Donna Minkowitz is a friend, colleague, activist and food critic. She is giving a class in New York City.  The five words that are the title of this post are the words under her blog. Yes. We’ll take that dish. You should take this class. Along with some other notables she will be reading tonight June 11, 2017 at KGB Bar and Lit Mag at 85 East 4th St. New York, NY 10003 (see below about this Zhencool production)

The real down low on the food scene in NYC. Well, maybe our national obsession with how we intimately relate to food and specific foods and other people’s food. These words from the above piece:

“It’s an odd time for eating out in New York. The places most likely to be reviewed by critics are restaurants where entrées cost $30 and tasting menus cost $100 and more. They are tiny food-temples and shiny mega-boîtes where most of us can’t go even if, by normal US standards, we are “upper income” — little palaces where, we, reader, certainly can’t eat if we are what the government calls either low income or middle-class. (Note that $55,575 is the median household income in the United States; median household income in the city is $67,201.) Reading the reviews has become an exercise in tantalized frustration: breathing in paragon writer Pete Wells’ description, in the New York Times, of the grated frozen foie gras appetizer at Momofuko Ko, you could be forgiven for feeling like the orphan cousin not invited to the party. “A cook behind the counter would rub a frozen cured brick of it across a Microplane held above a bowl with pine nut brittle, riesling jelly and lobes of lychee, showering them with falling pink flakes of airborne pleasure.” (The liver is part of the $195 tasting menu for lunch or dinner, the only way that you can eat at Ko.) The other spots in critics’ reviews – restaurants like Cosme and Blue Hill and even Contra and The Spotted Pig — are not for us, either, unless we’re in the top 5%, or interested in acquiring a load of debt that will cripple us.”

And it’s a restaurant review! For an eating establishment in New York City that recognizes that people with mobility and swallowing and metabolic issues need to eat as well : “Mekelburg’s, 293 Grand Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-399-2337, Monday through Thursday, 8 AM-2 AM, Friday 8 AM-4 AM, Saturday 10 AM-4 AM, Sunday 10 AM-2 AM. Most fruits and vegetables served are pesticide-free; all house meats are hormone and antibiotic-free and pasture-raised. The extraordinary cheeses and creams served come from Lioni Latticini. Wheelchair access: the grocery and restaurant are down one flight of stairs, and an automated wheelchair lift is available, though it must be operated by a Mekelburg’s staff member. The scrupulously clean bathroom is accessible and has a lovely chalkboard covering the walls, multicolored chalk provided. On recent visits, there was lesbian love graffiti, anti-rape chants, and Black Lives Matter annotations on the walls. This was originally published in Gay City News, New York’s LGBT paper, on September 29, 2016.” 

According to Donna :

I work with writers on their books of memoir and literary nonfiction and, on occasion, on their book proposals. In addition to my experience writing and teaching memoir, I have a deep background in English literature, including a BA in Literature from Yale University and an Andrew D. White Fellowship in Comparative Literature from Cornell University. For many years, I have also been a book critic for venues ranging from the New York Times Book Review to The Nation, Salon, Kirkus, and the Village Voice


Foraging for mushrooms in the wilds of Cleveland..
Jeremy and daughter foraging find a mushroom (photo from kickstarter link)

And if you happen to live in Cleveland or want to help a really smart and lovely family open a very cool Eastern European Deli and Bakery send them some bucks here Larder  that’s just in case. We’ve done a lot of consulting for hoped to be food services like restaurants, caterers, pop-up restaurants as well as done a lot of training and remedial work with chefs and staff when their business was just not working. The reason why this one will be successful is because three smart, talented and energetic people with a vision are involved. It’s based on a familiar precedent of a Deli and Bakery. This should allow them to introduce ideas and dishes that people will connect with and come back for frequently. 

And after taking Donna’s class – read this Growing up Golem excerpt and you will not only have to read the entire book but see why you should get into her class – you’ll be able to write about Larder with clarity and passion. Or if you live too far away you could just watch an internet presentation by Jeremy when you donate about our favorite addiction which as you can see in our description below is our logo.

Celebrate pride month at the gay table with “Queering Food: Taste the Rainbow” readings at KGB Bar and Lit Magazine.

Featured writers: Anna Dunn, editor-in-chief of Diner Journal, Daniel Isengart from The Joy of Gay Cooking, and Donna Minkowitz, restaurant critic for Gay City News.

Anna Dunn has been the Editor-In-Chief of Diner Journal for over a decade, and a bartender at Diner, Achilles Heel, and Roman’s for almost as long. She is co-author of Saltie: A Cookbook and Dinner at the Long Table.

Daniel Isengart is a German-born cabaret entertainer, writer and self-employed private chef. His controversial essays on The Joy of Gay Cooking were published on in 2015. Isengart is a contributing writer to Jarry, the first explicitly gay food magazine.


culturesgroup offers food preparation, preservation and fermentation education and information. We share and collaborate with individuals, other educators, and businesses through e-books and internet meetings, printed materials, videos, photos, and presentations on:

• the preservation and demonstration of food cultures and techniques

• wild yeasts, koji, grains and SCOBYs to create sake, beer and beverages

• fermentation and food history, culture and semiotics

• the use of aspergillum and lactobacillus throughout the world to create:

Miso • Sake • Mirin • Tseukemono • Koji • Tamari • Shoyu • Legumes • Cheese • Cultures • Fish Sauce • Amazake • Milk Kefir • Wild Yeasts • Food History • Kimchee •  Whole Grains • Sourdough


Twitter: @culturesgroup


Instagram: @culturesgroup

HRN Radio:

Here is a recent interview with Chef Ken with brief bio:…/episode-204-ken-fornataro/

For the last 40 years Ken Fornataro has been fermenting and preserving grains, legumes and other proteins with A. oryzae.  Ken was appointed Executive Director of The Hermitage in Boston at 19 years old, and left both Brown University and Northeastern University. He found himself ducking out the back door to Erewhon, where he befriended Aveline and Michio Kushi, Bill Shurtleff and other macrobiotic practitioners and Japanese chefs, who taught him traditional Japanese fermentation — including koji, amasake, miso, shio-koji, shoyu, sake, shoyu-koji and many kinds of tseukemono.

Since then, Ken has continued his study of microbiology, food, 五大明王,  and transformative processes including fermentation. He has served as Executive Chef, Sous-Chef and Garde Manger of numerous restaurants, and has engaged in other business development — including founding and directing a non-profit organization, which made a significant contribution to developing a cure for HCV and treatment advances for HIV/AIDS.  Ken is the author of 32 publications on science and research primarily through the New York State Department of Health and The Kaiser Family Foundation. He is working on a book series related to food, fermentation, and aspergillus in conjunction with his role as founder, Executive Chef and CEO of, an educational venture dedicated to traditions in food preparation, preservation and fermentation.

#ChefKenFornataro, #miso, #microbiology , #学生, #漬物, #麹 #dysphagia, #魚, #酵母, #酒

What a long strange trip it’s been.

IMG_2198The first interview ever with Chef Ken Fornataro on Brooklyn Heritage Radio. The last 50 years of his life including stories about everything from making beef sake to wild, Russian ferments, fish miso, sourdough bread and baking to hishio, jiangs, tamari, five element Chinese philosophy and the transformative processes of life, the ActUp years, microbiology, Erewhon, Aveline and Michio Kushi, the soyinfocenter created by William Shurtleff and colleagues and culturesgroup. Three books in process – and why they are important.IMG_5165


Tseukemono • Nukazuke • Miso • Sake • Tempeh • Mirin • Koji 麹 • Fermentation • Culture • Tamari • Preservation • Soybeans • Cheese • Cultures • Fish • Amazake • Wood • Milk Kefir • Raw Milk • Microbiology • Microbiome • Wild Yeasts • Consultation • Natto • Food History • Kimchee • Recipe Testing • Whole Grains • Sourdough

culturesgroup’s mission is to educate, support, preserve, research and share culture through traditional food preparation, gathering, farming and fishing, preservation and fermentation, and how individuals and societies survive, communicate, celebrate, address illness and health, and enhance their lives through food and water.

• To educate, share and collaborate with individuals, educators, businesses and students through e-books, printed materials, videos, photos, presentations and conferences

• Microbiology (especially Aspergillum) and lactobacillus – To create resources and training opportunities in the use of aspergillum cultures and lactobacillus through food microbiology, safety and history

• To document, celebrate, and market regional and ethnic cultures, foods and practices

• Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Indian fermentation research and education (including the study of Kanji)

• Probiotics, Dysbiosis, Dysphagia – To assist and support individuals of any age to deal with symbiosis, dysphagia and PEG and Tube feeding with enhanced taste, nutritional value, and provide a solid scientific output of reliable information on pre and probiotics.

We actively solicit donors, patrons and sponsors, and collaborations with other groups, organizations, institutions, artisans, small businesses and corporations for one or more of our programs. Our extensive network of consultants, educators, presenters, writers and communicators donate their services (pro bono), but are encouraged to present and promote whatever they are working on including their products or services.

Donations are accepted but not tax deductible at this point.

If you would like to be interviewed about your work, or have a product you want us to review or know contact us. Because our goal is to assist and support the members that work in our field, our policy is not to publish or communicate negative feedback publicly.
Twitter: @culturesgroup
Instagram @culturesgroup

What’s in your gut microbiome and heart disease in HIV

Do gut flora play key role in cardiovascular disease with HIV?

CROI 2015, February 23-26, 2015, Seattle, Washington

Mark Mascolini

Levels of trimethylamine (TMA), a pivotal player in choline metabolism via gut microbiota, were linked to presence of calcified plaque and total coronary plaque burden in a comparison of people with and without HIV infection [1]. The findings by Steven Grinspoon’s Massachusetts General Hospital team and colleagues at other institutions suggested to them a potential association of gut-based choline metabolism to subclinical atherosclerosis in HIV-positive people.

Suman Srinivasa and coworkers spelled out the rationale for their 222-person study this way: (1) Ongoing inflammation in people with HIV may heighten the risk of atherosclerotic plaque, but no one has pinned down the precise mechanism. (2) Research links HIV to changes in the gut microbiome, and altered gut flora may elevate markers of inflammation and immune activation even in people with well-controlled HIV. (3) Trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) may play a part in cardiovascular disease by altering cholesterol metabolism and other mechanisms. (4) Elevated TMAO is linked to increased risk of cardiovascular events in HIV-negative people. (5) Metabolism of choline to TMAO from TMA depends on gut microbiota. (TMA accounts for the bad smell of rotting fish, halitosis, and some infections [2].)

With that pathogenic scaffold in place, the investigators set out to compare serum phosphatidylcholine metabolites in HIV-positive and HIV-negative people in relation to subclinical atherosclerotic disease. They hypothesized that people with HIV “would demonstrate unfavorable coronary plaque characteristics in association with increased TMAO” compared with HIV-negative people.

The analysis included 18- to 60-year-olds with and without HIV. They excluded people with known cardiac disease or symptoms, or signals of kidney impairment. The 155 HIV-positive people had taken antiretroviral therapy for more than 3 months. Along with 67 HIV-negative controls, they underwent 64-slice coronary CT angiography (CCTA). They also had metabolic assessment of inflammatory markers, dietary assessment of choline and betaine [3], and measurement of serum choline, betaine, L-carnitine, TMA, and TMAO.

Age averaged 47 in the HIV group and 46 in the HIV-negative group; 53% and 49% were Caucasian, and 61% and 58% were men. The HIV group had a significantly higher proportion of people coinfected with HCV (27% versus 9%, P = 0.002), had significantly higher alanine aminotransferase (35 versus 24 U/dL, P = 0.0001), higher triglycerides (97 versus 83 mg/dL, P = 0.001), and higher lipopolysaccharide, an inflammation marker (0.09 versus 0.07 ng/mL, P = 0.003). Similar proportions of people with and without HIV smoked (44% and 42%). Dietary intake of choline and betaine and levels of metabolites measured were similar in the HIV group and the control group.

People with HIV had been infected for an average 14 years, 99% ever took antiretroviral therapy, and treatment duration averaged 8 years. Current CD4 count averaged 552, current viral load 1.8 log (about 65 copies), and 86% had a viral load below 50 copies.

CCTA detected coronary plaque in 53% of the HIV group and 35% of the HIV-negative group, a significant difference (P = 0.01). People with HIV also had a significantly higher number of arterial segments affected by plaque (about 1.8 versus 1.2, P = 0.03) and a higher number of segments affected by rupture-prone noncalcified plaque (about 1.0 versus 0.5, P = 0.003). The groups did not differ significantly in number of segments affected by less dangerous calcified plaque.

Serum TMA, but not TMAO or choline, was positively and significantly associated with coronary plaque features in people with HIV. Specifically, serum TMA correlated significantly with total plaque segments, calcified plaque segments, calcium score, calcium volume of plaque, and calcium mass of plaque. TMA, but not TMAO or choline, was also significantly and positively associated with lipopolysaccharide in people with HIV (r = 0.19, P = 0.03). These correlations were not seen in HIV-negative controls. Serum TMAO and choline did not correlate with coronary plaque features in the HIV-negative group.

Multivariate analysis determined that TMA was independently associated with several measures of calcified plaque burden in people with HIV: calcium score, total plaque segments, calcified plaque segments, calcium volume of plaque, and calcium mass of plaque.

The Massachusetts General team concluded that serum TMA, but not TMAO, “is associated with the presence of calcified and total coronary plaque burden in HIV-infected patients.” They noted that the association of TMA with calcified plaque indices was largely independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors in multivariate analysis.

The researchers suggested further study should address three questions: (1) “Is TMA itself pathogenic or simply a marker of altered microbiome in the HIV population?” (2) Why are TMA but not TMAO levels associated with plaque burden?” (3) “What is the significance of this association with calcified versus noncalcified plaque?”

Srinivasa and coworkers proposed that their findings suggest “a potential association of choline metabolism to subclinical atherosclerosis” in people with HIV, as assessed by CCTA. They suggested that this association may reflect altered gut flora or microbial translocation unique to HIV populations. If true, that could partly explain the higher cardiovascular disease risk with HIV infection.

1. Srinivasa S, Fitch KV, Lo J, et al. Calcified plaque burden is associated with serum gut microbiota-generated TMA in HIV. CROI 2015. February 23-26, 2015. Seattle, Washington. Abstract 138.
2. ChEBI. CHEBI:18139–trimethylamine.
3. Craig SAS. Betaine in human nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014;80:539-549.

Many thanks to Jules Levin, the founder and director of, and to Mark Masculine for writing this.

Fermentation on wheels gave a presentation yesterday to a packed house yesterday in New York City. Today, Tara – that girl with the cat that drives the fermentation bus throughout the country empowering people to take control of the food they eat and where it comes from – is giving another presentation tonight February 8, 2015 in Brooklyn New York. (see for details). Check Tara’s website to see where she is next scheduled to be. Here the recent article in the New York Times Fermentation on Wheels Bus

Before getting into the specifics of all the different kinds of cultures she brought for participants to take home and try she laid out her philosophy. It’s yet another reason why we support her. TheKabochaFactory special ferments.

“I drive a mobile creative project, also known as an old converted old bus, equipped with a fermentation lab and workshop space. It’s my tool to inspire people to live more simply and sustainably, as well as encourage people to prepare their own food: a strong point being to get back in the kitchen and better nourish ourselves. When we do we bring more richness to our lives. It helps build community, health & wonder.

Thriving communities realize the interconnectedness of food, health, and education. If we don’t have access to good food and the education to prepare it then how will we have the energy and mental capacity to discover new alternative energy systems or think up the next Google. Our current factory-based food system is a system destined to crash & burn: it destroys our planet, it disregards the sacredness of us as living things, an ecosystem – whether it be plant, animal, or microbe – and it desensitizes us to the amazing array of flavors we can experience.

We will have the materials we need to stay healthy if we join forces with people who are growing & making good food. Not only do these people help individuals, but they are helping the earth in their care of the land. Our planet needs all the help it can get right now and it must start with us.

I’m trying to show people there is a way to refuse the flawed food, health & education systems. There are alternatives ways to live. There are other ways to get and make the foods our bodies crave, to stay robust — and I’m here to educate & support people in that journey.”

Tara spoke about Kombucha, a tea fungus and sugar based fermented beverage that was once a marginal beverage in the United States but which now sells billions of dollars worth of bottles made by so many different companies that wherever you live you can probably by the local brew if you like. You can order SCOBYs (symbiotic colonies of bacteria and yeast) to throw into the tea of your choice along with some type of sugar and preferably a little bit from a previous batch. Get them online from Cultures for Health,Organic Cultures, or even Amazon which sells kombucha SCOBYs from all over the country from an incredibly diverse group of brewers. We recommend either asking a friend for a SCOBY, getting one from a local group such as a meet-up such as New York City Ferments or joining one of many social networking groups where members exchange cultures and often discuss techniques.




Also, if you happened to be in San Francisco for Valentine’s Day you can catch Sandor Ellix Katz or go to his website for some really cool opportunities, including an Advanced Fermentation Residency Program with Sandor Ellix Katz in Liberty,TN. Sandor’s traveling schedule is also posted here.

Part 2 tomorrow!


Oats and Grains: Magic of Koji!

Koji,usually in the form of rice inoculated with a culture, can make an amazing array of things. Here, we’re talking about amazake, a kind of very quick, very lightly fermented sweet drink. If you heat it up gently after it is done turning the carbohydrates of your whole grains into simple sugars while greatly increasing both the digestibility and the availability of the vitamins, minerals, and proteins, you can then either throw it in the fridge or use as a sweetener right away.

Leftover or freshly cooked brown or even white (any kind really) rice can be used here. I like the oat version, especially with fresh or dried cranberries (organic, unsulfured) or raisins, and some coconut. You can just use rice, or oats, or wheat.

Wash 250 grams of steel cut oats very well. Just keep washing them until they run clear water. Then you can rinse off with some water you will cook them in, about 800 gms. Add up to 2 grams cooked brown rice (or whatever kind) and 50 gms cranberries (1/3 cup packed) or raisins or no fruit at all, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup unsweetened, organic dried coconut. Cook very slowly in a dutch oven that has a lid. Skim frequently!

After about fifteen minutes turn off heat, cover and let cool down to 120 degrees. Add 1/4 cup or 45 gms brown rice organic Koji or whatever kind of Kojio you have and mix very well. Cover again and either stick in warm (not at all hot oven just like for yogurt) or wrap in a blanket or towel and let sit for at least 4 hours. Stir once if you like, replacing lid quickly and putting back in warm place. Please make sure your oven is clean and free from burnt on grease smells.

After about 8 hours you can either very gently reheat to a very low temp and eat with some raw honey or regular or strained kefir or cultured butter or maple syrup. Or just eat it as is. Or add chopped fresh fruits and toasted seeds or nuts. This is a salt free version. Instead of the Koji you could add live, unpasteurized mellow white miso (maybe 2 TB at most) or even half the amount of an older miso. If you do that either grate a little fresh ginger in there or chop up a tablespoon of candied organic ginger.

Once chilled, I take two firm, sweet apples (washed well, quartered and cored), a cup of goat or cow kefir (or coconut or grain milk ferments) or even strained yogurt, a cup of ice or frozen yogurt or Kefir or whey cubes, and two TBS raw honey and put in blender until smooth but not too thin and still cold. That’s an easy, great breakfast. If you use one or two bananas forget the honey.

I might also toast a lot of bread and eat with some kraut or kimchi butter or a version of natto miso (see recipe for chick pea, azuki, barley, Kombu, ginger, barley malt, and Koji miso next week). I often also make raisin bread or cookies with this mix, which just keeps improving in flavor in the refrigerator. The amount described here will last you ten days at best. Two days in this place.

“Je suis roi de Gonesse et d’Ay” – Wild Fermentation and French Old Regime Bread Pastry and Sweets

Henry IV de Navarre, “Je suis roi de Gonesse et d”Ay”! In 1711 Louis Liger writing in “Le Ménage des champs” mentioned that the recipes for Pain de Gonesse that depended on either spontaneous leaven or very fresh beer yeast could not be made in Paris as opposed to Gonesse because their quality depended on the local water (i.e the local microbes) in the air, water, soil and most definitely on the grains themselves. (English Bread and Yeast Cookery, by Elizabeth David, “Notes on French Bread”)

Bread, Pastry and Sweets in Old Regime France

Pierre Jean-Baptiste Le Grand d’Aussy Jim Chevallier discusses a great many things that once existed that should be reclaimed. Now. You’d think the French would be all for making sure that living of their spectacular contributions to the world history would continue to exist. This is an exciting book that should challenge them to get on it. From the description

Le Grand d’Aussy traces French bread history from the first Tameliers and Fourniers to the Boulangers whose bread evolved from a simple boule to the pains mollet of the seventeenth century and the long breads which already began to replace round breads in the eighteenth century. Along the way he looks at the different types of bread, typically made from wheat, and also the other grains and even other products which were used to make bread.

He then presents the history of French pastry, which began, essentially, as meat pies and other foods cooked in pastry before evolving into a dizzying array of tarts, wafers, nieules, ratons, cassemuseaux, flans, rissoles, beignets, marzipan and other treats.

This leads naturally enough into the subject of sweets, of various spices and fruits preserved in sugar and honey, sweet pastes, nougat, macaroons and other treats sometimes eaten after dinner and sometimes all through the day.

Along the way, as always, Le Grand draws in a rich variety of older sources, studding his inventories of facts with colorful anecdotes. The result is itself a rich box of tasty treats.

Wild fermentation and wild yeast were most definitely a part of what is described in the above book that I just bought as an e-Book. Ironically, I was reading this book that I added just a small excerpt from Dr. Martin below because they definitely express the cultural arrogance (“diseases” in beer and “infected yeasts”) and condescension unfortunately still pretty much supported by science and the industries that so often manipulate, direct, and oppress science determined to be unimportant to their corporate interests. We can discuss just how many times the results from research studies that don’t put a research sponsor’s product in good light never make it into the public spotlight that is the only place that anyone can ever honestly say their work is real or honest or even ethical, or the fact that a whole lot of what is pronounced as science is creative writing produced by ghosts.

(Google Books – Industrial and Manufacturing Chemistry, G.Martin See Chapter: FERMENTATION INDUSTRIES I.— FERMENTS, ENZYMES, BACTERIA, MOULDS, YEAST, Etc. By G. Martin, Ph.D., M.Sc. with a description ) Other Yeasts. — Saccharomyces pyriformis (Marshall Ward) produces alcoholic fermentation of English ginger beer. Used in conjunction with the ” ginger-beer ” plant, Bacterium vermiforme. Saccharomyces matt, Du Clauxi, Kayser, from cider, ferments invert sugar and produces esters (bouquet). Schizosaccharomyces pomhe, the yeast in pombe (Negro millet beer), ferments dextrose ; used in South American distilleries; Schizosaccharo myces me/tacei, in Jamaica rum.

(b) Wild Yeasts The ” wild ” yeasts occur free in nature ; they are not cultivated systematically like ordinary brewery or distillery yeasts, usually because they possess unpleasant characteristics and, indeed, often set up various ” diseases ” in beer, or affect the fermenting power of infected yeasts. Thus S. pastorian vs I. produces a bitter taste in beer, while S. pastori- anus III. produces cloudiness. They occur as sausage-shaped cells. Saccharomyces ellipsoideus II., Hansen, is a dangerous disease yeast for breweries, causing turbidity.

The ” Kahm ” yeasts (Kahm He/e), e.g., Mycoderma cerevisice and vini, consisting of round or elongated cells, form a skin on the surface of the fermenting liquor. They require oxygen ; and can produce from sugar a small percentage of alcohol, but usually oxidise the alcohol directly to CD2 and water, with the rapid absorption of oxygen. S. cxiguus (from compressed yeast) ferments monosaccharides and cane sugar, but not maltose. S. apicula/us also ferments only monosac charides. Both are useless for the brewery. S. ilicis (bottom yeast) and S. ai/ni/blii, Gronland, produce a bitter and disagreeable taste in worts. S. membranit/aciens, Hansen, found in wines and polluted waters. Generates acids from sugar. Propagates in presence of 12 per cent, alcohol. Destroys the bouquet of wines. Certain Moulds also possess the power of fermenting sugar, e.g., Afttcor racemosus (see under Moulds).”

I got some actual ginger beer plant the other day from the wilds of Utah ( and it’s doing quite well so far but what is “Negro Millet Beer” as mentioned in Dr. Martin’s Book? Go directly to the source: Sandor Ellix Katz’s “The Art of Fermentation”, Chapter 9: Fermenting Beers and Other Grain-Based Alcoholic beverages for a better idea about Wild Yeast Beers and both wild or cultured ferments for breads, beverages and just about anything else. It’s most likely Tonga. Amazing the things you can find in the US today as the movement to reclaim traditional practices of fermentation, farming and existing (Sandor calls us Cultural Revivalists) are in as pitched a battle against homogeneity (dominance of one strain) and the elimination of everything that might get in the way of tax revenues or corporate interests as are the microbes in the Dead Sea. Every type and variation of Curd and Kurd is a treasure that we cannot let be destroyed as quickly (or at all) despite the ongoing destruction local fermentation practices and cultures by warring religions, corporations, and tribes.

“Only the wild strain of fermenting nature,…”

“Is this everything now, the quick delusions of flowers,
And the down colors of the bright summer meadow,
The soft blue spread of heaven, the bees’ song,
Is this everything only a god’s
Groaning dream,
The cry of unconscious powers for deliverance?
The distant line of the mountain,
That beautifully and courageously rests in the blue,
Is this too only a convulsion,
Only the wild strain of fermenting nature,
Only grief, only agony, only meaningless fumbling,
Never resting, never a blessed movement?
No! Leave me alone, you impure dream
Of the world in suffering!
The dance of tiny insects cradles you in an evening radiance,
The bird’s cry cradles you,
A breath of wind cools my forehead
With consolation.
Leave me alone, you unendurably old human grief!
Let it all be pain.
Let it all be suffering, let it be wretched-
But not this one sweet hour in the summer,
And not the fragrance of the red clover,
And not the deep tender pleasure
In my soul.”

Translated by James Wright
Hermann Hesse