Salt and Ceremony

Cultures.Group has been hosting live and online events for the last ten years. In the works for the last twenty has been a book that would enable people of all levels of experience and skill in cooking, baking, preserving and fermenting skill to make better, more nutritious and tastier food and drinks using knowledge culled from experience in home kitchens, restaurants and research laboratories around the world.

But we decided to forego the usual book deal to create a digitized, live library of videos of over 500 recipes that provide the ingredients and preparation steps upfront along with a video demonstration, and glossaries with searchable text. That’s our book.

Each recipe demonstrates a technique as well, such as how to blanch vegetables to create amazing pickles, or salt the nasty tastes from things while extending their shelf life, to making both traditional and unique tempeh, koji, sourdough bread, garums, soy sauce, shio koji, miso, vegetarian dishes, sake, kvass – just about anything you might want to make, hopefully – while including interesting facts and tips about some off the ingredients and techniques included.

As we create this work we wanted to actually test each video out by making them available at events like the Salt and Ceremony sessions this December, and in our library. If anyone can’t a session this December, or gets called away, they can go into the library and watch the associated videos whenever they like.

We always ask people to make videos for our programs. In the last ten years, many have. Others have participated in discussions and panels that were later edited. For this final set of sessions for our program WritersCultures we decided to invite people to create videos or to make presentations around a specific theme – actually, what our book is about.

We asked people to make videos related to a ceremony, especially ones that involved salt. But we wanted to make them something that someone might be celebrating or observing during the month of December, such as Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Bhagavad Gita Jayanti, Bodhi Day, Yule or Winter Solstice, Saturnalia, Three Kings Day, or the Year of the Rabbit.

But life is a ritual and a celebration that takes place every day. None of these days would be possible without salt. So videos about no longer practiced rituals, or holidays that take or took place in December, or anything focused on Salt in any culture, or a cultural tradition unrelated to salt or ceremony but about survival.

The response was amazing. We are in the process of transferring, editing, framing and summarizing these videos for the live events that take place on December 4th, 5th, 11th and 12th. Each day has at least an hour long live portion, then a few hours of video streaming.

Hopefully, the live part will be editable into a recording that people can watch afterwards. In any case, we have videos from everyone pre-recorded. These sessions and the associated videos will also be included in the library for our members to watch throughout the year . New members can do so until December 31, 2023.

To Register for Salt and Ceremony

Salt and Ceremony Events: $50 for all 4 sessions. Each event costs $30 USD per session. All 4 sessions with associated videos are watchable until the end of the year and costs only $50 – not $120.

Buying a new Annual Membership also means you will be able to access, at no additional cost, any event in 2023, as well as access to any new videos as they are available.

Of course, any video creator for Salt and Ceremony will have access to the entire library until December 31, 2023, and can update their videos at any time.


Author: culturesgroup

Ken Fornataro has acquired extensive knowledge of the science and techniques that have been all but forgotten with the increasing industrialization of food. Still in his teens, he was named Executive Chef at the Hermitage restaurant in Boston.   From there he worked at prestigious and often private establishments around the world where he practiced his craft. He ran the kitchen and catering services for Troutbeck in upstate New York, using locally grown and sustainably sourced ingredients in the 1980s. At Bloomingdales flagship store in Manhattan he ran the Fresh Foods department kitchens that included a line of his own prepared, preserved and fermented foods, as well as daily preparations directed by Michel Guérard, Petrossian, and Marcella Hazen. He has worked with Julia Child, Madeleine Kamman, Aveline and Michio Kushi, Paula Wolfert, Leah Chase, Anthony Bourdain and many chefs from around the world that taught him traditional Japanese, French, Jewish, Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Nordic, Russian, Indian, and whole food cooking, preservation and fermentation techniques.

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