I received Fermented (coined #fermentedthebook on social media) in the mail a few weeks ago, and I was so excited. Excited about a book about fermentation?
Yes! And here's why. Fermenting seems like such a dangerous, mysterious, potentially poisonous or disgusting way of preparing foods. But fermented foods are So. Darned. Nutritious. Everyone knows it, right?
Well, until now, I've been pretty terrified of trying any fermenting at home. This book changed my mind. Not only because of the no-nonsense information provided by Jill Ciciarelli, but also by the design of the book and the photography.
Seriously. Bill Staley's SUPER CLEAN PHOTOGRAPHY makes the book. Makes it. It changes fermentation in my mind from some disgusting, dank, dark, stinky, moldy endeavor into a refined, safe, and clean practice. If, on the other hand, Fermented had been photographed in Aimee Buxton's (currently very en vogue) dark and moody style a la Beyond Bacon (which worked AMAZINGLY for that book, by the way)? It would have perpetuated my prejudice of fermented foods as somehow creepy.
See how clean that cover is? Awesome. The whole book is like that.
So, I've been reading Fermented, not skimming. I'm a pretty slow reader, so I haven't finished it yet. But it's so chock-full of great information, and de-mystefying the whole process of fermentation. I seriously want to get cracking in the kitchen, making vinegar, kombucha, fermented condiments (tzaziki, mustards, and more), and yogurt. Unfortunately, I should probably hold off on that for a while, since we're getting ready for a big cross-country move. But once we're settled, I'm totally finding a SCOBY (and other mothers).
Another cool thing about this book is how it's organized. It has the basic fermenting methods in the front, then individual, season-specific recipes as you read on. This is great if you try to eat seasonally, buying foods at a farmer's market or from a CSA. It'll answer the question of, “What on earth can I do with another 6 bunches of radishes in my CSA basket this week?”
So what are your thoughts about fermented foods? Are you a huge fan? Have you been cautiously curious? Or are you put off by them completely? Does a book like Fermented by Jill Ciciarelli appeal to you?