Koji Idlys



Idlys are usually a steamed soft bread made from fermented rice. In this case, Maya used basmati rice koji. Maya Seetharaman is a globally trained designer, passionate cook, and fermenter, with a passion to enhance meaning, equity, and quality in people’s lives, through research, food, and human-centered design. Maya has lived and worked across multiple cultural contexts, and spends most of her time – when not covered in flour, oil, or Koji spores – observing and unearthing socio-cultural insights for fortune 500 companies, that can drive innovation, sustainability, and cross-cultural empathy.


InRetrospect

There are now 3 ways to register for InRetrospect  or to  get on our mailing list. Either follow us on Instagram at cultures.group and DM with your email address and name, or use https://paypal.me/FermentsandCultures or Venmo: @Ken-Fornataro.


December 19 - Fruit From the Sands 11AM to 1 PM EDT 

With Dr. Robert Spengler III, author of Fruit from the Sands . Co-hosted by Zizinia de Les Flors’ Caspar Hall. The last Zoom event is free, as they all have been over the last 11 years. But we’re moving on.

Available from Independent Bookstores and other online sources.

Corn Misos and Corn Koji



Alan Callaham began his career hitchhiking around the west coast, volunteering on small farms and working in kitchens. He found beauty in the intersection of these two worlds and set off on a journey to explore connections between agriculture, restaurants, and local food traditions. In pursuit of this he has managed market and kitchen gardens, cooked in Michelin-starred restaurants, established preservation programs for kitchens, and worked on food-related projects in Sri Lanka, Turkey, Denmark, and Norway. He currently resides in his home state of Massachusetts. Currently with Food Preservation Lab at @bluehillfarm / @stonebarns


Sweet Corn Miso

There are hundreds more videos like this, and hundreds more on the way! There are now two ways to register for InRetrospect or to get on our mailing list. Either follow us and DM at  https://www.instagram.com/cultures.group/ with your email address or PayPal: https://paypal.me/FermentsandCultures

Follow us here at Vimeo https://vimeo.com/culturesgroup and you get to watch a whole lot of them as they are created for free, and decide if you want to watch lots of them by subscribing.

Again, if you made videos in the past and want access to them all you have to contact us and let us know. It’s that simple. DM us on Instagram. 

These are corn grits koji. In other words corn grits that have been steamed to pre gelatinize the sytartch, then inouclated with different Aspergillus spores. In this case a combination of spores was used including Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus sojae. Made by @kenfornataro


Water Kefir



Water Kefir science, selling, production, tastes, skills, safety, cider, fermentation, mistakes and successes. Peiman Koshravi discusses how it is made, how it can be flavored with everything from wild flowers to roots to fruit and even amasake, and how it might serve as the foundation for a business.

What is it and how is it different than cider? Peiman is the only person I’ve ever heard discuss how to ferment water kefir in the fridge at a low temperature to divine different flavors. Is it probiotic or just a tasty drink? What happens if you ferment it at different temperatures – or if a temperature variation occurs? What do you package or bottle it in? What happens if competing demands of running a business or your life prevent you from getting to it? What are the legal and health implications of allowing people to bring their own bottles?

Don’t start a fermentation business before watching this. He’s made all the mistakes you might make and what considerations you should take into account. This is not a lecture, or a staid discussion of business principles, it’s real life experience being shared by someone that has been there. And now makes amazing bread.


There are now two ways to register for WritersCultures or get on our mails list. Either follow us and DM at  https://www.instagram.com/cultures.group/ with your email address or PayPal: https://paypal.me/FermentsandCultures ($1 or more, whatever you can afford)

InRetrospect is $75 USD and has been extended to June 1, 2022. That also means we are adding 200 more videos to the program. Follow us here at Vimeo https://vimeo.com/culturesgroup and you get to watch a whole lot of them as they are created .

Again, if you made videos in the past and want access to them all you have to contact us and let us know. It’s that simple. DM us on Instagram. 


December 19 - Fruit From the Sands 11AM to 1 PM EDT 

With Dr. Robert Spengler III and Caspar Hall of Zizinia de Les Flors)

Answers to how we can bring our world back from the precipice of destruction from climate change and unsustainable practices?. Factual evidence about who invented what, and how agriculture often drives the movement and destruction of countries and civilizations. Or, how taxation and ownership and religion and sovereignty often kills the farmers and those we count on to feed us? All about grapes and legendary wines from China, the actual origin of foods the Italians claim as their own, and the role of Sogdians, Persians, Russians, and Indians in shaping civilization and the food that is on our tables today. 

Robert N Spengler III is currently the director of the Paleoethnobotany Laboratories at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (Max-Planck-Institut für Menschheitsgeschichte) in Jena. He recently wrapped up his research also a Visiting Research Scholar at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World through New York University. Dr. Spengler was also a research fellow in Berlin, Germany, as a Volkswagen and Mellon Foundations Postdoctoral Fellow jointly appointed at the German Institute of Archaeology (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, DAI), in the Eurasia Department and Freie Universität, Berlin. During which time he also retained his affiliation with Washington University in St. Louis in the Anthropology Department where he held a posting as a Research Associate the previous year. He defended his PhD at Washington University in St. Louis in March of 2013.

He is studying the paleoeconomy and ecology of Central Asia from the third millennium B.C. onward and has ongoing research projects in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, China, and Mongolia. While he has used several methods in the archaeobotanical sciences, he primarily analyzes macrobotanical remains. Through this research he has shown that farming was an important part of the economy across eastern Central Asia for at least four millennia and that many important crops spread through this region in prehistory. Through his archaeobotanical studies, he is helping to fill in the last major gaps in the global map of agricultural spread, and showing how important the Silk Road was in the spread of specific crops and technologies. In addition, his data feed into a broader understanding of human adaptations, social development, and the linked nature between agricultural intensification and social complexity.

“The foods we eat have a deep and often surprising past. From almonds and apples to tea and rice, many foods that we consume today have histories that can be traced out of prehistoric Central Asia along the tracks of the Silk Road to kitchens in Europe, America, China, and elsewhere in East Asia. The exchange of goods, ideas, cultural practices, and genes along these ancient routes extends back five thousand years, and organized trade along the Silk Road dates to at least Han Dynasty China in the second century BC. 

Balancing a broad array of archaeological, botanical, and historical evidence, Fruit from the Sands presents the fascinating story of the origins and spread of agriculture across Inner Asia and into Europe and East Asia. Through the preserved remains of plants found in archaeological sites, Robert N. Spengler III identifies the regions where our most familiar crops were domesticated and follows their routes as people carried them around the world. With vivid examples, Fruit from the Sands explores how the foods we eat have shaped the course of human history and transformed cuisines all over the globe.” 


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