Very day I eat food that’s teeming with bacteria—billions of them.

To some, this may sound like reckless behavior, consorting with supposedly dangerous enemies. After all, we live in the midst of a war on bacteria, which teaches us to fear bacteria as vectors of contagion and deploys an arsenal of chemical compounds to destroy all types of microorganisms. Yet, eating bacterially rich food is an important part of how I stay healthy.

For me, it started with sauerkraut. After moving to the country and taking up gardening, the fleeting abundance of cabbage in our garden inspired me to learn how to make sauerkraut, primarily as a strategy for preservation. I found an old crock buried in our barn, harvested cabbage from the garden, chopped it up, salted it, pounded it, packed it into the crock, and waited.

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