Photo taken in class, at Vaucluse House Coachhouse 2014 ©RoslynBaker
I adore to teach and at times during a class, it is clear to me that as teachers we have a responsibility to keep listening and that we have an incredible opportunity for learning from those who attend classes. I have been cooking, culturing and teaching for a great many years. I feel I know only a tiny fraction of what there is to know, though I am aware that my extensive experience, trials and errors allow me to make many distinctions the newly initiated could not. The desire to write down those distinctions in the area of fermenting foods has been with me for decades. Sometimes what we wish for alludes us and we must bide our time. When Sandor Ellix Katz first published Wild Fermentation in 2003 I felt hope for the book I wished to pen. It took 11 years and Jane Morrow at Murdoch books to instigate my doing so and now, this month Ferment- A guide to the ancient art of fermentation is published for you and all to see. To read, to hopefully use, for successes that my hard won distinctions might assist? I would love to hear about your experiences and see your products, take a photo and post on instagram or Facebook or email me. Fermenters are in general generous sharers of information and cultures, welcome to the fast growing tribe of revivalists. The time is now as evidenced by overhearing “The Archers” discussing kombucha on the radio while I was in the UK recently, it is in the zeitgeist when the Archers are in the know! For those unfamiliar The Archers is a radio soap that began in 1950 it follows the lives of The Archer family and others in a fictitious rural farming community.Photo of me and Sandor Ellix Katz taken in his workshop 2014 ©J.Martinez
Me and Sandor whilst sampling homemade miso and koji’s, brought to his fabulous workshop by a chef from Momofuku restaurant. I was introducing the idea that there is a tasting ‘spoon’ on the top of our hands, if you raise your thumb food sits nicely in the hollow created and there is then no need to wash up cutlery. Sandor introduced me to the notion that there is no need to have more than two tasting cups for a group of 100 or so folk! I haven’t adopted that but it did highlight how precious we can be these days around hygiene. I was fortunate to be asked by Kristen and Nick from Milkwood, who brought Sandor out for that tour of the East Coast, to make some of the ferments needed for his workshops. Doing so has enriched my offerings in my new book, as I had not previously dabbled in the making of lightly alcoholic drinks. I discovered how much fun it is to watch yeasts move into a brew and how easy they are to produce, for deliciously refreshing results. You will find local honey mead, Scrumpy apple cider and Peach and apricot fruit wines amongst the many other good things within. The process goes like this, get ripe unblemished fruits, steep in water, add a source of sugar, stir and stir and stir until it bursts into effervescent life, contain with an airlock, wait, decant and drink or brew further. Them the basics but for many more distinctions you might like to buy my book!
Sandor Ellix Katz has generously contributed the foreword to my book and he gave me sage advice in relation to its naming. I am incredibly grateful to him for these reasons but more so, for his dedication and continued efforts in learning ever more, sharing his extensive knowledge and enthusing so many to become part of this fermentation revival, which has made my work timely and more desirable. Thank you Sandor x