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Fermenting Wild Geographies (part 1)

Dr Kaajal Modi

Fermenting wild geographies: exploring microbial inheritance through the senses
In this two part event we will consider microbes as heirlooms that are passed down intergenerationally from our ancestors. This can take the form of both vertical genetic inheritance, and the stories, foods and cultural practices that we inherit through which we can trace the ways humans have been entangled with microorganisms. Human bodies are holobionts composed of a host and trillions of microorganisms whose collective functioning keeps the whole alive. As ancestors, allies, and symbiotes, microbes have lived alongside us as long as we have lived. Human symbioses with microorganisms are an important adaptation and survival strategy that have shaped us and the world around us in important and meaningful ways. Yet, like many forms of biodiversity, global microbial biodiversity is under threat from climate change and an increasingly industrialised food system and a loss of land-based knowledge about heritage food practices.

Part 1: Fermenting
In the first workshop, you will learn how to make sowans, a traditional Scottish probiotic porridge and oat drink that is made through a process of wild lactic fermentation. Lactic fermentation is a process used in cuisines around the world. It works by creating an environment in which lactic bacteria, necessary for human health and digestion, can thrive. We will create an acidic mixture and then add some spices and seasonings from other parts of the world to see how this affects the fermentation process.

Recommended Reading:
The Scots Kitchen by F. Marian McNeill