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garum-msg - 2/24/08

 

A fermented fish sauce used in ancient Rome. Also includes comments on a similar fish sauce called liquamen.

 

NOTE: See also the files: sauces-msg, fish-msg, murri-msg, spices-msg, pickled-foods-msg, vinegar-msg, verjuice-msg.

 

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NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given by the individual authors.

 

Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

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From: "Nick Sasso (fra niccolo)" <grizly at mindspring.com>

Date: Tue, 08 Jul 1997 15:12:41 -0400

Subject: Re: SC - Definition

 

> For those of us who are .... vocabularily challenged<g>, what is

> "liquamen"?

>

> Caitlin

 

   "liquamen":  another name for garum.  A fermented fish sauce used in

ancient Rome.  Made by layering in a well sealed barrel, fatty fish such

as mackerel or sardine, strong herbs, and about

1 1/2" of salt.  Layer this until the barrel is filled and seal.  Leave

in the sun for about seven days.  After this fermentation, stir daily

for 2-3 weeks until it has turned to liquid.

 

You'll find a detailed description of various methods and varieties on

pages 27-29 in _A Taste of Ancient Rome_ by Giacosa.  I have used

oriental fish sauce, but it lacks the punch described of the original.

Maybe adding the strong herbs to steep for a while in the fish sauce

would help.  Ant other suggestions would be appreciated as this is a

common Roman condiment in cooking.

 

Giacosa also offers two suggested preparations for garum on p. 29 for

those who wish to avoid the seven day fermentation :o)

- --

In Humble Service to God and Crown;

 

fra nicol¢ difrancesco

(mka nick sasso)

 

 

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Date: Tue, 08 Jul 1997 15:55:47 -0400

Subject: Re: SC - Definition

 

Nick Sasso (fra niccolo) wrote:

 

>    "liquamen":  another name for garum.  A fermented fish sauce used in

> ancient Rome.  Made by layering in a well sealed barrel, fatty fish such

> as mackerel or sardine, strong herbs, and about

> 1 1/2" of salt.  Layer this until the barrel is filled and seal.  Leave

> in the sun for about seven days.  After this fermentation, stir daily

> for 2-3 weeks until it has turned to liquid.

 

Bear in mind that there's  more than one recipe available for liquamen.

Some of them omit the "strong herbs" (some recipes specify oregano, but

others specify only fish and salt). Some also call for whole fish, and

others call for fish entrails.

> You'll find a detailed description of various methods and varieties on

> pages 27-29 in _A Taste of Ancient Rome_ by Giacosa. I have used

> oriental fish sauce, but it lacks the punch described of the original.

 

That would be hard to say for sure until you had experienced the punch

of the original. It would also depend on _what_ oriental fish sauce you

are referring to. There are dozens, some made from the whole fish or

fish entrails as mentioned above, and some made from cleaned fish. Some

are made from shrimp. Asia is a big place, and every hundred miles or so

you come to a place where they think the people you just saw a hundred

miles back are jerks who couldn't make fish sauce if their lives

depended on it. :  ) Variations on a central theme are therefore common.

 

> Maybe adding the strong herbs to steep for a while in the fish sauce

> would help.  Ant other suggestions would be appreciated as this is a

> common Roman condiment in cooking.

 

That's just about the only solution I can think of, unless you make the

stuff yourself. I'm not so sure about how much kick actual Roman

liquamen might or might not have had, actually. There are recipes that

call for adding it to wine as a beverage, IIRC. It might be a question

of total effect, where you use a lot to get a powerful effect, and less

for a more subtle approach.

 

Adamantius

 

 

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Date: Tue, 08 Jul 1997 16:06:16 -0400

Subject: Re: SC - Definition

 

Peters, Rise J. wrote:

> For those of us who are .... vocabularily challenged<g>, what is "liquamen"?

>

> Caitlin

 

I seem to be getting messages out of sequence. As previously stated,

liquamen, at least in ancient Roman usage, is a salty, tangy condiment

made from fish. It is described as being a semi-clear liquid after the

solids settle out. The semisolid dregs are called allec or hallec and

are also used as a seasoning.

 

However, watch out: Platina calls for liquamen in his recipes, and he is

referring to rendered, liquid fat, such as melted lard or suet.

 

Adamantius

 

 

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Date: Tue, 08 Jul 1997 19:03:34 -0400

Subject: Re: Liquamen -- was: SC - Definition

 

Nick Sasso (fra niccolo) wrote:

 

> It seems that the brine keeps liquimen sanitary and promotes the

> liquification, so it doesn't seem all that bad to me. The salt also

> probably effects the pH to activate some of the enzymes and bacteria

> needed as well.  Strange to say the least.

 

As I understand the process (there was a big to-do on liquamen, garum,

nuoc mam, nampla, etc. in rec.food.historic a couple of weeks ago), the

salt is there to prevent the growth and reproduction of pathogenic

bacteria. This it does.

 

It does allow a certain proliferation of lactobaccili, even with the

high salinity. They eat whatever it is they eat and produce, in return,

lactic acid, in which the fish are effectively pickled, just like kosher

dills or sauerkraut.

 

Enzymes in the fish (especially if there are entrails involved) break

the fish down to a paste/liquid.

 

Yum! ;  )

 

Adamantius

 

 

From: Uduido at aol.com

Date: Tue, 8 Jul 1997 22:56:01 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: SC - Liquamen

 

In a message dated 97-07-08 16:53:56 EDT, you write:

<< what is "liquamen"? >>

 

I think it was a fish sauce used by the Romans. I use an oriental fish sauce

as a sub or if the dish is more subtle I use oyster sauce.

 

Lord Ras

 

 

From: "Melissa Martines" <melissa.martines at mail.corpfamily.com>

Date: Wed, 09 Jul 97 08:35:17 CST

Subject: SC - Garum

 

     I made some garum for the Roman Feast I did at our local May Tourney.

     I used mackerel (3.5 pounds cut into chunks), a lot of salt (6 pounds)

     oregano, coriander and cumin.

    

     I let it steep two weeks in the back of my car (I used a plastic beer

     fermenter for this) which sits in the sun most days (I went for two

     weeks since the Tennessee sunshine in March is probably not as

     powerful as the Italian).

    

     Then, I began stirring it.  It does make a nice, clear, oily liquid.  

     And, thanks probably to the salt, it never smelled (for which my lord

     was very grateful when I moved it into the house).

    

     The overwhelming taste of the stuff was salt.  There was an undertaste

     of fish, and the herbs left a pleasant aftertaste.

    

     Everyone who tried it liked it -- the Baroness particularly liked it

     on the hardboiled egges in the salad :).

    

     In my research, I concluded that when recipes call for it, they are

     actually after the salt taste.  The fish oil (very rich in nutrients)

     is an added benefit without a lot of added taste.

    

     Morgan

 

 

From: Mark Schuldenfrei <schuldy at abel.MATH.HARVARD.EDU>

Date: Wed, 9 Jul 1997 10:24:51 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Re: Liquamen -- was: SC - Definition

 

Adamantius wrote:

  As I understand the process (there was a big to-do on liquamen, garum,

  nuoc mam, nampla, etc. in rec.food.historic a couple of weeks ago), the

  salt is there to prevent the growth and reproduction of pathogenic

  bacteria. This it does.

 

Indeed.  While some of the exchange got stupidly personal and silly, it is

well worth checking with http://www.dejanews.com for the thread, looking

especially for postings from Andrew Smith.  It was, shall we say,

definitive.  Check in the May/June timeframe.

 

      Tibor

 

 

Date: Mon, 9 Mar 1998 18:01:13 EST

From: LrdRas <LrdRas at aol.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Gulf Wars & a question

 

mfgunter at fnc.fujitsu.com writes:

<< I've been reading the Roman recipe website and wondered if liquamen could

be substituted with nuoc muam sauce?  I know we've discussed stuff like this

before.

 

Gunthar >>

 

I always sub Thai fish sauce or a similar Far Eastern fish sauce for

"liquamen". I do not know how close actual manufacturing methods are to the

Roman stuff but, IMHO, such a substitution is far more justified than water or

broth. :-)

 

Ras

 

 

Date: Fri, 7 Aug 1998 18:10:43 -0700

From: Rob Baldassano <odla at best.com>

Subject: RE: SC - Garum & Verjuice production sources?

 

>Can anyone direct me to recipe/directions for Verjuice and garum?

>niccolo difrancesco

 

As for the Garum, there are recipes documented in Rosenbaum & Flowers

translation of Apicius "The Roman Cookery Book", they include the

fermented version that was made in mass production and a quick version

you can make on your stove top in one afternoon. I no longer have a

copy of the book, it was lent to me a couple of years ago when I did a

course of Roman food at a feast,  and I have since returned it to its owner.

 

Euriol of Lothian

 

 

[Submitted by: Marilyn Traber <margali at 99main.com>]

Subject: [Apicius] garum/liquamen

Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999 18:41:08 PST

From: "Susan Hryckiewicz" <susanh99 at hotmail.com>

To: Apicius at onelist.com

 

This gets down to language semantics, but there is a subtle difference

in concept.  Is ÒgarumÓ a translation of ÒliquamenÓ or a period

equivalent term?

 

Is it a term in current usage anywhere in the world?

 

If it is a modern translation, WHY?  Where did the word come from, and

how? Any clues?

 

Susan Hryckiewicz

Selivia de l'Estoile, Lochac (Australia)

 

 

Subject: [Apicius] garum

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 15:36:17 GMT

From: Carol Dery <sr045 at lamp.ac.uk>

To: Apicius at onelist.com

 

The ancient Greeks used a fish sauce called garos (not garon - this is the

accusative case which is why it is not in the dictionary) from about the

fifth century BC, and it is this that the Romans took over. Garum (Lat.)

derives from garos (Gk. actually a type of fish). The Romans used the

various types of fish sauce very much more than the Greeks ever did however,

which is why not many people know about the Greek version.

 

As regards the various terminology for Roman fish sauces, it goes like this:

Garum is the name for the best quality fish sauce (garum sociorum is the

very best of all - It was made in Spain from mackerel), but it is also used

generically in the early empire.

 

Liquamen was originally an inferior product to garum, but by the time of the

late Empire (when Apicius' cookbook was being compiled), liquamen had

largely replaced garum as a generic term for fish sauce.

 

There is also something called muria, which is the pickle that salt fish was

transported in. It could also be used to pickle other things as well.

 

Then there is allec, which is a fish paste. The other three are all liquids.

 

Carol

 

 

Subject: [Apicius] Re: garum/liquamen

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 05:22:11 -0600

From: Bill Thayer <petworth at suba.com>

To: Apicius at onelist.com

 

Pliny (XXXI.xliii.93, direct local link to the passage online at

http://www.ukans.edu/history/index/europe/ancient_rome/E/Roman/Texts/Pliny_the_

Elder/31*.html#93>

 

is very mildly helpful, merely stating that _garum_ comes from some fish

the Greeks call _garon_, although in his time the stuff was no longer

produced from that fish.

 

If this is true, it's unlikely to be _karon_ since _k_ and _g_ both existed

as separate sounds and letters in both Greek and Latin. Also, garum doesn't

involve shrimp, and Pliny is rather careful about differentiating between

fish and other sea life: he's writing a natural history encyclopedia, after

all.

   Varro unfortunately only refers to the word _garum_ (ix.66) to tell you

that it has no plural because it's something sold by weight, i.e. not

enumerable.

 

BT

 

 

Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 11:48:04 -0800

From: Lilinah biti-Anat <lilinah at grin.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: Apicius site, some thoughts

 

Aislinn C. C. wrote:

>I have no idea if it is the same plant used by the Romans. Tannahill

>gives an intriguing process for making liquamen in her book. Would

>modern oyster sauce make a good substitute? Adamantius?

 

I've never tasted actual Roman style liquamen, but have had various

fish sauces from around 4 different Southeast Asian countries.

 

I recommend Thai fish sauce (nam pla). Vietnamese fish sauce is a

decent second. I REALLY didn't like the taste of Philippino fish

sauce, nor of Chinese fish sauce. Personal taste.

 

But i should think, knowing how they and liquamen are made, at least

from reading books, that any of them would be closer to liquamen than

oyster sauce, since it isn't made from fish, and has all sorts of

other additives, whereas the Southeast Asian fish sauces are just

little fish and salt, like liquamen.

 

Anahita Gauri bint-Karim al-hakim al-Fassi

 

 

Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 12:07:24 -0800

From: Lilinah biti-Anat <lilinah at grin.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: Apicius site, some thoughts

 

Iu'liana

>aislinncc at mailcity.com writes:

> >Would modern oyster sauce make a good substitute? Adamantius?

>

>I was wondering if Nuoc Nam Nhi would work.

 

Yeah. That would be fine, as far as i can tell. That's Vietnamese

fish sauce. Thai fish sauce is similar. Both much closer to liquamen

than Chinese oyster sauce (has sugar and other stuff - i don't have a

bottle on hand to list all other additives)

 

Anahita

 

 

Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 20:50:05 EST

From: ChannonM at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Re: Apicius site, some thoughts

 

Garum or liquamen to me is a much more substantial sauce than the fish sauces

so far mentioned, unless one of them is more substantial than the nuoc mam

sauce I have seen and tasted. I prefer to use anchovy paste, which is simply

anchovies and salt. For the various garum/liquamen sauces ie

oxygarum,hydrogarum, oenogarum- I simply combine it with the appropriate

liquid vinegar, water or wine respectively.   There is a gentleman he is an

Italian chef, operating a restaurant in Rome I believe) who regularly posts

on the Apicius list and during a thread on this topic put it very well. I

have discussed using his post with him and here it is, in its entirety,

...... go for it Stefan, this would be an excellent contribution to the

Florilegium! (IMO)- Hauviette

 

Marco Bernini writes--I am probably going to ignite some controversy here but

I do not agree that Nuoc mam and garum are the same thing at all.Nuoc mam is basically a fish based soy sauce originally made by fermenting anchovies in brine.  Today it is often made with concentrated extracts that are then diluted, the resulting sauce is very watery and quite like fishy soy sauce.  Most eastern cuisines have a sauce of this sort; the chinese have fish soy, the thaiÕs also have a variant as do the Malays and so on.

 

Garum or liquamen has many recipes according to who you read, it is

alternately made from whole fish, fish livers or fish guts and blood

depending on whoÕs description you read.  This is then layered alternately

with lots of salt and herbs of various sorts again depending on whoÕs recipe you use.  The container is then sealed and left to macerate NOT ROT as is commonly thought, it is impossible for the contents to rot due to the large amount of salt present.

 

What happens is that the fish liquefy over time as the coarse salt melts and

a thick lumpy brine is formed.  This is then strained either finely or

coarsely depending on the use it is intended for

 

My reasoning is based on the following:

I am Roman, I was born in the city am 34 years old and live there today

though I have lived much of my life in the UK.  I am a restaurateur and chef

and have an extensive knowledge of Italian cuisine as well as being trained

in classical french, modern British, Chinese, Japanese and Thai.

 

Italian regional cuisine is very ancient in its origins, many dishes that are

eaten today in Rome on the tables of the ordinary citizens and in the Roman

campagna (not the restaurants which barring a few exceptions are bastardized

and atypical) bear a great resemblance to those eaten by the ordinary

citizens of Rome two millennia ago.  Certainly new ingredients have been

added (most notably the tomato and chilli pepper) as they have been discovered

over the centuries but the basic style of the food remains the same.  The crux of the matter is this; if garum was indeed as essential an ingredient in Roman

cuisine as we are told by ancient texts then it is very likely that it would remain in the Roman diet in some prominent form today (much as soy sauce and Nuoc mam being very ancient still feature prominently in the far east).  The fact that Italy has no Nuoc mam type sauce today nor has it had in living memory leads me to conclude that garum cannot have been a sauce like nuoc mam or it would remain in use today; not just in Italy but in Spain, Greece and North

Africa, it is simply impossible for such an important ingredient to have disappeared from all of these countries without trace.

 

What does remain in all of these countries is an enormous production of

anchovies and other Ôpesci azzurriÕ (sardines, mackerel etc.).  These are

produced in canned form via salting and then packing with olive oil and

sometimes herbs and also as pureed form in tubes for simplified use in

cooking.  Anchovies are used extensively in mediterranean cuisine to impart

salty ÔseaÕ flavour to food, they are sometimes used in stews and soups,

often used in sautŽed clams and other seafood, they are used in salad

dressings and chopped in salads and on top of pizzas, wrapped around olives

and capers,  put on hard boiled eggs and so on and so on. As you can see

they are very important today.  It is my opinion that garum is the ancestor

of the salted anchovy whether whole, filleted, pureed or in herbs; at some

point production changed to a less liquefied product, possibly due to reduced production period, faster transport or maybe just a change in tastes.

 

Anyway, thatÕs my opinion for what its worth, accept it or not its up to

you.But I will tell you one thing, try sprinkling nuoc mam on a endive salad and

then making one using the recipe I suggest below.  Bet you never use the nuoc

mam again. (remember when using it as a dressing to add a olive oil and wine

vinegar plus pepper to taste.)

 

Below is a recipe from Gargilius Martialis 3rd C AD as published in the

excellent book ÒA Cena da LuculloÓ by Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa (published in

English as ÒA Taste of Ancient RomeÓ) plus a quick and clean variation that I

have developed myself from a modern day Roman salad dressing.

 

Garum (Gargilius Martialis 3C AD)

Use fresh fatty fish e.g.. anchovies, sardines or mackerel.

Dried aromatic herbs such as: dill, coriander, fennel, celery seed, mint,

oregano and rosemary.

Coarse sea salt

Clean and wash the fish removing heads fins and guts if desired. (the guts

impart a bitter flavour) Taking a large preserving or pickling jar (the wider

the better) place a generous layer of herbs on the the bottom of the jar then

place a  layer of fish on the top (cutting the fish into sections if it is

large) placing them fairly tightly packed.

Over this add a layer of coarse sea salt (must be sea salt) about * inch

thick!  Repeat these three layers till you have filled the jar to the top.

Let the container rest in the sun for seven days (this is the traditional way).

Then mix the sauce daily for a further twenty days.  After that time it

becomes a liquid and can be filtered if necessary.

Here is a quickish clean garum of my own:

 

6 tubes of anchovy paste, (or 12 small tins of anchovy fillets drained and

liquidized) * teaspoon of each of the above herbs but fresh if possible.

1 clove of Garlic (crush it with the side of a knife)

Pepper

Good olive oil

Wine vinegar

Finely chop the herbs and place in a bowl. Add the anchovy paste, add the

crushed garlic clove, ground black pepper (the quantity will dictate the

ÔhotnessÕ of the garum) a little vinegar and the olive oil, mix well (in

ablender if necessary)

The resulting sauce should pour easily, if not add more oil or white wine if

you like. Store in the fridge for a day before use and always shake well before

adding to recipes.  Use sparingly as it is salty and often replaces salt in

recipes.  Makes an excellent dressing for lettuce and rocket salads, the

traditional Roman hors dÕoeuvre and is used in Rome today to dress

ÒpuntarelleÓ a salad leaf from the dandelion family that has been eaten in

and around Romefor more than 2,000 years.Enjoy!

 

P.S.  If you should keel over with food poisoning after trying the ancient

recipe I deny any responsibility!   :)

Marco Berni

 

 

Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 21:03:03 -0500

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: Apicius site, some thoughts

 

Lilinah biti-Anat wrote:

> Aislinn C. C. wrote:

> >I have no idea if it is the same plant used by the Romans. Tannahill

> >gives an intriguing process for making liquamen in her book. Would

> >modern oyster sauce make a good substitute? Adamantius?

>

> I've never tasted actual Roman style liquamen, but have had various

> fish sauces from around 4 different Southeast Asian countries.

 

Definitely not modern oyster sauce. As it happens, I just happened to

sample (one of the few things I was able to sample) actual

garum/liquamen from Pliny's Historia Naturalis, and it was a light amber

color, a bit like filtered apple juice, but with a more substantial

mouth feel/body, and a definite anchovy taste. Yum! I ate mackerel guts!

And liked it! The only harshness to it was in the saltiness, which is

pretty much inevitable. If this was done right, it would seem to suggest

that the fish is preserved from rotting by the salt, and broken down

entirely by enzymatic action, unlike the processes that produce some of

the Southeast Asian fish sauces, at least some of which involve lactic

fermentation, as do things like sauerkraut.

 

> I recommend Thai fish sauce (nam pla). Vietnamese fish sauce is a

> decent second. I REALLY didn't like the taste of Philippino fish

> sauce, nor of Chinese fish sauce. Personal taste.

 

There are decent Philipino sauces, you need to watch for the ones that

contain anchovies and salt, and avoid ones with vinegar, these are

basically sauces that are artificially flavored to resemble the real

thing.

 

> But i should think, knowing how they and liquamen are made, at least

> from reading books, that any of them would be closer to liquamen than

> oyster sauce, since it isn't made from fish, and has all sorts of

> other additives, whereas the Southeast Asian fish sauces are just

> little fish and salt, like liquamen.

 

Yep. Oyster sauce is oyster essence (reduced stock made from dried

oysters), sugar, cornstarch, sometimes some caramel coloring, sometimes

soy sauce. The best oyster sauces are the ones for which oysters or

oyster essence are the first ingredient listed.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 21:44:14 -0500

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: Apicius site, some thoughts

 

ChannonM at aol.com wrote:

> What happens is that the fish liquefy over time as the coarse salt melts and

> a thick lumpy brine is formed.  This is then strained either finely or

> coarsely depending on the use it is intended for

 

According to Pliny (admittedly only one source) clear brine (hence the

term liquamen) is siphoned off from the solids, which are used as an

entirely different product called halec.

 

> Italian regional cuisine is very ancient in its origins, many dishes that are

> eaten today in Rome on the tables of the ordinary citizens and in the Roman

> campagna (not the restaurants which barring a few exceptions are bastardized

> and atypical) bear a great resemblance to those eaten by the ordinary

> citizens of Rome two millennia ago.  Certainly new ingredients have been

> added (mostnotably the tomato and chilli pepper) as they have been discovered

> over the

> centuries but the basic style of the food remains the same.  The crux of the

> matter is this; if garum was indeed as essential an ingredient in Roman

> cuisine

> as we are told by ancient texts then it is very likely that it would remain

> in the Roman diet in some prominent form today (much as soy sauce and Nuoc mam

> being very ancient still feature prominently in the far east).  The fact that

> Italy has no Nuoc mam type sauce today nor has it had in living memory leads

> me to conclude that garum cannot have been a sauce like nuoc mam or it would

> remain in use today; not just in Italy but in Spain, Greece and North

> Africa,it is simply impossible for such an important ingredient to have

> disappeared from all of these countries without trace.

 

Actually, it hasn't. One very halec-like paste that is very common in

the south of France is pissalat. Another consideration is that as Rome

is not really a seaport, it's unlikely a center of manufacture for garum

would develop there. On the Mediterranean coastlines of what are now

Spain, France, Italy and Greece, you'll find what seem to be remains of

garum factories.

 

I wonder if there was some kind of climactic or other shift in the

migrations of some of the fish traditionally used in the manufacture of

liquamen, which might explain why the fish so prepared seemed to be

growing smaller over time, leading perhaps to the modern salted anchovy.

Which, by the way, is not necessarily a moist product packed in oil, you

can still find them in barrels in France, whole, dry, and packed in

salt. Many recipes written before the 1960s have complete instructions

on how to desalt and fillet anchovies. Other possibilities might include

a dearth of garum-suitable fish, due to overfishing, and then there was

this thing called the Fall of The Roman Empire. Modern citizens of Rome

also don't speak Latin, wear togas, or demand that Carthage be

destroyed. That doesn't mean they never did these things. This is simply

an area where there's been sufficient change that a thread of cultural

identity has been cut. Just as there are modern languages closer in

pronunciation and form to Latin than modern Italian, there are other

places that used to be part of the Roman world that probably have closer

ties to the culture of ancient Rome than Rome itself now does, some even

that have never been successively invaded and ruled by Visigoths,

Lombards and Normans. Oh, my!

 

One place, by the way, that garum appears to have survived into the

early Middle Ages at least is Byzantium. There's a wonderfully plaintive

passage in the writings of Luidprandt, Bishop of Cremona (vaguely

Carolingian) concerning his treatment as a not-especially-welcome envoy

to the Byzantine Court. He arrived to escort a Byzantine princess back

north to wed the Holy Roman/Frankish emperor, and was, among other

indignities, left standing outside the gates in the rain for several

days. Finally he was allowed into the city, and was fed what may have

been a typical Byzantine upper-class meal. He describes it as "...foul

and stinking, soused in oil like some drunkard's slops, and the whole

sprinkled with some vile fishy liquid." This would have been ~9th-10th

centuries C.E.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 18:52:37 -0800

From: Lilinah biti-Anat <lilinah at grin.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: Apicius site, some thoughts

 

Hauviette posted a long and interesting message:

>Garum or liquamen to me is a much more substantial sauce than the fish sauces

>so far mentioned, unless one of them is more substantial than the nuoc mam

>sauce I have seen and tasted. I prefer to use anchovy paste...

(snip)

 

and she includes a message from Marco Bernini:

>--I am probably going to ignite some controversy here but I do not agree that

>Nuoc mam and garum are the same thing at all.Nuoc mam is basically a fish

>based soy sauce originally made by fermenting anchovies in brine.  Today it

>is often made with concentrated extracts that arethen diluted, the resulting

>sauce is very watery and quite like fishy soy sauce.

 

Well, i have to disagree with Mr. Bernini's comment. Having lived in

Southeast Asia and also eaten and cooked a great deal of Southeast

Asian food in America, Southeast Asian fish sauces are not like

"fishy soy sauce". They are made by heavily salting small fish,

letting them stand from some time (i'm not sure for how long), then

straining the resultant mess, errr, mass. The resultant liquid is

fish sauce. There's no soy sauce in any i've had. And as far as i

know, the process producing soy sauce is different from that

producing fish sauce, although i could be under-informed...

 

Mr. Bernini describes the process:

>And at least some liquamen/garum recipes seem to indicate a similar

>procedure. Garum or liquamen has many recipes according to who you read,

>it is alternately made from whole fish, fish livers or fish guts and blood

>depending on who’s description you read.  This is then layered alternately

>with lots of salt and herbs of various sorts again depending on who’s recipe

>you use.  The container is then sealed and left to macerate NOT ROT as is

>commonly thought, it is impossible for the contents to rot due to the large

>amount of salt present.

>What happens is that the fish liquefy over time as the coarse salt melts and

>a thick lumpy brine is formed.  This is then strained either finely or

>coarsely depending on the use it is intended for

 

What i'm not certain of is: how different is the liquid from this

stuff, finely strained, is from fish sauce? How different is the

process of producing Southeast Asian fish sauce from that of

producing liquamen/garum?

 

I've watched the beginnings of making some shrimp paste in an

Indonesian village (strictly for local use), and it was basically

layering tiny shrimp with salt and letting it stand, although i don't

know if  there was some sort of "starter" (along the lines of mother

of vinegar, or yeast, or using yogurt to start a new batch) or

something was introduced later in the process...

 

as Mr. Bernini continues:

>My reasoning is based on the following:

>I am Roman, I was born in the city am 34 years old and live there today...

(snip)

>The crux of the

>matter is this; if garum was indeed as essential an ingredient in Roman

>cuisine as we are told by ancient texts then it is very likely that it would

>remain in the Roman diet in some prominent form today (much as soy sauce

>and Nuoc mam being very ancient still feature prominently in the far east).

>The fact that Italy has no Nuoc mam type sauce today nor has it had in living

>memory leads me to conclude that garum cannot have been a sauce like nuoc

>mam or it would remain in use today; not just in Italy but in Spain,

>Greece and

>North Africa,it is simply impossible for such an important ingredient to have

>disappeared from all of these countries without trace.

 

Well, i don't agree with him here. After reading enough old

cookbooks, it seems to me that some things have disappeared from

cuisines, while new things have become popular. I don't think it can

be assumed that if something was important in the Roman Empire it

would necessarily survive virtually unchanged for 1500 years. Maybe

it did, but it seems to me highly likely that time did not stand

still even in isolated Italian country villages.

 

However, i like anchovies on my pizza and in my Caesar salad (yeah, I

know, not Italian). And I have no objection to anchovy paste. So if

anchovy paste is like liquamen/garum, I can live with that.

 

So, Master Adamantius, since you've tasted a liquamen made the old

Roman way, how different is it from fish sauce? How different from

liquified anchovy paste? Would a blend of the two in any way

approximate it, or would that be far too different?

 

(I don't think I'm ready to keep a jar of fish and salt layered in my

kitchen, although possibly some day...)

 

Anahita

 

 

Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 07:06:04 -0500

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: Apicius site, some thoughts

 

Lilinah biti-Anat wrote:

> Well, i have to disagree with Mr. Bernini's comment. Having lived in

> Southeast Asia and also eaten and cooked a great deal of Southeast

> Asian food in America, Southeast Asian fish sauces are not like

> "fishy soy sauce". They are made by heavily salting small fish,

> letting them stand from some time (i'm not sure for how long), then

> straining the resultant mess, errr, mass. The resultant liquid is

> fish sauce. There's no soy sauce in any i've had. And as far as i

> know, the process producing soy sauce is different from that

> producing fish sauce, although i could be under-informed...

 

The process is different, to say the least. Soybeans are boiled,

drained, mashed and formed into cakes, which are then left in a dark

place to grow a particular mold (as you mention in another context, a

starter may be added) in a process pretty similar to that used for

making sake. The mold-converted cakes are then steeped several times to

produce different grades of soy sauce, and some people eat the leftover

cakes, which are believed to be the cause of the extremely high rate of

stomach cancer in populations where soy sauce is made locally. Never

mind that so many Asians, even now, are chain smokers. But this is also,

I believe, the source of Charles Perry's theory that murri may be a

carcinogen, or contain carcinogens, because soy sauce is far, far more

like murri than like Asian fish sauce.

 

> Mr. Bernini describes the process:

> >And at least some liquamen/garum recipes seem to indicate a similar

> >procedure. Garum or liquamen has many recipes according to who you read,

> >it is alternately made from whole fish, fish livers or fish guts and blood

> >depending on who’s description you read.  This is then layered alternately

> >with lots of salt and herbs of various sorts again depending on who’s recipe

> >you use.

 

So, any claims anybody may make about garum are bound to be mostly

inaccurate because they won't apply across the board, while any

statements that _I_ may make, on the other hand, are accurate because of

common factors like salt...according to whose recipe you use? I don't

mean to wrong the man, but this seems a little too pat.

 

> >  The container is then sealed and left to macerate NOT ROT as is

> >commonly thought, it is impossible for the contents to rot due to the large

> >amount of salt present.

> >What happens is that the fish liquefy over time as the coarse salt melts and

> >a thick lumpy brine is formed.

 

And this is due not to the salt, either, but to the presence of enzymes

in great amounts in the fish entrails, and to a lesser extent in the

muscle itself (Some Philipino versions of bagoong, I think it's called,

are made with gutted fish: they'd likely be the source of the idea that

these sauces are supposed to be sour as well as salty and fishy).

 

> What i'm not certain of is: how different is the liquid from this

> stuff, finely strained, is from fish sauce? How different is the

> process of producing Southeast Asian fish sauce from that of

> producing liquamen/garum?

 

According to some authorities, not much, provided there's enough salt to

prevent lactic fermentation, which does occur in some Asian fish sauces,

but not in all.

 

> I've watched the beginnings of making some shrimp paste in an

> Indonesian village (strictly for local use), and it was basically

> layering tiny shrimp with salt and letting it stand, although i don't

> know if  there was some sort of "starter" (along the lines of mother

> of vinegar, or yeast, or using yogurt to start a new batch) or

> something was introduced later in the process...

 

No starter, AFAIK. I've seen this shrimp paste in jars in my

neighborhood, in several forms, some made from dried shrimp, producing a

mysterious purplish paste, others grey or nearly white, depending on

differences in the process according to different regional traditions.

 

> After reading enough old

> cookbooks, it seems to me that some things have disappeared from

> cuisines, while new things have become popular. I don't think it can

> be assumed that if something was important in the Roman Empire it

> would necessarily survive virtually unchanged for 1500 years. Maybe

> it did, but it seems to me highly likely that time did not stand

> still even in isolated Italian country villages.

 

Ya think? ;  )  As I said, the toga, real Latin, and a dislike for

Certain North African Empires comes to mind as social factors that have

simply become extinct. I'm sure there are other culinary examples that

come to mind: certain of the wine preparations, for example, the habit

of boiling and pureeing vegetables only to thicken them again into

custards, probably the extensive use of pennyroyal. I'm sure there are others.

 

> However, i like anchovies on my pizza and in my Caesar salad (yeah, i

> know, not Italian).

 

Mexican or Italian descent, however.

 

> And i have no objection to anchovy paste. So if

> anchovy paste is like liquamen/garum, i can live with that.

>

> So, Master Adamantius, since you've tasted a liquamen made the old

> Roman way, how different is it from fish sauce? How different from

> liquified anchovy paste? Would a blend of the two in any way

> approximate it, or would that be far too different?

 

Real garum seems to taste pretty close to anchovy paste, but the color

and texture aren't even close, and the aroma of either is actually

rather mild compared to what you might expect. I guess it would depend

on your use. What I tasted was a clear yellowish-to-amber liquid, with a

body or "mouth feel" like ale; it's as if it had a high enough specific

gravity you could taste it -- it's a bit heavier than the SE Asian fish

sauces I'm familiar with. A slight oiliness, but not much -- I assume

this is natural fish oil. Garum was always thought to be an extremely

healthy food product, provided you're not a tunny or a mackerel... . It

definitely tasted of anchovies, and then so did the nam pla that was

placed alongside it for comparison, but they weren't the same. I think

perhaps the trace of oil was missing from the nam pla. Maybe if one were

to blenderize a can of anchovies in oil in nam pla or another

non-vinegar-based fish sauce, then let the solids settle out, that'd be

a closer approximation. I'm also a bit surprised that some of the

"quick" boiled versions haven't been experimented with more. I think

it's what Flower and Rosenbaum used for their various trials of Roman

recipes.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2000 20:39:53 -0600

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Lady Seaton's Project

 

At 12:22 PM -0500 3/18/00, Elaine Koogler wrote:

>One other pitfall is the fact that recipes, particularly in Apicius

>and Platina,

>as well as other sources, call for liquamen or "garum".  As this is a type of

>fish sauce, it cannot be consumed by vegetarians.

 

So far as I know, Apicius is the only period cookbook that calls for

this ingredient. Platina, at least the translation Mallinkdrodt

published (I haven't checked the new translation), refers to liquamen

but describes it in a way that makes it clear it is an entirely

different ingredient--not fish sauce but (I think) pork fat, or

something similar. And Apicius, while "period" in the literal sense,

is dubiously appropriate to SCA feasts, given how early it is.

 

Do you know of any post-roman cookbooks that use garum?

 

David Friedman

ddfr at best.com

http://www.best.com/~ddfr/

 

 

Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2000 09:10:07 EST

From: ChannonM at aol.com

Subject: SC - Re: garum in Anthimus

 

<< Do you know of any post-roman cookbooks that use garum? >>

 

In Mark Grant's On the Observance of Foods, a 6th Century letter to the King

of the Franks, fish sauce is metioned, sometimes Anthimus discourages it's use, sometimes encouraging it. However, I do not have the original latin in order to verify whether the word is garum or fish sauce per se. Thomas, any thoughts?

 

Hauviette

 

 

Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2000 21:56:54 +0100

From: Thomas Gloning <gloning at Mailer.Uni-Marburg.DE>

Subject: SC - garum in Anthimus & Capitulare de villis

 

<<... whether the word is garum or fish sauce per se >>

 

In one place (Anthimus #9 De porco domestico), the word is _liquamen_, a

younger word, according to Andre in use since the 1st century, meaning

the same as _garum_: "nam _liquamen_ ex omni parte prohibimus", 'we

forbid the use of liquamen [in preparing porcus domesticus] totally'.

The second place, already mentioned by Adamantius too, is recipe #34

with something like _egrogarium_, according to Karl Mras a late Latin

form of "hygrogarium", 'garum with water'.

 

More important seems a passage in the Capitulare de Villis (about 800),

where is stated that garum (and other stuff) must be produced

_carefully_, _diligently_:

 

"34. Omnino praevivendum est cum omni diligentia, ut quicquid manibus

laboraverint aut fecerint, id est lardum, siccamen, sulcia, niusaltus,

vinum, acetum, moratum, vinum, coctum, GARUM, sinape, formaticum,

butirum, bracios, cervisas, medum, mel, ceram, farinam, omnia cum summo

nitore sint facta vel parata". (Source: Boretius, A., ed., Capitularia

regum francorum, Tomus primus, Hannoverae 1883, p. 86).

 

Thomas

 

 

Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 11:53:28 EDT

From: DianaFiona at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Liquamen question

 

mermayde at juno.com writes:

<< In a pan greased with butter or liquamen,

In reading this line from the Armored Turnips recipe, I have to wonder

about the greasy quality of liquamen.  I was not given to understand that

it was an oily sauce, more of a dark brown fermented fish sauce.  Is

there sufficient oil in liquamen to make a grease substitute, or is the

reference talking about either greasing the pan or coating it with

liquamen?

Christianna

pondering the finer points of rotted fish >>

 

    I'm sure others will fill in if my memory is faulty here, but from prior

discussions of this I think I recall that we are dealing with a change in

definition over the years. Apicius did indeed mean a fish sauce when he used

the term "liquamen", but by the time we get to Platina, the term had come to

mean "fat", probably lard or similar animal fats. So, with that knowledge the

usage makes perfect sense! ;-) It's just confusing when you read the word in

various different manuscripts separated by the centuries..........

 

                    Ldy Diana

 

 

Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000 11:23:53 -0400

From: Gaylin <iasmin at home.com>

Subject: SC - Garum and Piscinae

 

So this book I've picked up because of my addiction. To books,

that is. Found it on remainder and just *had* to buy it. You

know how you get that feeling sometimes? The one that says

"I know this is absolutely necessary, but I don't know why"?

That's why I bought it. Here's the book:

 

    Higginbotham, James. (1997). Piscinae: Artificial Fishponds

    in Roman Italy. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North

    Carolina Press. ISBN: 0-8078-2329-5 [Ed. Note: I got this

    on remainder from Edward R. Hamilton Booksellers for about

    14$US. You might be able to find it cheaper elsewhere.]

 

As I was reading along this morning, I discovered something that

people here might find interesting about garum production,

including some references that I don't believe anyone has

mentioned before. This is going to be a long one, so stay with

me and accept my forgiveness for the cross-posting.

 

In the introduction, while discussing the modern scholarship

done on ancient piscinae (fishponds) Higginbottom writes:

 

    "Since Jacono [Ed.: Luigi Jacono's study on Naples seaside ruins

    of piscinae], the study of Roman pisciculture has progressed

    along several paths. The ancient fishing industry, involving the

    manufacture and trade of processed fish products such as garum,

    has received the lion's share of attention (5). These studies

    have focused on tanks and complexes in Spain, southern France,

    and North Africa. Though garum production certainly took place

    in Italy, the bulk of this trade emanated from the western

    provinces (6)". [page 2]

 

Here are the footnotes associated with the text, in which I've

separated out each reference to make it easier to read. I think

many of you will find these interesting:

 

    (5) M. Ponsich and M. Tarradell, _Garum et industries antiques

    de salaison dans la Méditerranée occidentale_ (Pariis 1965);

 

    O. Da Veiga Ferreira, "Algunas consideracoes sobre as fabricas

    de conservas de peixed antiquidade encontradas em Portugal, "

    _Archivo de Beja_ 23-24 (1966-67) 123-34;

 

    R. Sanquer and P. Galliou, "Garum, sel et salaisons en Armorique

    gallo-romaine," _Gallia_ 30 (1972) 199-223;

 

    R.I. Curtis, _Garum and Salsamenta: Production and Commerce in

    Materia Medica_ (Leiden 1991);

 

    J. C. Edmondson, _Two Industries in Roman Lusitania: Mining and

    Garum Production, BAR International Series, 362 (Oxford 1987);

 

    M. Ponsich, _Asceite de oliva y salazones de pescado: Factores

    geo-económicos de Bética y Tingitania_ (Madrid 1988).

 

    (6) For evidence of Italian production, see R. I. Curtis, "A.

    Umbricius Scaurus of Pompeii, " in _Studia Pompeiana et

    Classica in Honor of Wilhelmina F. Jashemski 1_ (New Rochelle,

    N.Y. 1988) 19-49, and _Garum and Salsameta_ (ibid.) 85-96.

    Fish sauce production is hypothesized at Cosa on the basis of rather

    tenuous evidence; see A. M. McCann, J. Bourgeois, E. K. Gazda, J. P.

    Oleson, and E. L. Will, _The Roman Port and Fishery of Cosa_

    (Princeton 1987) 340-41.

 

In his chapter on "Fishponds as Emblems of Social Status", the author

also writes:

 

    There was, however, great profit in the production of preserved

    fish and processed fish products. According to the literary record,

    several sites in Italy were known for the production of garum,

    liquamen, allec, muria, and other processed fish products. (6)

 

And again the footnote:

 

    (6) _RE_ 8 (1912) 841-49, s.v. Garum (R. Zahn):

 

    P. Grimal and T. Monod, "Sur le véritable nature du 'garum,'"

    _REA_ 54 (1952) 27-38;

 

    C. Jardin "Garum et sauces de poisson de l'antiguité,"  _RStlig 27

    (1961) 70-96;

 

    T. H. Corcoran, "Roman Fish Sauces," _CJ_ 58 (1963) 204-10;

 

    R.I. Curtis, "In Defense of Garum," CJ 78 (1983) 232-40;

 

    R.I. Curtis, "Salted Fish Products in Ancient Medicine," _Journal

    of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences_ 39 (1984) 430-35;

 

    R.I. Curtis, _Garum and Salsamenta: Production and Commerce in

    Materia Medica_ (Leiden 1991).

 

The abbreviations of note: RStLig is "Rivista di studi liguri"; CJ is

"Classical Journal"; and RE is A. Pauly and G. Wissowa's "Real-

Encyclopädie de klassishen Altertumswissenschaft".

 

My apologies for the bandwidth, again, but I'm certain at least someone

will find some use in these references considering the debate that

regularly occurs about acceptable substitutes for garum and liquamen

in the recipes we research. If you need copies of this information from

the book itself, let me know and we'll work something out.

 

Jasmine

Iasmin "Yes, I'm Addicted" de Cordoba, iasmin at home.com

AOL AIM: IasminDeCordoba

 

PS: Typos are most likely my own, especially on the non-English

articles. Also, apologies to those of you who get a little garbage in the

message from the accents and umlauts.

 

 

Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 08:00:15 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - fish (OP)

 

Stefan li Rous wrote:

> Thanks, folks. Before hearing the descriptions and comments on 'fish

> sauce' here, I doubt I would have considered this dish. I also have a

> bottle or two of fish sauce here at home that I bought when exploring

> some of the Asian groceries here in town.

 

What kind of fish sauce did you buy? Nam pla, nuoc mam, patis, what? I

think nuoc mam is the mildest, and I've found that patis is about the

closest to the garum I tasted at the A&S event we did a while back, but

it is quite... aromatic, when heated You might want to cook with it when

your lady wife is out ;  ) . When I used patis in an Anthimus recipe

workshop, I turned my back for a minute and some bounder let off some

kind of fish-packed stink bomb on site. It was enough to put one off

one's patis.  

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 00:07:13 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] RE: -cran wine/vinegar...

 

XvLoverCrimvX at aol.com wrote:

> Anyone know what kind of yeast you put in wine to ferment it. And if you

> ferment garum or liquamen, does it have a alcoholic tendency or do you put in

> a certain kind of yeast for that?

>

> Misha

 

The fermentation in fish sauce is lactobacillic, accomplished by

bacteria more akin to acidophilus than to yeasts. The fermentation is

secondary, though, to the enzymes from the fish entrails digesting the

fish guts and flesh. Ever eat a shrimp that had a sort of nasty, pasty,

creamy texture? Same principle. When shrimp are stored for too long at

the wrong temperature, the enzymes in their digestive tracts begin to

break down the flesh.

 

In the case of Roman and most Asian fish sauces, the presence of large

amounts of salt actually prevents much of the fermentation that would

otherwise occur.

 

There is no alcohol production worth speaking of, because there is no

yeast activity worth speaking of, and presumably precious little sugar, either.

 

Fish sauce isn't actively cultured/pitched/innoculated at all, although

it's possible that the wooden vats involved may have absorbed some

souring lactobacilli which go dormant between uses, as with certain

cheeses (most, actually), ales, etc.

 

I will try, eventually, to get to posting the recipes from the

Geoponica, for the "fermented" and the quick or boiled versions of

garum. I would think the fact that a quick, boiled version exists for

immediate use would preclude much in the way of souring in the

"fermented" product, assuming they are supposed to be interchangable as

far as usage goes. I mean, artificial vanilla, for example, should not

taste like chocolate or there'd be no point. It should taste, at least

to some recognizable extent, like vanilla. [And the first person who

tells me vanillin is an aromatic and not a flavoring gets a smack for

wasting everybody's time nitpicking. Kok ni ga haw!] My point is that if

an unfermented version could, in theory, pass for the fermented stuff,

the fermented stuff probably wasn't very fermented.

 

"Fermented", though, is a bit of a sore point for me; people simply

refuse to abandon use of the term in connection with things like fish

sauce, various preserved duck eggs, etc., because they want, deep down,

to misrepresent foods as more grotesque than they actually are.

 

Adamantius

 

 

From: "Amanda Poirier" <griet at rogers.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Two batches of Garum (for anyone here who knows)

Date: Sat, 26 Jun 2004 13:02:34 GMT

 

"Robert Uhl" <ruhl at 4dv.net> wrote

> "JE Anderson" <eirika at shaw.ca> writes:

> > May I ask for the recipe and where you found it?  This is something I

> > would love to try making myself.

>

> ISTR that the Florilegium has a recipe.  It goes something like: get a

> cask; line the bottom with salt, then alternate layers of fish and salt

> until the cask is full, finishing with a layer of salt; set aside for a

> long while; when the cask is full of liquid and has cast a sediment, the

> garum is ready.  The garum is the liquid; the sediment has, to my

> knowledge, no use other than as fertiliser.

>

> Food preservation is _cool_.  The Lord's Salt preserved roast beef for

> six weeks (one week of which was in 100+ temperatures in Missouri), and

> prob. would have longer, had I not finished it off.  Right now I've

> pickled lemons & limes in my pantry, and I've onions & garlics pickling

> as well.  And I cannot wait to try the meat pies which last at least a

> fortnight.  Keeping meat, unrefrigerated, on one's counter for weeks is

> coolness itself.

>

> I am _perhaps_ just a bit of a geek on the subject:-)

> --

> Robert Uhl <ruhl at 4dv.net>

 

<G>

Basically what I am doing is just that, however not haveing much sun over

here, I have been using low oven temperature on and off with the oven light

as a sun source to help "ferment" the fish. The fish I used for my first

batch was a mixture of just about everything I could find... the second

batch was just Mackerel, sardines and anchovies (mostly mackerel).

 

Notes:

it did not juice up well until I made sure to get some really nice bloody

fish to the "stew" (that's what it looked like after a while) though I

avoided guts you will need blood to help it along.

 

You should use sea salt, I've tried both coarse and regular (both with no

additives) and they did not seem to make a difference in the end.

 

Do not be tempted to water the stuff down for more liquid... it will be

weaker fo course, but will not keep long at all. I used a bit of water to

soak the salt residue off of a pan... let it sit for about two days and it

smelled terrible and quickly developed a scum. This also shows how a high

salt level in the liquid is necessary, this liquid had quite a bit of salt

yet it went bad fairly quickly. When I salted my fish for the garum, I added

enough salt to cover the surface of the fish in each layer... after the

liquid started however I did stir it occasionally and checked for non salty

spots though few and far between.

 

 

Hope it helps!

 

Griet

 

MMm preserved lemons... did you salt them or use some other method?

 

 

Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2005 16:59:46 +0200

From: Volker Bach <carlton_bach at yahoo.de>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] ancient Roman cookery

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Am Donnerstag, 29. September 2005 15:52 schrieb Aurelia Coritana:

> I decided it really was about time for me to officially speak up on  

> this list! I am Aurelia Coritana in Ansteorra, a 1st c. Roman-Brit.

>

> My culinary interests are ancient Roman recipes (with fresh ingredients, of

> course, har har.) Does anyone else out there experiment with ancient

> cookery? If you've ever made anything with garum, I'd love to hear  

> from you.

>

> Aurelia

 

Me, I did. Regularly do. Not that being 'pre-period' is regarded highly in

central Drachenwald, but my secondary persona, Titus Flavius T.f. Artemidorus

is something of a gourmet.

 

I find that garum is a matter of quality and quantity. If you are using

Philippine 'bagoong balayam' as your substitute (barely filtered stuff,

grey-brown and opaque, quite nasty) it goes only with savoury fish or meat

dishes, and even then it usually 'tastes through' more delicate flavours. I

only use it in dishes with plenty of onions and/or garlic. A good (filtered,

liquid, brownish-red) Nuoc Mam or Nam Pla, on the other hand, harmonises with

almost any dish. I used a dash of it instead of the obligatory pinch of salt

with a honeyed pear patina, and eveybody praised it highly (unawares. Nobody

ever eats anything they know contains garum...)

 

Have you ever managed to get a Roman feast served? They're dead  

against it in my Shire.

 

Giano

 

 

Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2005 14:51:37 +0000

From: ekoogler1 at comcast.net

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] ancient Roman cookery

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

I have done some Roman recipes from Cato and Apicius...and in a  

couple I used what i believe is a garum/liquamen equivalent...Nam  

Pla, or fish sauce, from Viet Nam, etc.  The descriptions I have read  

regarding garum seem to fit what nam pla is, so that's why I chose to  

use it.  I just haven't the "stomach" or whatever to try to make my  

own.  The dishes I used it in were mostly vegetable dishes...and the  

flavor of the fish sauce seemed to enhance the veggies' flavor.  

Otherwise it was so innocuous that I forgot on once occasion that I  

had used it and was taken to task (kindly, I might add) for  

representing it as a vegetarian dish!

 

Kiri

 

 

Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2005 11:49:25 -0400

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius"

      <adamantius.magister at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] ancient Roman cookery

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

On Sep 29, 2005, at 10:51 AM, ekoogler1 at comcast.net wrote:

> I have done some Roman recipes from Cato and Apicius...and in a

> couple I used what i believe is a garum/liquamen equivalent...Nam

> Pla, or fish sauce, from Viet Nam, etc.  The descriptions I have

> read regarding garum seem to fit what nam pla is, so that's why I

> chose to use it.  I just haven't the "stomach" or whatever to try

> to make my own.  The dishes I used it in were mostly vegetable

> dishes...and the flavor of the fish sauce seemed to enhance the

> veggies' flavor.  Otherwise it was so innocuous that I forgot on

> once occasion that I had used it and was taken to task (kindly, I

> might add) for representing it as a vegetarian dish!

>

> Kiri

 

I like the Philippino "patis" fish sauce, myself, as it's more of a

salty, fishy richness, without either vinegar or that lactic-acid

tang (that the added vinegar is an attempt to reproduce, when it is

there) that some other SE Asian fish sauces have. I figure that the

quick, faux garum mentioned, I think, somewhere in the Geoponica, is

a boiled and strained fish, salt, and seasonings, and is mentioned as

being ready for immediate use, so I get the sense that no lactic

sourness would be achieved. And if it's not in the imitation, my

suspicion is that it is likely not in the original, either, or there

would surely be some quick way of approximating it, if that aspect

were desired.

 

I've used it in several dishes, both Apician and from Anthimus (and I

sneak it into curries a lot, too). My experience has been that it

reeks to high heaven for a few minutes after you add it to a hot pan,

but mellows considerably as it cooks. Used raw or cold, the smell is

not overpowering.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Sun, 5 Aug 2007 19:55:43 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Garum was  To 10 pantry items

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

I've doing a little housecleaning and a xerox copy of "Garum and Salsamenta"

has popped to the surface.  If anyone is serious about learning about garum,

I recommend reading it.  Curtis, Robert I., Garum and Salsamenta; E.J.

Brill, Leiden, 1991.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Sun, 05 Aug 2007 21:51:12 -0400

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius" <adamantius1 at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Garum was  To 10 pantry items

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

On Aug 5, 2007, at 8:55 PM, Terry Decker wrote:

> ----- Original Message -----

> From: "Ian Kusz" <sprucebranch at gmail.com>

>

>> huh....and no one included that roman fish sauce....:))))

>> (garum?  liquamen? whatever.)

>>

>> Of course, everyone I've heard mention it has said it's

>> concentrated evil, but, well.......

>

> And how do they know it's concentrated evil?  I don't think I've ever met

> anyone who has made garum, much less eaten it. Modern fish sauces, yes.

> Garum no.

 

I recall being specifically sought out by a friend of mine who had a

friend who had made the quick-boiled "fake" liquamen, and found it so

entirely inoffensive in nature that he then went and did the actual

fish-entrails (or maybe it was whole, small fish) in a vat in the

August sun, to see of there was any serious difference between the two.

 

Interestingly enough, there wasn't. Both tasted like an ever-so-

slightly oregano-flavored Filipino patis: a clear (light amber),

thin, strong, very salty fish-broth with a slight oily sheen to its

surface.

 

I know there are some Asian fish sauces that are lacto-fermented, and

some that are made with anchovies and vinegar, but this didn't

resemble them very much.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 08:04:44 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] pantry - garum

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

> Garum is being reproduced in Spain

> today. If I recall correctly it comes from Barcelona. I don't know how

> close is it is to what the 13th C Anon cookbook calls for. It tastes like

> bad anchovies to me.

> Terry continues:

> "There is also the fact that garum probably wouldn't be available to most

> medieval pantries as it became generally unavailable in the 5th and 6th

> Centuries. . ."

> No my understanding is that we continued our factories in Spain long after

> that. Perhaps you can inform me better but I have garum references up

> through the 18th C.

> Suey

 

Please note, I said, "generally unavailable." Fish sauces have never

completely gone away around the Mediterranean but the use has been limited

and localized.  The commercial trade in garum collapsed approximately with

the end of the Western Empire making garum unavailable to much of Europe.

Thus it would likely not be found normally in a medieval pantry.

 

After the 6th Century, references to garum need to be carefully considered

as some of these references are copied from earlier sources.  On the

otherhand, the commercial garum industry in Spain has at least a six century

history under the Roman Empire and a later Spanish source might be

contemporary with actual production of garum.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 08:14:39 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] pantry - garum

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

> Suey wrote:

>> Garum is being reproduced in Spain today. If I recall correctly it comes

>> from Barcelona. I don't know how close is it is to what the 13th C Anon

>> cookbook calls for. It tastes like bad anchovies to me.

>

> 13th c. Anon?

> --

> Adele de Maisieres

 

13th C. Anonymous Andalusian cookbook, AKA Kitab al-tabikh fi al-Maghrib

wal-Andalus .

 

You can find the webbed version of the Charles Perry translation of the

translation by Miranda on David Friedman's site here:

http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Andalusian/

andalusian_contents.htm

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 17:33:14 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] pantry - garum

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

>> 13th C. Anonymous Andalusian cookbook, AKA Kitab al-tabikh fi al-

>> Maghrib wal-Andalus .

>

> Ah. Yes.  That's what I thought.  It's been a while since I read  

> it, but I don't recall that it mentions garum at all.

>

> Adele de Maisieres

 

There are references to "fish murri" in the Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook,

but I don't think there is a recipe available.  Fish murri is often

considered to be garum or liquamen by assuming that it is a fermented fish

sauce as murri is a fermented barley sauce.  While this may be a reasonable

assumption, there is, to my knowledge, no solid evidence to incontrovertably

support the idea.

 

I don't remember seeing references to fish murri outside of the Anonymous

Andalusian Cookbook, which may mean that the Andalusian Arabs took Spanish

garum into their cooking.  I will add that my knowledge of Arab cuisine is

limited, so someone else may have better information.

 

Howsa dat for hedging the bet.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 19:52:16 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Murri and muria was pantry - garum

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

Here's a question for you:  What is the etymology of the word "murri?"  We

have recipes for murri and Byzantine murri.  We have references to murri

naqi and fish murri.  But do we have any idea from where the word  

derives?

 

Now, let me do some pure speculation.

 

According to Curtis, Roman fish sauces come in four forms; garum, allec,

liquamen and muria.  Garum is the liquid decanted from a couple of months of

salted, fermenting fish.  Allec is the residue left after the garum is

removed.  Liquamen seems to be a suace leeched from fermenting fish

(apparently similar to modern fish sauces like Worchestershire).  And muria

is a somewhat broadly defined term to refer to salt solutions extracted from

or used to preserve meats, fruits and vegetables.  All of these sauces were

used and made around the entire Mediterranean, up into the Black Sea  

and far south down the Nile.

 

I think it is highly possible that "murri" is an Arabic form of the Roman

(of Greek origin) "muria" brought into Arabic well before the Islamic

expansion.  That being said, I haven't seen any evidence to tie the two to

each other.  I also can't think of a way to prove or disprove my theory.

Anyone got any ideas?

 

Bear

 

> Terry Decker wrote:

>

>> There are references to "fish murri" in the Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook,

>> but I don't think there is a recipe available. Fish murri is often

>> considered to be garum or liquamen by assuming that it is a fermented fish

>> sauce as murri is a fermented barley sauce. While this may be a reasonable

>> assumption, there is, to my knowledge, no solid evidence to

>> incontrovertably support the idea.

>

> Cripes, I _had_ to look it up.  I could only find one reference to  

> "fish murri".

> --

> Adele de Maisieres

 

 

Date: Tue, 07 Aug 2007 01:02:11 -0400

From: Suey <lordhunt at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] pantry - garum

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

 

Terry Decker wrote:

> There are references to "fish murri" in the Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook,

> but I don't think there is a recipe available.  Fish murri is often

> considered to be garum or liquamen by assuming that it is a fermented fish

> sauce as murri is a fermented barley sauce.

 

That is correct.

 

As per Carlos Azcoytia in his article "History and Mythical Evolution of

Garum" http://www.historiacocina.com/historia/articulos/garum.htm

garum was consumed in Spain until the middle of the 15th Century at

least. Abu Bakr Abd al Aziz Arbulo wrote a treaty in Almeria titled

"Murri al hut" between 1414 and 1425.

 

Azcoytia has found that is was consumed in a region called Bitinia,

today in Turkey until 1917 at least.

 

He says that he does not believe that what is sold today as "garum" is

like the original product. He explains that it was very costly as the

process is so complicated that only the affluent could afford it.

Further, Azcoytia points out that original recipes would be practically

impossible to make garum today for the requirements of fermentation,

ventilation and the hours that the mixture must be exposed to the sun.

Finally he notes that probably we wouldn't like it.

 

Antonio Gazquez refutes this in his article 'Garum: the sauce of Roman

Empire' saying that it is still being made in a town formally called

Baelo Claudia (Bolonia today) near Tarifa in the province of Cadiz,

Spain: http://www.afuegolento.com/noticias/80/firmas/agazquez/3073/ That

must be sold locally as I cannot find it for sale on internet.

 

My references continue up to the end of the 18th C. Then bread garums

were made in the shape of a tablet. Grain based garums continue to be

made. These are the result of the 13 C Afro-Andalusian creation of

innumerable wheat based mixtures which today are called by the Swiss:

Cenovis, the English: Marmite or the Spanish: /Bovil/ and bouillons or

bullion cubes (which originated from recycling fermented brewer?s

yeast). Translators of Arab manuscripts, however, currently advise the

use of nuoc-man,/ /soy sauce or Worchestershire sauce to substitute fish

garum in medieval recipes.

 

I have checked with el Corte Ingles a major supermarket chain in Spain

to see if I can buy garum but apparently what I tried was only sold as a

promotion on Leonese food a few years ago when a friend found it and

made me try it (sorry not Barcelona as I previously stated)! Their garum

basically is a black olive and anchovy spread also sold in other regions

of Spain today.

 

By the way garum originated in Greece. The word comes from garos, a fish

that was extinct before the Romans made conquests in Iberia. After garum

spread to Italy, the Romans established major garum factories in Spain

between Cartagena and Huelva. In Spain it was made with tuna and other

fish (and their entrails) found in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

They did begin to die out with the fall of the Roman Empire but not

entirely as seen above.

 

Suey

 

 

Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2007 15:57:19 +0200 (CEST)

From: Volker Bach <carlton_bach at yahoo.de>

Subject: [Sca-cooks]  Garum

To: sca-cooks <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

> Garum was mentioned in one of the first Time Life

> cookbooks, the one on Italy.  I think it even had

> instructions on how to make.  The same book also

> had a ricotta cheese cake, claimed to be a very

> early Italian recipe.

 

Do you by any chance recall where the recipe was from?

There are garum-.like sauces still made today, but the

only historical recipe I know is from the Geoponica.

 

The ricotta cake could well have been Cato's

'placenta'. If it was - it's well worth making.

 

 

Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2007 18:59:43 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Garum

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

There are descriptions of the process for making garum in Manilius'

Astronomica, and texts attributed to Gargilius Martialis (3rd Century) and

Rufus Festus (4th Century).  The latter two texts may actually be medieval

texts attributed to the authors rather than written by them.

 

Bear

 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Volker Bach" <carlton_bach at yahoo.de>

 

Do you by any chance recall where the recipe was from?

There are garum-.like sauces still made today, but the

only historical recipe I know is from the Geoponica.

 

 

Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2007 00:40:33 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] pantry - garum

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

In Latin usage (as far as I can determine), garum is a specific item, a fish

sauce.  That means a grain-based sauce is not a garum. The grain-based

sauce would fall under the more general term of muria.  If the term garum is

being used to refer to a grain-based sauce in 18th

Century Spain, then it is not a Roman sauce, but a Spanish sauce.

 

While garum might be for the affluent, I'm of the opinion that there were

varying grades with the high end made from tuna and mackeral and a low end

from catfish and carp with the high end garum being infused with spices and

wine to make it even finer and more costly.  Spain alone had at least

39 commercial fish salting operations (which includes garum manufacture) and

about another hundred scattered from northern Europe and around the western

Mediterranean.  About another hundred were located in the eastern

Mediterranean, Black Sea and along the Nile.

 

Seneca (1st Century) commented on the costliness of garum. Pliny (1st

Century) commented that two congrii (approx. 1.5 gal.) sold for 1000

sesterces (or about 6000 sesterces per amphora).  A tariff schedule from the

early 3rd Century places a tariff of 1 sestertius on an amphora, which if

the tariff rate for Spanish wine at 2.5% reported by Columella holds true,

means that a six gallon amphora would sell for about 40 sesterces.  In the

early 4th Century, Diocletian set the price of liquamen primus at 16 denarii

and liquamen secundus at 12 denarii per sextus (roughly a pint).  If I've

done the calculations correctly, this would make an amphora of the best fish

sauce worth 4608 sesterces.  According to one source, the price set by

Diolcetian is roughly equivalent to that on must and honey, suggesting it

should be within the range of the average Roman.

 

It is my understanding that the "garos" or "garus," from which garum was

originally made, is not identifiable from the ancient texts, thus

determining whether or not it has gone extinct would be impossible.

 

And if you want to bring Barcelona into the mix, try Ausonius's Epistles

(4th Century Bordeaux) where he thanks a student for "some Barcelona  

sauce called muria" and goes on to comment on garum.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2007 05:23:05 -0700 (PDT)

From: Huette von Ahrens <ahrenshav at yahoo.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Interesting Garum article in the latest Petits

      Propos Culinaires

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

Issure 83 of PPC just arrived in my mailbox!  Yippee!!!

 

Starting on page 93 there is an interesting article by Sally  

Grainger, called "A New Approach to Roman Fish Sauce".  How apropos to our current discussion of garum!

 

Also in this issue are articles by Francois Soyer, "Dining at King's  

College in the Fifteenth Century" and by Constance B. Hieatt and Brenda M. Hosington, "Recipes for 'Turnsole' in Sloane MS 122."

 

Huette

 

 

Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2007 18:38:16 -0500

From: "Elise Fleming" <alysk at ix.netcom.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Interesting Garum article in the latest

      Petits Propos Culinaires

To: "sca-cooks at ansteorra.org" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Suey asks:

> I do not receive this magazine and the article does not seem to be

> online yet but I would be very interested to know if she defines the

> differences between garum, liguamen and murri there or in her book which

> I am also lacking as well a international library loan at this time.

> From what I see of her work she is quite particular in saying they are

> not the same but am becoming confused between these terms and the

> definitions I have.

 

She expresses the same confusion and indicates that there was confusion in

period as well.  She mentions some differences in certain texts where blood

products are called by one word and the fish which have been liquified from

the inside out as another word.  It also appears that some forms were used

in the kitchen while others were mixed at the table. Since the article is

a number of pages long, it's too difficult to summarize, and there is no

one clear definition for any of the sauces.  You might consider purchasing

this issue from the publisher.  I don't think the journal has ever been

online.

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2007 07:52:25 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Geoponica garum recipe was Re:  Garum and

      cheesecak

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

> What is this "Geoponica"? Do you have a copy of this historical garum

> recipe?

>

> Stefan

 

Geoponica is a 10th Century Greek agricultural manual which may  

derive from a 6th Century Latin text.

 

A translation of Geoponica 20.46:1-6 can be found in Curtis, Robert I.,

Garum and Salsamenta; E.J. Brill, 1991, pg 12-13.  To quote the text:

 

"1.  The so-called liquamen is made in this manner: the intestines of fish

are thrown into a vessel and salted.  Small fish, either the best smelt, or

small mullets, or sprats, or wolffish, or whatever is deemed to be small,

are all salted together and, shaken frequently, are fermented in the sun.

 

2.  After it has been reduced in the heat, garum is obtained from it in this

way:  a large, strong basket is placed into the vessel of the aforementioned

fish, and the garum streams into the basket.  In this way, the so-called

liquamen is strained through the basket when it is taken up.  The remaining

refuse is alex.

 

3.  The Bythinians prepare it in this manner:  it is best if you take small

or large sprats, but if not, wolffish, or horse-mackeral, or mackeral, or

even alica, and a mixture of all, and throw these into a baker's kneading

trough, in which they are accustomed to knead meal. Tossing into the modius

of fish two Italian sextarii of salt, mix up thoroughly in order to

strengthen it with salt.  After leaving it alone for one night throw it into

a vessel and palce it without a lid in the sun for two or three months,

agitating it with a shaft at intervals. Next take it, cover it, and  

store it away.

 

4.  Some add to one sextarius of fish, two sextarii of old wine.

 

5.  Next, if you wish to use the garum immediately, that is to say not

ferment it in the sun, but to boil it, you do it this way. When the brine

has been tested, so that an egg having been thrown in floats (if it sinks,

it is not sufficiently salty), and throwing the fish into the brine in a

newly-made earthenware pot and adding in some oregano, you place it on a

sufficient fire until it is boiled, that is until it begins to reduce a

little.  Some throw in boiled down must.  Next, throwing the cooled liquid

into a filter you toss it a second and third time through the filter until

it turns out clear.  After having covered it, store it away.

 

6.  The best garum, the so-called haimation, is made in this way:  the

intestines of tunny along with the gills, juice and blood are taken and

sufficient salt is sprinkled on.  After having left it alone in the vessel

for two month at most, pierce the vessel and the garum, called haimation, is

withdrawn."

 

Three other texts (which I don't have available) describe the process of

preparing garum; (Marcus?) Manilius's Astronomica and texts attributed to

Gargilius Martialis and Rufus Festus.  Curtis warns that Martialis may

contain medieval intrusions and that the recipe attributed to Festus is

obviously of medieval date.

 

Bear

 

<the end>



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