Apr 27, 2013

The "IN" Crowd

Sandor Katz
Author of The Art of Fermentation
Dan Felder
Head of Research and Development
at Momofuku's Culinary Lab
Eleanor Sterling
co-curator of Our Global Kitchen
Museum of Natural History
Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Art of
Dan Felder, Eleanor Sterling, Sandor Katz
Everyone has scars from high school.  I was never part of the “in" crowd.  I was known as an outsider, someone who did not participate in organized activities.  I could be counted on for a sarcastic remark on most occasions.
We given snacks throughout the evening:  sourdough bread, stout, Beet Kvass, Lettuce Kvass,
kimchi, aged cheddar from Vermont
My involvement with the  Urban Farm on Randall’s Island has jettisoned me into the world of alternative food issues. Factors surrounding food security, food deserts, integrated medicine, GMO’S, sustainable farming are now all part of my lexicon. It's hard to keep up.  I wondered if becoming an iconic figure in the underground food movement came as a surprise to Sandor Katz.  He is the foremost authority on fermentation, but Katz is also one of the darlings of the just food movement. 

Katz contracted AIDS in 1991, moved to a commune in Tennessee and started experimenting with fermentation.  He has published two books on fermentation and is a celebrity on the alternative food trail.  I know why.  He is engaging, clear and unpretentious.  Although he can rattle off the names of specific bacteria and molds, he prefers to make his point by talking about fermentation like he is having a personal conversation with you.  Katz to make people less afraid of fermenting foods.  He wants people to engage with the world of food and to understand that bacteria and fungi are part of our bodies.  Sandor makes a convincing pitch that the process of fermentation changes with its community, meaning the community of your refrigerator and your location.

When Ktaz was asked by Sterling, “What is your favorite food”?  The answer came without hesitation:  “Sauerkraut.  I practically eat it every day”.  I own The Art of Fermentation.  I bookmarked sauerkraut.  I intend to give it a go next month.  Result to follow.  I doubt sauerkraut can become my favorite food, but it might make it to my list of top 100.  


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