Unless you live somewhere with year-round sunshine, winter is a whole lot of grey on grey, white on white, beige on beige; it loses much of its magic after the first snows melt and the spice cookies have gone wayside. There are potatoes, cabbages, root vegetables. We coat them in cream for something different. This quickly and unsurprisingly begins to feel stifling.
The foil to beige-as-far-as-the-eye-can-see is funk—fermented, acidic, savory, nose-wrinkling funk. It's umami and then some, often very colorful (helloooo, beet kvass!), and accessible (in jars or by your own hands) even in the coldest months. It'll quickly turn a blank landscape of rice or hardy greens into something a lot more exciting. And if that's not reason enough to get a little funky, here are 11 more: