“Hey honey, let’s go to the movies.  There’s a documentary I want to see about a man and a fermentation fetish.” Said no wife ever…until now.

That’s exactly how it happened when I asked my husband to join me at the premier of Sandorkraut at DOC NYC’s shorts program at IFC a couple of weeks ago.  Sandorkraut is a documentary portrait of the famous food writer and fermentation guru, Sandor Katz. As a nutritionist, I’m a known probiotic pusher.  However, on a more personal level, I was especially thrilled to attend the screening since one of Sandorkraut’s Producer/Director’s is a colleague of mine from my film days.

We hopped off the subway and exited conveniently right outside of the theatre where my longtime pal, Ann Husaini, spotted us in the sold-out crowd. Excited and glowing, she waved us through the mass.  She’s exactly as I remember her fifteen years ago when I hired her for her first legit editing job—still youthful, friendly, funny and openhearted.  But after viewing this fabulous film, I can also say that Ann has evolved into a wonderful filmmaker. The storytelling skills and tactful eye that I admired in her early days as an editor have served her well.  Ann and her Co-Producer/Director Emily Lobsenz have created much more than a food film.  Sandorkraut is an intimate story of the ancient culinary practice of fermentation and the mysteries around it.  But, it’s what Sandor unearths in the process that gives the film its fertile worth.  You see, the story is also about how Sandor has transformed his relationship with life and death.

Ok—maybe you don’t want to dig that deeply. However, you’ll still love the film for it’s rich and warm cinematography, marking Sandor’s gentle and humorous introduction to his world of bubbling crocks set in rural Tennessee.  You’ll also find out that fermentation is easy, healthy and quite natural.  Oh yea—and delicious!

Side note: Probiotics are bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestines. The normal human digestive tract contains about 400 types of probiotic bacteria that reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and promote a healthy digestive system. The largest group of probiotic bacteria in the intestine is lactic acid bacteria, known as Lactobacillus acidophilus, found in natural yogurt and many fermented live cultured foods.

Once you see this film, you’ll be hungry to learn more about these amazing and protective microorganisms that are as fascinating as they are beneficial. In the meantime, I’ll be devoting my next two blogs to this subject (yes, it’s really that good!). So, what is The French Twist of it all, you ask? Believe it or not, all of our favorites—wine, cheese, chocolate, yogurt and bread—are all fermented foods. Without culturing, there is no French food culture. More on this in my upcoming blog posts!

While you’re waiting, check out some of Sandor’s brilliantly written books on the topic.  I own Wild Fermentation, The Flavor, Nutrition and Craft of Live-Culture Foods.  His most recent book, The Art of Fermentation, became a New York Times bestseller and won a James Beard award. Sandor also teaches fermentation worldwide and has an ever-growing fan base of DIY home cooks, food movement advocates, health aficionados, and chefs.  Read more about it at www.wildfermentation.com.

Sandorkraut is currently touring local film festivals nationwide, but is available for pre-order as a digital download here (with tons of cool extras!). Want to stay in the loop with what’s happening with Sandor and the documentary? Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.