1) Reciprocity: Many people in our world is not operating on a principle of reciprocity or even mutual benefit. In fermentation, we’re Building Community with Beneficial Bacteria.
With the artful exploration of fermentation (I call it this because it truly is an art and creative process that never turns out quite the same), we’re essentially co-creating with an invisible microbial community. We’re building relationships and making alliances with the beneficial bacterias, yeasts, etc. It is almost as if I said hey I’ll give you certain conditions to thrive, and you make me this. That way we all benefit. We need the microbes we cannot even see to make a Fermentation happen, to transform the elements in a recipe into a safe, healthy, and edible delight. For health, for flavor, for enjoyment. They don’t need us. They’re going to use us anyways whether we know or or not!
2) (Some) Bacteria are Good: This is a very different worldview than we’re used to where all bacteria is seen as evil and dirty, ready to destroy us. It is also totally contrary to most people’s standard of “food safety” or cleanliness. From a young age, we’re taught to avoid “germs. Bacteria is bad. Fermentation is all about building trust with the microbes creating the right conditions for beneficial bacteria to thrive and not so beneficial (to humans) bacteria to be outcompeted. Short story: ultimately we need bacteria for fermentation and so many other things. We could probably take some tips from this relationship and apply it to our human interactions!
3) The Art of Waiting: We live in a world where the majority of people want things and they want it now. Instant gratification is sought by many.
The art of waiting is the beauty of fermentation. No matter how much we adjust temperature or conditions, ultimately we have to wait. The fruits of our labor only get better with age. No two ferments are ever the same because of different environmental factors, time of year, size of your vessel, quality and sourcing of ingredients, and more. That’s what is so exciting – in a world where we want consistency, control, predictability, and instant gratification, we simply have to let go. We have to wait and enjoy the process.