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Our Fermented Lives, A History: How Fermented Foods Have Shaped Cultures & Communities

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by Julia Skinner
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This accessible but serious layperson's history of fermentation views its subject matter through the lens of how human culture has been shaped by our need and desire to ferment foods and drinks.

Julia Skinner, a fermentation teacher and advocate, moves nimbly through history and geography to describe the relationship between beneficial microbes and human beings from prehistory until modern times. She illustrates her account with period and contemporary recipes, but is just as comfortable citing works of psychoanalysis, seventeenth-century religious tracts from Scotland, and public health analyses.

The book is divided into five broad chapters:

  • Ferments for Life explores the relationship between beneficial microbes and human health
  • Preservation documents the range of one of the most ancient human motivations for employing fermentation
  • Flavor looks at the various ways fermentation can enhance everything from sweetness to umami
  • Health delves more deeply into the growing knowledge about the importance of the human microbiome
  • Community discusses the the role of fermentation in formal and informal human rituals, from aphrodisiacs to lamentation

Thoughtful and eye-opening.



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