog-eared and stained with the latest Kombucha or wildly fermented crock stains. This book is great. The benefits are endless!...more info
WOW What fantastic recipes One of the best books ever on fermentation. Just love the recipes. Our whole family enjoys bringing the old recipes back to life. This book will find a special place on any bookshelf....more info
Wild Fermentation This book exceeded my expectations. I'm experimenting with my 2nd crock of sauerkraut and the 1st was successful (and suprisingly tasty). The author is very zealous in his appreciation for live-culture foods, and brings that excitement into your own kitchen. I'm looking forward to pickling in the summer, and trying other foods I did not think I could make at home. ...more info
wonderful information! Lots of great recipes and practical advice for making fermented foods work in your kitchen.
Any mentions to his orientation and living situation are made in passing and do not make much difference to the book. If he had thanked his wife and kids instead, nobody would have noticed....more info
Amazing! I received this book as a Christmas present, and plowed through it in a day. I like the format of the book, and that the author shares with us more of his life and other interests. I've been thoroughly inspired to make fermented food for my health, culture, and history. ...more info
Best Cookbook Ever! I love this book so much. It's well written, with clear, concise, unintimidating instructions for so many kinds of ferments. The start of each chapter is a bit of history and commentary, and it's as much fun to read the non-recipe parts as it is to look at the recipes and make plans to incorporate fermented foods in your diet.
For me, the most inspiring instructions were for the ginger ale, the sourdough starter, and the vinegar. I love the idea of making my own vinegars from scratch for on salads, and I love baking bread, the idea of doing it with my own wild yeast starter is really exciting.
I love his introduction chapters, and his philosophy about fermenting. I've recommended this book both to people I know who are really interested in politics and sociology and people who are interested in cooking. It's fun to read, I can't think of any other "cook book" I've sat and read cover to cover for fun....more info
How easy to be healthy Tons of info and easy to follow instructions. We have had amazing results with what we've tried. Highly recommend....more info
A Much Needed Review of Fermentation This is an essential book for anyone interested in the manifold uses of fermentation in their food. Cheese is just the start. There's a lot of healthful information, but there's also just an awful lot of good-tasting food in this book and I hope he follows it up with a sequel SOON! Katz's writing style and historical understanding of fermentation and his devotion to teaching the methods are admirable. I highly recommend this book for any foodie, locavore, or home cook looking to try something new....more info
I love this book I ran across this book while looking for a recipe for kimchi -- a Korean buddy had failed to bring me his family recipe so I had to resort to white-man's version. It's true that this is not your standard cookbook with a recipe per page and nothing else -- there's lots of 'else'. Often I find cookbook philosophy is padding, but in this case I found it riveting. As soon as I read the debunking of antibacterial soap I knew this book was for me. I'm now on my umpteenth batch of kimchi, which my Korean buddy rates as reminiscent of the (simple) country style. I'll take that as praise. And I have ventured into many other fermented foods introduced to my by this book. So this book has done all I want from a cookbook by opening up new vistas in delicious food and putting new ventures into my day, not to mention being healthy for me and mine....more info
Fermented Author... I purchased this book in conjunction with Nourishing Traditions and at the recommendation of Amazon.com. Last time I do that. The author sees nothing wrong with promoting his "way left into oncoming traffic" unhealthy, unappetizing, and uninteresting, alternative (being nice here) lifestyle.
I would HIGHLY recommend that you NOT purchase this book, but if you were duped into buying this product, use it to start your wood cook stove. ...more info
Great book for lazy cooks This is one of the best books I have ever purchased. It has changed the way our family eats and drinks. We have been trying to eat locally for years, but get discouraged by all the energy needed to preserve foods by canning them and freezing them. This book teaches you the basics to preserve tasty foods without fear of death beacause you unwittingly deviated from a recipe. Sandor Katz presents information in a way that empowers you to think about what you are eating, and prepare it how you like it. If you haven't eaten fermented foods, you should. There is a depth of flavor that is not replicated in any other way.
I am pleased to have this book in my arsenal of cooking inspirations. Buy it. Borrow it. Give it as a gift. Ferment everything....more info
Delicious! I love this book! We've already successfully made yogurt with the info gleaned from this book, and are now trying to get our hands on some kombucha mother ...
The book is easily readable and PACKED with useful and interesting data.
Sandor Ellix Katz is the king of cultures! The master of molds! Very excellent book ... get it!...more info
Wonderful information but cloaked in uncomfortable draping... This book really is wonderful in its coverage of fermentation recipes. My kitchen is brimming with them at the moment. I have millet porridge, saurkraut, kimchi, sour dough starter, kefir, and yogurt all going right now. If you want to find recipes that are simple and inexpensive then this is a great book. If you are at all uncomfortable about alternative lifestyles, however, you may not be able to stomach this book. I accidentally bought two and was going to give the extra to my mother in law, but I knew she wouldn't probably appreciate it. I ended up returning the extra copy. The author has AIDS and lives in a queer commune where they call themselves faeries and does go into some depth about his lifestyle. If you are ok with this then it would be a great book for you....more info
Changed the way I look at food preservation I LOVE this book. I've made vinegar pickles in the usual way, but lactic fermantation made me nervous (Really? No vinegar? Won't it spoil?). Sandor's explanation of the whys and history of lactic fermentation really opened my eyes- and, even putting all the myriad health benefits aside, lactic fermentation is SO much tastier than vinegar pickling.
This book is a great compliment to my favorite pickling recipe book, "The Joy of Pickling" by Linda Zeidrich. Sandor's book is not exactly a recipe book. If you happen to knit, I'd say that Sandor is the Elizabeth Zimmermann of fermenting- like her, he believes that improvisation is the very heart of being human. If you're uncomfortable improvising, lots of traditional pickling recipes can be made via lactic- simply omit the vinegar. So far, both my improvisational and recipe'd results have been extrordinary.
There are a lot of complaints in the reviews that Sandor inserts too much politics into this book. Deal with it- food IS political. If you're a christianist wing-nut, you'll no doubt hate this book. But if you're a proud liberal or a thoughtful moderate, you'll probably cheer like I did-- go Sandor go! I really look forward to reading his other books....more info
The Health Superstar This is a wonderful book for anyone who is interested in building their health to a high level. Sandor Katz writes in a fun, insightful way, to bring the history and health giving properties to this subject, and all the ways to produce fermented foods. As a person who does ferment a few foods, I am now inspired to expand my ferments. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is curious about the health benefits of fermented foods....more info
Fantastic resource and interesting read The purpose of this book is not really to be a cookbook. There are recipes given, but they're only half (or less) of the thrust of the work. Katz tries to impart to the reader a visceral feel for how fermentation works and his philosophy of food and nature; to do this, he illustrates the book liberally with examples from his own life. Katz encourages the reader to experiment and create new and exciting dishes.
One doesn't have to live on a communal farm or practice an "alternative lifestyle" to enjoy and learn from this book -- an interest in food preparation and an open mind are all that are required to start enjoying delicious homemade ferments.
Aside from the practical information (the reason I bought the book) it's enjoyable to read on its own. Katz' style is gentle and unassuming, if slightly rambling. All in all, this is a fantastic introduction to the world of fermentation....more info
Fascinating revelation about fermented food It's amazing how much is going on in the air around us and how we can learn to benefit by using what He has provided to nourish our bodies. And it's fun too! Enjoy!...more info
WILD fermentation not sterilized This book is required reading for any and all who are on the verge of crossing the paper thin bounderies of fear that our sanitized, white bread culture has shocked us all into believing is right and true. I have read a few of the other comments that people have left and I wonder if they were speaking more of their own lives and not of the life that this book will possibly help you realize. It is only after reading this book that I would have considered it safe or even possible to let flour and water sit on a countertop in a jar for days and then use the bubbling results to create a sour dough bread. This was the life and common knowledge of our grandparents and their parents. This essential knowledge helped EVERYONE before our time servive harsh winters and barren drought summers. It is a shame that refrigeration and antibiotics have sterilized not just our food, but our minds. This book and people like Sandor are either the last hope or the last of a forgotten way of life.
Damon ...more info
A little disappointing... As soon as you open this, you get problems. First of all, the man who wrote this book is a vegan, and does not include any fermentation on meat. Good luck living in the wild without a concentrated source of energy and nutrients. We run yet again into problems where much of the fermentation isn't even wild, in particular for dairy. I understand dairy isn't usually available in the wild, but the book is about wild fermentation, right? If you want to learn about fermentation of dairy or grains, you can find all the info you need for free searching on google. Soak, sprout and ferment...If you want to ferment meat, you're going to have to find another source anyways.
The attempt at appearing philosophical at the start of the book was purtty unimpressive.
Other than all of the other problems, there is a wide variety of fermentation of products, and it will suit you well if you're a vegan/vegetarian....more info
Wonderful book, could use a little clarity in places This is an outstanding book! Sandor Katz has a tremendous passion for fermented foods and it shows in his writing. "Wild" in the title refers to micro-organisms that are in the air, so this book is mostly about fermenting foods you don't need to buy yeast or other starters for. Fermenting with what's in the air appeals to me.
Katz includes a nice variety of recipes for vegetable, bean, dairy, bread, porridges, beverages, and vinegars. Notably absent are recipes for fermenting meat products.
I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5 because, while I love the book, in places I found myself scratching my head trying to figure out what he was saying....more info
Cross cultural fermentation methods with a side of Activism Sandor Ellix Katz has constructed a beautiful, concise, and well researched book on pre-industrial fermentation methods around the world. The book is written with an erudition and a playfullness that betray a great passion for reconnecting with ecosystems and people through ancient traditions. If you are interested in making cheese but are tired of having to buy supplies you don't necessarily need, you'll find out how to make cheese with just milk and vinegar in this book. If you wondered how the ancients used to make beer without all our supplies, you'll find out how in this book. But not only will you find out practical home scale methods for creating these beautiful fermented foods, but you will also discover the beautiful biodiverse world of microbiology.
We tend to think that only the meso or macro scales have been homogenized, but Sandor destroys this idea by showing us how even the micro-scale has been homogenized. Our fermented foods and drinks are produced with very few mass produced species that are uniform in taste and are thus quite boring. Sandor is a master at making you a sensual child again, wanting to taste all the possibilities of WILD yeast strains that are locally specific and thus are always different and "original." That sustainability is and must be a local phenomenon reaches a new dimension when you realize it in the process of fermenting foods.
Sandor must be complemented on his incredible ability to write a (are you ready?): funny, practical, scientifically-informed, anthropologically-aware, politically-conscious, ecologically-minded, and community-based book. His own life is a testament to the beauty of the book and vica versa. One day, I hope to meet him and visit his intentional community.
The only problem I have with this book is that it takes pathology too lightly. It is curious that Sandor has never gotten a disease from any of his experiments. Either he really knows what he's doing, or he's very lucky. While it is very obvious when your Kombucha culture has been infested with mold, if you make Kombucha tea and get a stomach ache, it will be very hard to tell why. Since it could be due to so many things, just do these experiments while doing research on your own. Don't let fear prevent you from experimenting though, just do your research!
Additional reading recommendations are:
The Permaculture Book of Ferment & Human Nutrition - by Bill Mollison
Handbook of Indigenous Fermented Foods - by Keith Steinkraus...more info
This book has everything! This is bar none the greatest book on fermenting things, ever. No where else will you find a reference to someone making kombucha out of Mountain Dew. Enough said......more info
Kim Chi Heaven I love this book and already have Kim Chi brewing in the cupboard. I was looking for a book that would help me combine an interesting array of veggies in fermented form and Sandor Elix Katz' book was the perfect compliment to my Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig....more info