“to boil”

Sandor Ellix Katz, author of Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods, has been a culinary inspiration here on the farm (see: sauerkraut galore, kimchi even more galore), and I just started reading his other book, The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America’s Underground Food Movements. He offers the connection between fermentation and fervor as motivation for his foray into the second book:

“Just as fermenting liquids exhibit a bubbling action similar to boiling, so do excited people, filled with passion and unrestrained. Revolutionary ideas, as they spread and mutate, ferment the culture. Agitation of fermenting liquids stimulates the process and quickens fermentation, as evidenced by increased bubbling action. Agitation similarly stimulates social ferment.”

I learned today that fervor and ferment are both derived from the latin fervere, or to boil. I was so overwhelmed by the amount of information Katz seamlessly, energetically fits into his writing that I only read about 10 pages before stopping and looking up everything he references. Let’s just say that today, Katz rose even higher on my list of “Top People I Would Like To Meet. Please. And Thank You.”

That brings me to a bit of food for thought about environmental thoughtlessness motivated by capitalist values, brought to us by ol’ Sandor himself:

“My friend, Les, who is a trucker, had a job driving between Idaho and Maine, back and forth, hauling frozen Idaho potato products to Maine and frozen Maine potato products to Idaho. Go figure. It must make business sense for whoever is paying to have it moved. I came across a news report that a Seattle-based salmon marketer is shipping Alaskan salmon and crab to China for labor-intensive processing, then shipping it back to the United States, a total of 8,000 miles. ‘Something that would cost us one dollar per pound labor here, they get it done for twenty cents in China,’ says Charles Bundrant, founder of Trident Seafoods. This is the logic of global capital and it is shortsighted because it ignores, or externalizes, the depletion of nonrenewable resources and the grave environmental costs of all these extraneous food miles.”

The same mindset that motivates salmon shipments to China and back initiates mass chemical spraying and GMO proliferation, all of which complicate and obstruct the actual nutrition of food. It also ignores the very same micro-ecosystems I mentioned in my previous post, and in most cases, prevents them from developing at all. When I was harvesting coriander seeds from a cilantro plant the other day, I was amazed at the amount of ladybugs on the plant. Quin and Justin told me that Coriandrum sativum does a fabulous job of attracting beneficial critters, like ladybugs, that then integrate into the farm ecosystem and work as natural pest control. If all the cilantro is sprayed with Roundup to prevent weeds and a mess of other things to prevent the various pests, where will all the ladybugs bone?


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