The Noma Guide to Fermentation: Including koji, kombuchas, shoyus, misos, vinegars, garums, lacto-ferments and black fruits anby René Redzepi and David Zilber, 456 pages, 7½x10, hardcover. Fancy fare meets funky ferment in this handsome illustrated guide for advanced fermentationists and cookbook collectors. Chefs from Noma, the premier Copenhagen restaurant, built a fermentation laboratory to run imaginative bacterial experiments and the creations are beautiful, some strange, many grandiose. I found myself curiously conflicted: food should be food—nourishing, tasty, accessible—not obscure and elitist. And yet the book drew me back in: instructions for these bacterial masterpieces are easy to follow and most use common ingredients. (I applied their simple vinegar procedure to this year’s windfall of plums.) Each recipe concludes with a narrative of creative suggested uses. (What to do with your black sludge of fermented grasshopper garum? Brush it on savory pancakes and top with a dollop of roe!) The basic methods presented could be tailored to your taste and considered points of departure. I never imagined all the directions I could take my kombucha SCOBY. And as a devotee of anything koji, I anticipate venturing into that exciting chapter this winter. Fat yet lightweight with matte color printing, the book pleases as an object, and regardless of how many recipes you make, you’ll have plenty of fun reading. -Elisabeth Benjamin NEW!
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