If you are able to buy only one book this year, it should probably be Sandor Katz’s The Art of Fermentation. This handsome hard cover volume provides many easy to understand recipes explaining how to make everything from succulent sauerkraut, pickles and beer, to sourdough bread, cheese and tofu.

However, this great work is also much more than just a cookbook. This essential reference book delves into fermentation concepts and food history from around the world, and explains relevant scientific concepts, like how bacterial cultures work.

The Art of Fermentation

Katz’s writing is easy to understand, and thoroughly explores all aspects of fermented foods. Sandor talks about everything from which simple tools are needed to create all of these delicious wonders, to the many health benefits we get from probiotics. The 498 page book also contains a number of beautiful illustrations, artwork and color photographs, including this kraut making print from Olympia based artist Nikki McClure:

OlyKraut label by Nikki McClure


Fermenting a Revolutionary Act of Protest


In the foreword to The Art of Fermentation food guru Michael Pollan had a heaping helping of praise for Katz’s new book, and wrote:

“The Art of Fermentation is much more than a cookbook . . . sure, it tells you how to do it, but much more important, it tells you what it means, and why an act as quotidian and practical as making your own sauerkraut represents nothing less than a way of engaging with the world. Or rather, with several different worlds, each nested inside the other: the invisible world of fungi and bacteria; the community in which you live; and the industrial food system that is undermining the health of our bodies and our land. This might seem like a large claim for a crock of sauerkraut, but Sandor Katz’s signal achievement in this book is to convince you of its truth. 

To ferment your own food is to lodge an eloquent protest — of the senses — against the homogenization of flavors and food experiences now rolling like a great, undifferentiated lawn across the globe. It is also a declaration of independence from an economy that would much prefer we were all passive consumers of its commodities, rather than the creators of unique products expressive of ourselves and the places where we live.”


book image is via thekitchn.com