How to pickle your way through a crisis

by Kitty Drake in February 2021
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Current affairs Food & drink

The Preserve Journal is a magazine about ethical food culture. One of the first pieces in this issue is an interview with Sandor Katz, the author of The Art of Fermentation. Katz is a fermentation God, according to interviewer Kathe Kaczmarzyk, who describes her relationship with the recipe book as a kind of love affair: “You bond and form a relationship like no other with it… it is its own special world.”

If forming a deep and meaningful relationship with your own fermentation practice sounds almost traumatically lockdown-friendly — do not despair. Despite my own abortive experiences with sourdough, I found the interview with Katz to be fascinating. Katz is currently writing an essay called ‘Fermentation as metaphor’, looking at how we use the word “fermentation” to “describe a state of excitement in almost any realm, along with metaphorical applications of related concepts such as purity and contamination.”

Another captivating piece is about oysters, and their extraordinary rewilding powers. As writer Jovana Djak explains, scientists generally agree that just one oyster can clean up to 50 gallons of water per day, removing nitrogen and phosphorus from the ocean while capturing CO2 in its shell. 

The Preserve Journal has been designed simply — you could not accuse this magazine of style over substance — and all the articles are a little nerdy, but rather delightfully so. Its stated aim, set out in the editor’s note is a big one: to build “a more sustainable, responsible and resilient food culture”. The energy captured on these pages is infectious.

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