Reading Notes: Robert Allen: "Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction"

Amanda Borschel-Dan: Factory for Romans' Favorite Funky Fish Sauce Discovered Near Ashkelonl 'Northwest of... Ashkelon, Erickson-Gini’s team uncovered... a rare Holy Land garum production center, or cetaria.... In addition to evidence of fish pools, the team uncovered giant plastered vats, jars used for storing liquid, and what appears to be a large receptacle to hold the strained goopy substance.... The paucity of production sites had always surprised and puzzled the archaeologist, she said. Throughout the Empire, the sauce graced the tables of the Roman world’s rich and famous, as well as the troughs of commoners.... Pliny the Elder mentions the sauce throughout his “Natural History,” both as a foodstuff and as medicine.... Even in the storerooms of 1st century BCE King Herod’s isolated Masada palace, a rare labeled amphorae of garum was found that was possibly imported from Andalusia.... To accomplish its pungent putrefaction, the craftsman would place whole small fish such as sardines or anchovies, or chopped up larger fish such as tuna or mackerel, at the base of a jar and pour on top of it spices and salt, followed by another fish layer, etc. According to Erickson-Gini, the recipe’s ratio called for five parts fish to one part salt. A lively video, “Garum, Rome’s Favorite Condiment (Ancient Cooking),” on the Invicta History YouTube channel, said the concoction inside a closed jar would bake in the hot Mediterranean sun for a week as the fish deteriorated, but was saved from rot by the salt. It was then opened and stirred for another 20 days or more (Erickson-Gini suggested up to three months). The resultant “puree of fish goop” was strained through a basket, and the strained liquid is the garum. Other, more solid leftovers could be made into a different sauce or lesser-regarded fish paste called allec.... The height of the garum fad was circa the 2nd century CE, but its use is recorded even much later...

#noted #2019-12-18