I am finally reading this wonderful book, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. Sandor Katz, also known as Sandorkraut, is another Jewish food diva. I am finding so much to love in this book that I want to class him with Claudia Roden, Mollie Katzen, and Lorna Sass. (I need to make a list of links in my sidebar about this.)
On this blog, as I have detailed what I'm cooking for Shabbos, I have been thinking about the meaning of describing the facts of our daily lives. The most crucial things that make up the small universes that are people's lives are very trivial. These really small things are what make everything feel authentic, and they are what we lose when languages die. Sandorkraut has thought these things before I started thinking them! He also lives in multiple overlapping miniature universes: a Jewish man from the Upper West Side of Manhattan who has travelled the world and read widely, a gay man living with AIDS, a health food nut and herbalist, a gourmet taster of exciting flavors, a radical faerie living with other queer people in the woods in Tennesee. By the time I finished the introduction, I was completely in love with him.
I was also excited that even though the book was introduced and endorsed by Sally Fallon, Sandor gives recipes for vegan kefir. (One thing I have found a little weird is the current resurgence in the world of health food of animal protein. Fallon has been a key voice in that. You have to appreciate her dedication to promoting organic farming, but I feel really dubious about her organization's promotion of animal fats and cholesterol. I guess people who love chopped liver who read this blog would want to know more about a group that thinks it's a health food! Sounds like something out of Woody Allen's Sleeper, doesn't it?) Anyway, I love Sandor also for capturing a snapshot of his vegan tranny friend making sunflower seed kefir. Let's link up all of our small worlds like Venn Diagrams until everyone is in the center of several solar systems.
I was moved to finally buy this book when we had a radical faerie over for Shabbat lunch who knows Sandorkraut. Shabbat meals can lead you in exciting directions. I have been fascinated with sourdoughs for ages, and have managed to kill off several starts at my own culture before I got them alive enough to bake. I also adore the sour pickles and sauerkrauts that Sandor does, and want to learn to make them from him. I will let you know if I actually make any of these recipes and how they come out.