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Fermentation as Metaphor

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Fermentation as Metaphor

2020 Chelsea Green


For the thoughtful foodie who appreciates that beauty isn't always visible to the naked eye—an illustrated meditation on the macroscopic resonance of microbial processes

Fermentation as Metaphor defies easy categorization. The book showcases mesmerizing, colorful images of otherworldly beings from an unseen universe—microscopy images of fermented foods and beverages that have been color-manipulated—that exalt microbial life from the level of “germs” to that of high art.

Alongside these images runs a series of provocative contemplations about the nature of ourselves, our fellow beings, and the interactions among us all. Author Sandor Katz explores connections between the literal phenomenon of fermentation and the ways that it is used as metaphor, drawing intriguing parallels between microbial communities and aspects of our human culture: politics, religion, social and cultural movements, art, music, sexuality, identity, and even our individual thoughts and feelings.

In his work as a fermentation revivalist, Katz constantly fields questions related to the concepts of purity and contamination. In Fermentation as Metaphor he explores these concepts, revealing that the first is an unattainable, and even undesirable goal; while the latter is inevitable. Katz informs his arguments with his vast knowledge of fermentation, which he describes as a slow, gentle, steady, yet unstoppable force for change.

Perfect for foodies and fans of fermentation and of Katz’s previous bestsellers (Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation), this book will also appeal to science geeks and anyone dazzled by glimpses into the microscopic realm.

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