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General Discussion

Roman rotted fish sauce

Soop | Oct 2, 200903:45 AM     28

I read this in a newspaper described as "ubiquitous" and "the ketchup of it's day". What on earth is it?

Never mind. "Let me google that for me"

A similar fish sauce was ubiquitous in Classical Roman cooking, where in Latin it is known as garum or liquamen, and also existed in many varieties such as oxygarum (mixed with vinegar) and meligarum (mixed with honey). It was one of the trade specialties in Hispania Baetica. It was made of a variety of fish including tuna, mackerel, moray eel, and anchovies.[2] Garum was frequently maligned as smelling bad or rotten, being called, for example, "evil-smelling fish sauce." This attitude derives in part from ancient authors who satirized the condiment, but mostly from the fact that fish sauce was generally unknown in the Western world until very recently. The truth is quite different, and in fact garum only smelled when it was being made. Once the process was complete it had a pleasant aroma for as long as it was usable.

In English it was formerly translated as fishpickle. The original Worcestershire sauce is a related product because it is fermented and contains anchovies.

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