Back to All Events

Making and Doing with Microbes: A Fermentation Laboratory

  • Southern Food & Beverage Museum 1504 Oretha C. Haley Blvd New Orleans, LA 70113 (map)

On Saturday, September 7 at 1 p.m. the Rouses Culinary Innovation Center by Jennair will host Matthäus Rest & Salla Sariola for Making and Doing with Microbes: A Fermentation Laboratory. Participation is free with museum admission.

Fermentation is a practice in which microbes, humans, animals, and plants meet. Today, many of the multi-species collectives that have been fermenting together, often in an unbroken chain for thousands of years, are under threat. A key reason for this is industrialization and standardization of agriculture and food processing. Our laboratory will explore fermentation with lactic acid bacteria and yeasts. We will make cheese, sour milk and bread and show participants to prepare their own probiotic dairy products through back-slopping. Most importantly, we will address the question of how to continue to live with these companion species that have sustained humans for millennia.

The program begins at 1 PM in the Rouses Culinary Innovation Center by Jenn-Air. Free with museum admission.



Matthäus Rest is a cultural anthropologist interested in the relations between environment, economy, and time. Currently based at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena (Germany), he works with biomolecular archaeologists on an interdisciplinary research project concerned with the past and present of dairying microbes across Eurasia. His earlier work dealt with unbuilt water infrastructures in Nepal and the state of suspension their unfinished-ness produces. Beyond that, he is involved in an ongoing collaborative ethnography of the Krampus in Alpine Europe and his rise in global pop culture. He is also in the process of taking over his parents’ farm in Austria.



Salla Sariola is a Professor of Sociology at University of Helsinki. Her background is in Science and Technology Studies and Medical Anthropology and her current research concerns the social study of microbes that includes fermentation, composting, and making enquiries into the changing scientific practices concerning microbiota and antimicrobial resistance. She is the author ofResearch as Development: Biomedical Research, Ethics and Collaboration in Sri Lanka (Cornell University Press 2019) and Gender and Sexuality in India: Selling Sex in Chennai (Routledge 2012). She is a passionate permaculture gardener, contributing to collective transformations towards cultural coexistences.