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Botulism Who? You Should Ferment in Your Dorm More Often.

by Matthew Tyler Boyer

It has come to my attention that the school is making me leave.  

They are giving me a diploma for the last couple years of work, where I have written dick jokes and stared at biology books, not understanding anything. I feel wiser, stronger, and fatter than when I entered school, but I also feel bloated, and my tummy hurts a lil’ bit.   

One thing that college students do now more than when there wasn’t YouTube is watch more Youtube. I don’t watch anything on TV unless my laptop is hooked up to through the HDMI port, and then I watch something on Youtube or one of the varying streaming services that my mommy pays for.  

So, I find videos on Youtube where the afternoon cartoons used to be.  

A nice image here would be a faded outline on a carpet where a floor TV used to sit, where now the phone charger is furled on the ground; I can’t draw, so I wrote this instead. Anyhow, one of my favorite things to watch online is people making food. I grew up around fermentation and home-canned food, so it’s only right I enjoy it.  

Fermentation is a controlled rot. Think sauerkraut, beer, and yogurt. It’s also a memeable food making process, as the kombucha lady took over our hearts at the beginning of the semester. It’s also heathy for you. Fermented foods are full of probiotics, which promote good-gut bacteria.   

Recently, as in last Wednesday, my roommates and I put garlic and honey into a jar and stuck it in our closet. You can put it on pizza, in soup, or eat it out of the jar. It is candied garlic with an after burn. This is good for us, hopefully, and it tastes really wonderful. The harsh bite of the garlic has mellowed and will continue to mellow out over its lifetime in the old pickle jar that we put it in. 

I should warn you about botulism. Botulism is a food borne illness that happens under 1000 times a year but has the ability to happen in rotted foods. Since fermentation is a controlled rot, be careful. If you have vinegar, you can splash a little bit of that in there; allegedly botulism can’t happen in acidic places. We put pickle brine in ours because we did not have vinegar. I’m not sure if it works as a substitute or not. This is all to say, I think you should not throw out all of your old jars, and instead fill them full of veggies and make something that settles your tummy, like this garlic is doing to mine.  

I wish I would have fermented more in my dorm room while I was here. I wonder if that is the botulism kicking in or my sentimentality talking?  

Either way, fermenting garlic in our dorm closet would be a good way to die. 

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