Sour Grapes?

In the long list of Things I Would Never Have Envisioned Myself Doing 20 Years Ago, a heretofore unrecognized category of Making My Own Food is now necessary.

Not that I’m against cooking at all, or ever have been.  I learned an appreciation for cooking from watching and helping my mom cook when I was young.  My first experiments into culinary creations came in the form of green salads during my college ministry days (start easy, it’s easier to impress!).  Over the years I’ve found myself more and more interested in cooking, and it helps to have a fantastic partner for that endeavor as well!
But the idea of making food without the benefit of a lot processing by other folks, that’s an emphasis I wouldn’t have predicted.  Many people wouldn’t have.  I grew up in a time when it was not mainstream to question the convenience of pre-packaged, pre-assembled, pre-cooked food.  Convenience was, well, convenient!  All that time saved!  And certainly it all had to be good for you to some extent – why would anyone ever decide to create a food that was bad for you?
This little NPR article caught my eye because of recent experimentations my wife has been undertaking in the area of kombucha tea.  If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry.  Neither had we a few months ago.  But hearing about it gave way to purchasing some pricey bottles of it, which gave way to loving it immensely, which resulted in being gifted with a kombucha mushroom from a herbalist friend, which led to us brewing our own kombucha tea.  And loving it.
Essentially, you brew up some tea, add some sugar, stir, allow it all to cool to room temperature, pour it into a one-gallon container, and insert a piece of a kombucha ‘mushroom’.  Over the course of the next week or more, the living yeast and bacteria in the ‘mushroom’ eat the sugar and convert the whole concoction into a beverage that has a hard to describe flavor, but it’s one of the most refreshing things I’ve ever drank in my life.  Granted, good kombucha is replete with portions of the yeast from the mushroom, so occasionally you swallow something with the texture of snot.  But if you can get past that visceral yuckiness, the drink is incredible – and apparently good for you.
When the proper flavor has been reached, you remove the ‘mushroom’ (it’s not really a mushroom, but that’s probably the best description for how it looks and feels), put it in a couple of cups of the tea in a smaller container, and can use it to brew your next batch with.  
I know, it sounds weird.  But there’s a strange satisfaction from creating something from scratch (other than purchasing tea bags rather than growing our own tea and making it from scratch!) for a fraction of the cost of what we’d pay for it in the store.  Fermented foods supposedly carry a lot of health benefits to them and we’ll be experimenting with more of them in the future.  
Do you do any strange cooking or fermenting?  Any recipes or cautionary tales you’d care to share?

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