Wild Fermentation & Fermentation Workshop with Sandor Ellix Katz (Book & DVD Bundle) Paperback – Sep 30 2010
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From the Author
"I have been fermenting foods and drinks for a decade. It started with sauerkraut. I found an old crock buried in our barn, harvested cabbage from our garden, chopped it up, salted it, and waited. That first kraut tasted so alive and powerfully nutritious! Its sharp flavor sent my salivary glands into a frenzy and got me hooked on fermentation. I have made sauerkraut ever since, earning the nickname Sandorkraut, even as my repertoire has expanded. I have explored and experimented widely in the realm of fermentation, and I want to share what I have learned."--Sandor Ellix Katz
About the Author
Sandor Ellix Katz is a fermentation revivalist. His books Wild Fermentation (2003) and The Art of Fermentation (2012), along with the hundreds of fermentation workshops he has taught across North America and beyond, have helped to catalyze a broad revival of the fermentation arts. A self-taught experimentalist who lives in rural Tennessee, The New York Times calls him “one of the unlikely rock stars of the American food scene.” The Art of Fermentation received a James Beard award, and, in 2014, Sandor was honored with the Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Foodways Alliance. Sandor teaches fermentation workshops in Tennessee and many other places. For more information, check out his website www.wildfermentation.com.
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I decided to purchase the DVD bundle version of this product in the hopes that the DVD would provide me with a trustworthy video of easy to follow steps for making sauerkraut, kim chi, and etc, as fermentation feels to me like one of those things that's extremely easy to do correctly, but also extremely easy to do incorrectly (too much salt, not enough water, improper weight, improper vessel, etc). Unfortunately, the DVD does not provide this information. Rather, the DVD is simply a recording of a lecture Sandor Katz gave to a small group of adults lasting for about an hour and a half. Of this time, I'd estimate that about 80 minutes of talking was dedicated to stories about the origins of fermentation, and Katz's own thoughts on why fermentation is vitally essential to human health. The remaining 10 minutes were dedicated to actually explaining how to ferment vegetables.
This 10 minutes of instruction was not linear, meaning that he'd provide 2 minutes of instruction, then 25 minutes of surrounding mythology, then another 4 minutes of instruction, then another 30 minutes of his personal beliefs on food, and so on. This, somewhat obviously, made the experience of trying to learn how to ferment vegetables from this video a very frustrating experience. He also didn't go through all the steps of making his kraut during the video. The cabbage and other ingredients were already cut, and seemed to have been pre-tenderized which is something Katz expressed as being important, but didn't really explain how to do it or for how long. He never explained, "this is when you add your salt", nor did he explain (at least very clearly anyway) whether you add water to your concoction, or if the water naturally leeches out of the vegetables. As someone who has worked at a health food store for several years and has already heard of the ills of our food system about a million times over, it was frustrating to watch. All I wanted was a video stating, "first do this, then do this, then do this, then put a lid on it, and then leave it on the counter and you're done." This could have been covered in 6 minutes of non-edited footage, I would imagine. But it wasn't. That was disappointing for me.
If you're thinking of getting the book, please do so. It's an excellent book. But skip out on the DVD, while Katz's monologues are interesting if you've never heard them before, it brings almost nothing concrete to the table in terms of practical instructions for fermenting your own foods.