Fermentation as Metaphor
Follow Up to the Bestselling "The Art of Fermentation"
Los Angeles Times Best Cookbooks 2020
Saveur Magazine “Favorite Cookbook to Gift”
Esquire Magazine Best Cookbooks of 2020
“The book weaves in reflections on art, religion, culture, music, and more, so even if you’re not an epicure, there’s something for everyone.”—Men’s Journal
Bestselling author Sandor Katz—an “unlikely rock star of the American food scene” (New York Times), with over 500,000 books sold—gets personal about the deeper meanings of fermentation.
In 2012, Sandor Ellix Katz published The Art of Fermentation, which quickly became the bible for foodies around the world, a runaway bestseller, and a James Beard Book Award winner. Since then his work has gone on to inspire countless professionals and home cooks worldwide, bringing fermentation into the mainstream.
In Fermentation as Metaphor, stemming from his personal obsession with all things fermented, Katz meditates on his art and work, drawing connections between microbial communities and aspects of human culture: politics, religion, social and cultural movements, art, music, sexuality, identity, and even our individual thoughts and feelings. He informs his arguments with his vast knowledge of the fermentation process, which he describes as a slow, gentle, steady, yet unstoppable force for change.
Throughout this truly one-of-a-kind book, Katz showcases fifty mesmerizing, original images of otherworldly beings from an unseen universe—images of fermented foods and beverages that he has photographed using both a stereoscope and electron microscope—exalting microbial life from the level of “germs” to that of high art. When you see the raw beauty and complexity of microbial structures, Katz says, they will take you “far from absolute boundaries and rigid categories. They force us to reconceptualize. They make us ferment.”
Fermentation as Metaphor broadens and redefines our relationship with food and fermentation. It’s the perfect gift for serious foodies, fans of fermentation, and non-fiction readers alike.
“It will reshape how you see the world.”—Esquire
Reviews and Praise
"I’m super jazzed about this book because this is what I stay up at night thinking about . . . . For a lot of people getting into fermentation, understanding the ideas and philosophies around it will help put them at ease with the practical application and act of fermenting, growing molds, and using them to produce food."—Jeremy Umansky, coauthor of Koji Alchemy
"This book is a must read for anyone eager to transform our society for the better." —Rob Greenfield, author of Food Freedom
"A strange, wondrous book that does exactly what the title promises. Katz, a high priest of fermentation, poetically draws together threads that link the world of the microbiome to the macro: art, religion, sex, emotion, memory, activism, growth, death, family and one’s own sense of self."—Helen Rosner, the New Yorker, via Instagram
"This book is amazing... I’m a huge fan of [Sandor’s] so I think I can say this straight up: I think it is the best thing [he’s] written.... A meditative, analytical call for change."—Chef Dan Barber
"An amazing, beautiful meditation . . . A meditation in the classical sense of thinking and fermenting through your emotions and feelings about the world.... I knew this was going to be different and I am so thrilled it is."—Chef David Zilber, coauthor of The Noma Guide to Fermentation
"A swift, spicy, and timely read."—Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times
"The book’s full-page images are mesmerizing."—Saveur
“Having written his comprehensive guide to all things fermented, The Art of Fermentation, Katz turns philosophical, trying to find deeper meanings in what the physical nature of fermentation means in the wider culture.”
"This is not really a food book. It’s something much deeper. It’s a manifesto for living and thinking in a new way."—Jeff Gordinier, Food & Drinks Editor, Esquire
"Katz taught us how to make sauerkraut and kimchi. Fermentation as Metaphor helps us think about them." —Boston Globe
"Fermentation as Metaphor is audacious, often surprising."—The Guardian
"A new book by Sandor is always an event for us fermentos!"—Michael Pollan, via Twitter