Middle-Grade Review: Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild (Food Heroes) by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

 

About This Book:

 

Sandor Katz’s love of fermented food started with kosher dill pickles he ate as a New York City kid. As an adult, he left the busy city and moved to a queer community in the mountains of Tennessee. There, his friends grew their own food, cooked and ate together, and sometimes danced in drag when the work was done. One day, the cabbages were all, ALL ready to be harvested. What to do? Sandor tried to make sauerkraut. Delicious! He kept experimenting, finding old recipes, combining old ideas to make something new. Then, he shared what he learned in bestselling books, in classes, and with a growing group of friends around the world.

Written by award-winning authors Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee, Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild folds timely themes of ecology, community-building, and resilience into a lively biography that closes with a hands-on recipe: just chop, salt, pack, and wait for tiny, wild, invisible microbes to turn raw ingredients into zingy, zangy foods that we love. Sandor believes that making fermented foods connects all, ALL of us on planet Earth—people, plants, and The Tiny Wild. Won’t you join Sandor’s crew and share your own dash of dazzle with the world?

*Review Contributed By Karen Yingling, Staff Reviewer*

 

Science in a Pickle

 

Pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi– all of these foods have a connection! Sandor Katz was enthralled with these taste of these fermented food from different cultures, and has made a career studying the microbes that lead to this fermentation. Moving from New York, where he was raised, to rural Tennessee, he set up a school for studying the process that creates these foods.
Good Points

The illustrations in the book have the same exuberant and funky style exhibited by Katz’ approach to studying, and have a lot of fun elements. There are page borders of different types of cabbages, decorative text with phrases like kraut-chi-licious, and multicolored dots that represent the microbes involved in the fermentation process.

There are a number of interesting food books for young readers, like Stanley’s Alice Katz Cooks Up a Food Revolution and The Sweetest Scoop: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Revolution
by Lisa Robinson, and Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild will appeal not only to readers who want information about food, but to teachers and parents who want to take a deeper look into the science of what we eat.

The book ends with a recipe for kraut-chi, a note from Katz, and notes from the author and illustrator, who add a lot more information about Katz’s work. There is also a bibliography that includes Katz’s books and further resources.

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