Posted by: gillarbuthnott | March 17, 2020

Our Microbe Friends #1

Image result for foods made by microbesI know this title may seem a bit strange given what we’re all girding our loins to go through, but I worry that a whole generation of children (and some adults) are going to be left with a real neurotic fear of microbes, so I thought I’d try to redress the balance a little bit.

Think of the microbe kingdom the way you think of the animal kingdom: some animals are dangerous and you would steer well clear of them, lots are harmless; some greatly enhance our lives and we would miss them hugely if they weren’t around.

Now, you may think the only connection between microbes and food is that they make it rot, but that’s not true. Your kitchen would be missing quite a few items if it wasn’t for microbes…

Yoghurt is made for us by friendly bacteria changing some of the sugars in milk into lactic acid.

Cheese takes the same process a stage further, separating the solid curds from the liquid whey, packing the soft cheese into a mould and letting it harden. You want holes in your cheese? – Add another sort of bacterium. You want blue veins? – Add a special fungus.

Yeast is a tiny fungus which we use to make bread rise, so; no yeast, no croissants, crusty rolls, sourdough – or even pre-packed white sliced.

All you hipsters who love your fermented foods would have to say goodbye to sauerkraut, kimchi, soy sauce, kefir, miso…

Vegetarians wouldn’t be able to cook with Quorn any more, since it’s made from a fungus.

And we would have to bid a sad farewell to alcohol: beer, wine, cider, spirits… even those sickly-sweet liqueurs.




  1. No yoghurt, no cheese, no croissants, no booze … doesn’t bear thinking of! Thank you, microbes!

  2. Pic made me hungry 😋

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