Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 17 members
Publication date: July 5, 2022
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review an advanced reader's copy of this book. This in no way affects my review, all opinions are my own.
From craft beers and sourdough bread to kimchi, coffee, tea, and cheese, fermentation is a popular topic in both food and health circles. In Our Fermented Lives, food historian and fermenting expert Julia Skinner explores the fascinating roots of a wide range of fermented foods in cultures around the world, with a focus on the many intersections fermented foods have with human history and culture, from the evolution of the microbiome to food preservation techniques, distinctive flavour profiles around the globe, and the building of community.
My nephew in Japan LOVES natto ... fermented, stinky soybeans....for breakfast., I guess that it is not too different than miso paste but it smells like ... teenage boy feet. I love sauerkraut and pickles and could see making the pickles easily next summer when the book comes out and the produce is seasonal. and to maybe make some ketchup that is not 99% sugar like Heinz' is!
The stories are wonderfully written and the recipes are understandable by cooks of all levels: the equipment may be a bit out of an outlay but if you keep making the fermented foods they will soon pay for themselves, especially if you are a fan of artisan ferments!
I grew up on fermented foods. My grandmother always had pickles or sauerkraut going and later on my mother added kimchi to her rotation. What’s not to love? Not all fermented foods are going to be love, but most are, at least for me and mine. Pickles and Sauerkraut are just the tip of the iceberg. This book will get you started, or move you forward with fermenting food at home. A fabulous addition to your home cookbook library.
I wonderfully researched book about fermentation and how people Evolved with it And love it. This book explores the common western ones, yeast, yogurt, alcohol, But also very unusual world ones. I loved discovering those, ranging from mead to soups and porridges and finding the recipes all over the book. Most of them are taken from historical sources, as old as ancient Egypt ones and come from all around the globe from Africa to Asia. It is incredibly rich, and best of all they are simple, and the author encourages us to tweak them to our liking with our favourite flavours. I have never dared try fermenting anything in my kitchen, but this book is quite empowering in it’s encouragement to experiment.
The author also talks a lot about their own experience and why this is important to them. It was a nice added touch. I highly recommend it if you are an adventurous eater, or you want to be more self-sufficient.
I feel smarter for having read this book.
The history, philosophy, and practice of fermentation is something I only thought I knew about and loved...then I picked Our Fermented Lives up and realized I had only scratched the surface.
A must have for anyone who enjoys fermenting, sourdough, etc and for any foodie and historian.
I thought this book was so interesting! It does have recipes in it, and they're certainly useable by the look of it, however, I think the strength of this book is more in the way the history of fermentation is told and the attention paid to the diversities and similarities of fermentation practices around the world. The book also takes time to tackle cultural appropriation in food, which is a topic that definitely needs its champions.
Also, the author does her best (and succeeds) at making fermentation seem like something that's approachable for people with any skill or budget. You just need a jar and something heavy and you're already halfway there. Reading this book definitely has inspired me to try out new fermentations.
Fermented foods, and the micro-organisms used to create them, have been a part of human life for thousands of years, and ‘Our Fermented Lives’ gives us a look into not only the many ways they have been essential to different populations, but also how they can still be applicable to us today. The history shows that fermentation wasn’t just a western method of food preservation, but instead a tool for survival used globably. And I appreciate how the blindspots in our knowledge of fermentation’s history were recognized, especially those caused by the biases of those recording and interpreting it.
At the end of each chapter there are recipes for readers to use as a jumping off point on their own fermentation journeys, for everything from sauerkraut to ginger beer to injera. They all have suggestions for ways in which to customize recipes for the reader’s individual taste and use as minimal equipment as possible. I can attest that both the mushroom ketchup and fermented tomato ketchup recipes can garner delicious results, having tried them both in my own kitchen.
This book has something to learn for anyone, whether they have never tried to ferment before or they have been fermenting in their own kitchen for years. I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in food preservation, sustainability, or food history.
I always enjoy reading cookbooks and about the history of food. Our Fermented Lives fits the bill. The interesting stories about food preservation and the included recipes are informative and useful.
Fermented foods are the latest trend in the food world. This book is right on target for today’s audience.