Fermenting Everything – Andy Hamilton

Front cover Andy Hamilton fermenting everything

In a few weeks my latest book, Fermenting Everything, will be published. This is a strange time for the writer. Each book represents a chunk time, a section of the writers life that we share with the reader. Sometimes that relationship feels one way. Even with social media, we only get a glimpse of what our books mean to our readers.

Yet books are not created in a vacuum and I can only hope that the reactions I got from friends and family, as I wrote Fermenting Everything, will mirror the reception it gets on publication (Countryman Knowhow, July 2020 – UK and June 2020 US).

Will all seven years old treat the recipes like my seven year old son? He can’t get enough fermented Ketchup; or perhaps they will act like his best friend Lucas who loves the lacto fermented orange juice.? I’d love to think the adults out there who come across Fermenting Everything act like many of my friends who loved the slightly boozy pomegranate seeds and the sourdough pizza.

As I think about the rest of the recipes I wonder too, will those who class themselves as food lovers be like those of my friends who know their way around a kitchen, or at least could differentiate a knife from a spoon? Will they all love the stalwarts of fermentation, Sauerkraut, Kombucha, Kimchi and Sourdough bread?

Then there were me chef and foragers friends who enjoyed hearing about some of the more adventurous and original recipes I created. If the adventurous readers and fermenters act like these friends I’ll be delighted. I think they will too as they discover fermented rosehip and horseradish sauce, fermented mustard and wild garlic seeds and fermented magnolia buds. Perhaps some will rave on about cultured butter as my friend Martin did. I wonder too which brave readers will try my corned beef; a remarkable flavour made from fermented beef, I imagine the same people will find themselves cutting up sardines to make fermented fish sauce.

It would mean a lot to me if readers find the same enjoyment I get when I experience the food from other cultures, getting to know a little bit about what makes people they may never meet tick. Finding out, as I did, about the slower pace and importance of food in South India. These both can be experienced when making Idlis, for example, a dish so far removed from a bowl of cereal or slice of toast. I mean, imagine starting breakfast the day before you eat it!

Above all I hope each and every reader discover that, as with all of my books, I try to treat the reader as a friend. I want every reader to feel like I am sitting at their table talking them through each stage. I want them to understand each aspect of what they are making so that it doesn’t seem daunting.

Lastly, I hope that you, learn the joy and pleasures in Fermenting Everything.