Welcome to Cultured Cookery

Since this is the first post on a new website, I can’t tell you much about what you’ll find here. Not yet anyway. What I can tell you is that I hope to eventually make this a good resource for anyone interested in fermentation. In particular, the art and science of creating fermented foods along with some good recipes that incorporate them.

I suppose that’s an ambitious goal for someone who’s not a fermentation expert. In fact, much of what I plan to write about I’ve never actually done before. But I think actively chronicling my efforts, whether they’re successes or failures, is the best way to learn and get involved in the worldwide community of fermentation enthusiasts. And I’m pretty excited to be doing that.

I do have a little experience with fermentation, which I’ll share below. It’s probably a tedious read, so I’ll apologize in advance for that. But it seems like a good place to start and one of those obligatorily posts you have to write when you start a blog. Hopefully my writing will improve in future posts, and maybe one or two of you will find my experiences relatable, but if you’d prefer to skip that part and just go ahead and subscribe to my blog, that’d be great.

How I Got Interested in Fermentation

I still remember the first time I tried a homebrewed beer. It was 1996 and I was at a dinner party with a group of grad students in Nashville. It was a wheat beer in a green bottle with no label and lots of sediment in the bottom. Liquid gold, I thought.

The woman who made it was a PhD candidate in microbiology at Vanderbilt. I assumed one must need a PhD in microbiology to create something like that, but she assured me it was easy and anyone could do it.

I had just started school as an undergrad myself, so I rarely had money for a single beer, much less the ingredients and equipment to make gallons of it. Although the seed had been planted in my mind, it would be years before I’d have the opportunity to make my first homebrew.

Ten years later, the craft beer scene had grown and I was doing my best to support it. Life was good, and I finally got to a point where I wasn’t broke and had a little free time on my hands. Before long I remembered tasting that homebrewed wheat beer in the green bottle, and I ordered the deluxe homebrew kit from Homebrew Heaven.

I was probably on my second batch of extract brew when I started designing bottle labels and buying domain names for my future brewery. If you’ve ever brewed your own beer, you might relate to the joyful experience of waking up like a kid on Christmas morning to find a 5 gallon bucket happily bubbling away, with strange, bready aromas in the air. I found it deeply gratifying and the closest thing to actual magic I’ve personally observed.

Somewhere between starting a new job, getting married, and having kids, the brewery dream slipped away and the homebrew equipment either got beat up or misplaced through multiple moves. But I found that the fermentation bug never really went away.

Now I’m finally settled into the home where I plan to stay for a while to raise my kids. They’re getting old enough to have some independence, which means I can get back to pursuing some of my personal interests (and hopefully get them in involved).

So that’s about it. I hope you’ll stay connected, and don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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