Get to know the lively side of living food.

Kombucha art copyright Miyuki Sakai

Art © Miyuki Sakai, excerpted from The Good Life Lab

In my nine-year relationship with my kombucha mother, several small dramas provide proof that she is very much alive.

When I first obtained her I foiled a batch of kombucha tea by fermenting it too long. Forgivingly (as mothers ought to be), the batch produced vinegar that was just right for tangy salad dressing. In an El Niño year (excess rain), the prickly pear cacti where I live provided abundant fuchsia-colored tuna fruits that I processed into juice and added as a finish to my kombucha, curious to see what would happen. Once fermented, the flavor was just like watermelon Jolly Rancher candy!

A friend gave me a special mother that came with the following instructions: “Only feed her red wine.” This mother’s scent was strong and pungent and pervaded my house. She quickly got a nickname. Catching her powerful smell, my husband, Mikey, said she must be the mother-in-law, stinking up the house drinking red wine all day.

A friend showed me how to repair a hole in a leather glove with a kombucha daughter that I dried and stitched over the seam. She saved the day.

Over the years I gave countless daughters to neighbors and friends. Relationships were started. I can only imagine where this relationship is headed. Like a good mom, she has been forgiving, demanding, generous, social, and patient when I was learning.

Wendy Jehanara Tremayne

Wendy Tremayne was a creative director in a marketing firm in New York City before moving to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where she built… See Bio

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