The Rotten and the Sublime: A Reading List on Fermentation

amen

Longreads

Fermented products occupy a strange spot in contemporary food culture, being at once some of the most enduring staples of our diets — and some of the most faddish. From the fizzy kick of kimchi to avant-garde culinary experimentation in Copenhagen, here are five stories about our fascination with (and, sure, addiction to) deliciously rotten food.

1. “Why Bakers Love Their Mothers.” (Dana Goodyear, Food & Wine, November 2013)

Some of the oldest sourdough starters, dubbed mothers — “the bubbling, breathing slick of wild yeast and Lactobacillus bacteria that feed on flour and water” — date from the 19th century and are passed, like a heirloom, from one generation to the next. In this piece, Goodyear lingers on the moving emotional connections bakers develop with the bacteria in their kitchens.

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