Senior and club head Kaj Anders-MacLeod elbowed open the Kappa lounge door for me, hands caked in sourdough.
“We’re a club that tries and meet weekly just to learn,” he said about the processes of fermentation. Extending a bowl of uncooked sourdough towards me, he continued. “That’s one of the things that we did a lot last semester, we had a couple bake days and also learn through experiments what things to do with discard. You end up having a bit of waste leftover to play around with.”
His kind smile and purple apron bearing an army-stenciled ‘f*** off’ embody the club’s tone: a relaxed, judgement free atmosphere with a focus on fermented foods.
The very act of fermenting with the aid of bacteria and yeast ensures the final product will be chock-full of beneficial gut flora which fortifies the digestive system.
First-year and club member Sydney Vannoy, was convinced to join the moment she saw Anders-MacLeod at the club fair.
According to her, Anders-MacLeod had no interest in contributing to the torrents of unchecked emails other prospective clubs were offering.
“Kaj was just sitting there and he had like a piece of lined paper, like everyone else had these big signs and he was just sitting there with a piece of lined paper,” Vannoy said.
Vannoy also joined the club because of her affinity for kombucha. According to her, the club gave her not only insight into the uses and methods of fermentation, but a flurry of friends.
“I made a lot of really close friends through it. We have to wait 30 minutes so we’re just chilling, we’re like forced to hang out,” Vannoy said.
Anders-MacLeod has ordered glass jars and scobies for the club (symbiotic culture necessary for making kombucha), and hopes to make some sauerkraut and kimchi soon. He has also been in contact with Mother Kombucha in St. Petersburg, who will be coming to Eckerd (tentatively on Mar. 27) to talk to students about the processes and benefits of kombucha.
Vannoy encourages interested members, especially underclassmen, to join. The club meets on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. in Kappa Lounge.