Science on Tap: Adam D. Zolkover, “Culturing Food: History, Health, and Fermentation”

Science on Tap
Date: April 14, 2014
Time: 6:00 p.m.

National Mechanics
22 S. Third Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Event Type: Open to the Public
Fee: Free
RSVP Online: No Registration Required

Science on Tap is a monthly science café in Philadelphia for anyone interested in getting together with other people to discuss a range of engaging science topics. 

In this month’s talk Adam D. Zolkover explores the intermingling of science and history in the kitchen—and some of the practical aspects of fermentation for home cooks today.

What do The Epic of Gilgamesh, James Cook’s Voyage toward the South Pole and Round the World, the dairies of Gruyères, Switzerland, and our speaker’s home kitchen all have in common? Fermentation!

We can define fermentation as a biological process: as the metabolization of sugars by yeasts, bacteria, and sometimes our own cells into gases, acids, and alcohol. For denizens of the microbial world it’s a matter of eat, then excrete. But for humans fermentation is a cultural process. Bread, beer, dairy, pickles, and preserved meats have all been key ingredients in the success of agricultural, sedentary, urban societies. And they have all been essential to long voyages of exploration.

About the Speaker

Adam D. Zolkover is a folklorist, freelance writer, and food blogger living in Philadelphia. He serves as editor of the Institute for Civility in Government’s online initiative, The Civility Blog, and teaches courses in folklore, literature, and popular culture at Philadelphia University, Temple University, and the University of Pennsylvania. He has run workshops on fermentation and lacto-pickling for the Mount Airy Learning Tree. He is owner and proprietor of, where he he writes about food culture, sustainable cooking, and the preparation and consumption of all manner of delicious fermented things.

Presented by the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

Open to the public (age 21+ or accompanied by chaperone 25 years or older).

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