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220 × 142 × 20 mm
224 pages
76 illustrations
15 Mar 2021

Fermented Foods The History and Science of a Microbiological Wonder Christine Baumgarthuber

For thousands of years fermented foods – bread, wine, beer, pickles, sausage, cheese – have nourished humanity through dearth and famine, the founding of ancient kingdoms and the building of industrial cities. Fermentation, and its preserving effects, gave humans food security. Tiny microorganisms – bacteria, yeasts and mould – do the magic of turning cabbage into kimchi and grapes into wine. Yet fear of contaminants in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries led modern people away from home fermenting and towards mass-produced food.

From the scientific drive to brew better beer to the cured meats of Iceland and the piquant, sometimes deadly ferments of Southeast Asia, this fascinating and often whimsical history is a celebration of the world’s favourite fermented foods.

‘Main streets and farmers’ markets show off sourdough bakers, craft brewers, small winemakers, cheesewrights, soy sauce makers, and more. Such artisans reclaim fermented foods, which modern industry appropriated, compromised, and made mysterious. Now Christine Baumgarthuber fascinatingly renews our acquaintance with the long list of ancient microbiological wonders achievable domestically.’ — Michael Symons, author of 'Meals Matter: A Radical Economics Through Gastronomy'

‘How did the very foods that nourished and sustained humans for thousands of generations become increasingly feared and almost forgotten? Christine Baumgarthuber shines a light on the nascent scientific understanding of microbiology and germ theory as it collided with the underpinnings of the early industrialization of our food system.’ — Kirsten K. Shockey, co-author of 'Fermented Vegetables' and 'Miso, Tempeh, Natto and Other Tasty Ferments'

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Christine Baumgarthuber is creator of The Austerity Kitchen, a one-of-a-kind culinary history blog hosted by The New Inquiry, where she also serves as a contributing editor. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.