As part of my herbalism class, this past week we had a guest teacher, the lovely Suzanna Stone, to teach us about fermented foods, fermented beverages, and above all, the importance of joy and courage in the kitchen. We all left the class thoroughly blissed, with happy tummies and tons of inspiration to digest.
Over the course of the day, we sampled and/or made sauerkraut, kimchi, ginger carrots, beets, brined garlic cloves, herbal soft drinks, kombucha, and t’ej – an exquisite no-heat Ethiopian honey wine. Needless to say, I can’t wait to try out these wonderful ideas in my kitchen at home. Currently percolating, I’m planning to make a fermented green tomato salsa with the last of the tomatoes left on the vine. I’ll keep you posted as I progress.
Suzanna introduced us to a wealth of wonderful information about the health benefits of fermented foods. My favorite quote of the day: “’Rotten’ is a culturally-determined concept.” That made me chuckle. In addition to adding a couple fabulous new books to my wishlist (especially Steven Buhner’s book on sacred and herbal beers) and nifty way of peeling ginger with a spoon (again, how have I missed this!) we were introduced to Lehman’s Non-Electric, a catalog wonderland of do-it-yourself whizgiggery, sturdy tools, enough non-electric (and some electric, to be fair) items for the home, kitchen, and farm to put a tear in any luddite’s eye.
I placed my first order on the Web site (funny that – non-electric and available on the Web) this morning and am eagerly anticipating my first shipment, along with a free copy of the paper catalog, which will be my evening harlequin romance reading for many an evening, tucked under the covers with a warm dog at my side. I feel almost a little cheated that I’ve missed out on this for almost thirty years, but I’m happy to make up for lost time.