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Mold can be beautiful. (Photo: John Hafner.)

Earlier this year, a group of us at Zero Point Zero Production (parent company of FR), led by managing director Joe Caterini, decided to do something unusual, maybe even ill-advised. We decided to start a print magazine. Cured would tap into all the different ways people preserve or alter food and drink using methods that have mostly been around for centuries. Part of the appeal was that it’s a bit trendy, sure, but it also set our minds reeling, thinking about how the techniques differ around the globe, not to mention the ancillary topics around health and lifestyle.

So, against our better judgment and ignoring our accounting department’s high-pitched pleas, we moved forward, hiring the esteemed editor Darra Goldstein, who for so many years influenced culinary thought leaders from atop the masthead at Gastronomica. She in turn brought in executive editor Jane Lear, an alum of the revered Gourmet. We looked inward — or rather downstairs, to the dimly lit dungeon we call the ZPZ creative department — to find our art director, Daniel DeGraaf. He and design director Mike Houston spent months turning the words by Goldstein and her international cabal of writers into dazzling feature articles. Our culinary creative director, Krista Ruane, oversaw the original recipes featured in the issue, an unusual assignment that led her and her testers down varyingly inspiring and comical paths. Fermenting can be challenging, it turns out, even for the pros.

The premiere issue of the magazine, available now at curedmagazine.com (or by clicking on the ads you’ll see popping up around our site), features stories about stinky tofu, historical punch, Japanese pickles and the prettiest, most ornate cheese-storage containers you’ll likely ever see. There’s a look inside the hot Los Angeles fermentation restaurant Baroo and an exploration of the Mexican fermented corn beverage tejuino. I myself voyaged to the southwestern French town of Médoc to sample a bizarre tripe delicacy, grenier médocain, for a short story featured in Cured. We are extremely proud of the magazine, and we hope you’ll love it!

While the ferment on the first issue is now officially complete, I’ve decided to devote a week to the sort of subjects highlighted in Cured here on Food Republic. Over the next few days you’ll meet people whose lives more or less revolve around curing and fermentation, and you’ll encounter recipes and stories related to this fascinating and forever evolving topic.

As Goldstein writes in her editor’s letter for Cured, “Today’s revival of DIY food processing offers an apt moment to explore the roots of preserving practices and the deep pleasures they bring to the palate.” So yes, for this brief moment we’ll go pretty deep into this, and from kimchi to kombucha, from sourdough to sauerkraut, from capocolla to coffee, I think you’ll be surprised by how much fermentation and curing are already a part of your daily life.

P.S. We felt it especially appropriate to launch Fermentation Week on this ghoulish day. Managing director Joe Caterini offered up a potential tag line for Cured, that was sadly not used, but seems especially apropos today as we start a week of stories and recipes devoted to experimental techniques: “These foods could kill you.” Happy Halloween!