Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Cultural fermentation

A few months ago I had the pleasure of attending a fermentation course by Sandor Ellix Katz and Frank Cook at Schumacher College. I was already hooked on fermentation as a cultural transformer and enhancer, and was even more so after having fermented anything from cabbage to milk and learned about its cultural significance and wonderful health-benefints. In New York I went to Yonah Shimmels Knishery, a unique place for cultural fermentation. My souvernir was a jar of 100 year old Armenian yogurt culture kept alive by avid cultivators. On their wall I found an article from the New York Post from the 70´s explaining the high demand for this unique product. Hungarian film directors sent their limo-chauffeurs down to pick up a few jars of this magic stuff, and Armenian housewives swore by this yogurt as an all-purpose cure for everything from sunburn to deadly ills.

And it is suprisingly easy to make. All you need is a few spoonfuls of the original culture. Heat up some milk, prefferably non pastaurized and homogenized so all the live bacteria are still there. I am lucky to have it supplied by good friends on the island - straight from the cow with no middlemen...

Heat up the milk till it starts forming small bubbles. Chill down to fingerwarmth. Add a tablespoon of culture pr. liter milk (yes, you need no more according to Katz) and stir it into the milk.

Fill preheated glassjars and put it into a coolbag. Stuff the empty spaces with a few jars of hot water and towels to keep the heat constant, and leave it for 10 hours in a warmish place. That is all!!

Liven up your body and soul with this pungent activator and join the revolutionary spirit of cultural liberation ready to transform dreams and hopes into reality!

New York

Spent a fantastic week in New York. Presented my film about the poetics of bread, Alchemy, to a great audience at MoMA and met wonderful people engaged in art/ecology and nature/culture and felt very inspired by all the different things going on. Went to an awesome mix of weird and wonderful stuff at the Wondercabinet (http://nyih.as.nyu.edu/object/nyih.wondercabinet) organized by The New York Institute for the Humanities curated by Lawrence Weschler. That alone inspired me to get a residency in this cultural capitol in the near future. New York is extremes in every direction. Fantastic but also shocking...for example the mountains of rubbish left in the sreets every night (where does it allgo?) and total lack of recycling and exessive use of disposable cups, plates, cutlery, anything...and the constant pushing of consumer items from shops. Impossible just to purchase even a book without having to resist ten special offers and a magnetic fridgemagnet! The $10 question is where all the steam from the New York potholes come from?