Culture Maven

I’ve said it before and have no trouble saying it again: I love fermentation. A miracle is what it is, really, and in fact it was mostly regarded as such before science discovered the microbial world. Some of us continue to regard fermentation as a miracle despite the work of Pasteur and his heirs. Sure these ingenious folks may have demystified the brass tacks biological processes behind fermentation, but how to account for the fact that we happen to share our world with countless benevolent microbes — that at once compete with us for food, but which are also edible, and whose action gives us bread, wine, cheese, pickles, cold cuts, beer, miso, pepperoni, sauerkraut and of course yogurt? If there’s a better argument for the existence of a benevolent creator, I’m not aware of it. So you’ll forgive me if I gush a little more than usual this week, since for me working with fermenting cultures is almost, but not quite, a holy act.

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