The Fine Art of Funky Food

Last night I just wanted some comfort food. Something easy and warm. So I plopped a pack of ramen into some boiling water with a little salt, pepper, garlic, and toasted sesame oil. A little plain. Next I tossed in half a can of sardines. Better. But still, something was missing. I reached into the fridge and found that secret, spicy, pungent ingredient: kimchi. I removed the pot from the heat element (don’t want to kill those beneficial bacteria) and plopped in a few generous forkfuls of that wonderful stuff.

Bliss.

The kimchi and sardine combo insured I wouldn’t be getting any kisses from my girlfriend that night. But you know what? It was a sacrifice I was willing to make. That’s how much I love kimchi.

And, apparently, I’m not the only fermented foods fanatic out there.

From Good.is:

My kitchen smells like a boy’s locker room. At least that’s what my roommate says. Feet and food just do not mix, so I lug my crock full of fermenting sauerkraut—45 lbs in all—into my bedroom, because it’s too cold on the back porch. After studying the smell for weeks, there are some differences between socks and sauerkraut, but, I’ll admit, it’s a fine line. A small price to pay, though, for a winter’s worth of fresh, crunchy kraut.

It might be time to get used to the smell. Whether it’s extreme brewers introducing wild yeasts to beers, chefs creating kimchi, or home-tinkerers culturing kraut, funk is back. Home brewers and cheese makers are very much in vogue. So are mead makers, kombucha companies, and distillers. New regional start-up pickle and fermented food makers seem to pop up every other week.

But the process of purposefully letting food rot probably began before humans first cultivated crops. “Obviously, all of these foods are ancient. There’s nothing new about any of them,” says Sandor Katz, the author of the seminal, how-to guide Wild Fermentation, and another forthcoming fermentation manual. “But there has been resurging interest in fermentation. There has been an explosion of awareness about health and nutrition. Then, there’s the whole local food movement. Anyone who lives in a temperate climate should think about fermentation if they want to eat local in the winter.”

Fermented foods have also been a classic way to add value to crops: Cabbage, milk, and apples are all more valuable as sauerkraut, cheese, and hard cider. They’re ultra-slow food, generally taking a couple of weeks to months to create. Still, the process is rather simple.

Read the whole article here.

 

Related Articles:

Recent Articles

RECIPE: Summer Cherry Cornmeal Cobbler

It’s that time of year again: Outdoor barbecues are a weekend staple, trips to the beach and pool are becoming more frequent, and cherries are ripe for the picking! In their book, Cooking Close to Home: A Year of Seasonal Recipes, authors Diane Imrie and Richard Jarmusz provide a seasonal guide chock full of recipes…

Read More

No Forbidden Fruit: Life-Changing Applesauce Recipe

In her new book The Fruit Forager’s Companion, author Sara Bir encourages readers to embrace the magic of hunting for foraged fruit—delivering a how-to guide devoted to the secret, sweet bounty just outside our front doors. Bir, a seasoned chef, gardener, and forager, primes readers on foraging basics, demonstrates gathering and preservation techniques, and shares…

Read More

Recipe: Simple, Greek-Style Yogurt

If you’ve got cows, you likely already know the joys of making your own yogurt. It’s easy, delicious, and oh-so-rewarding! If you don’t have cows, we think this recipe will convince you that you need some. The following excerpt is from Keeping a Family Cow by Joann S. Grohman. It has been adapted for the…

Read More

Recipe: Country Elderberry Wine

There’s really nothing better than sitting down after a long day with a glass of wine and the sun setting in the distance. Unless of course you foraged for the berries for said wine, crushed them by hand, added in some sugar, water, and citric acid, bottled it up, and waited six months before you…

Read More

Daylily Dangers and Delights

Got some invasive daylilies taking over your garden? Instead of weeding them out why not eat them instead? A common vegetable in China and Japan, daylilies are more than a pretty flower. In her new book, Forage, Harvest, Feast, forager, and author Marie Viljoen describes their taste as “Green bean meets white asparagus by way…

Read More