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B - 23 : Garum - A Live Experiment on Carpe Diem V

Most of you may not have heard of Garum, the fermented fish sauce Romans used as condiment. The Roman diet was not based on barley, but on wheat, the other great grain from the Fertile Crescent. Thus bread became Rome's staple food. Today, we are used to freshly baked bread. In Roman times, bread was backed once a month. It hardened quickly and was difficult to consume. To eat it, it had to be dipped into soup or another liquid. That is where Garum as a condiment comes in.

Garum is a fermented fish source, made with fish (luxury version) or fish intestines or waste (ordinary version), salt, garlic, a few herbs like oregano, thyme and water. The ingredients were simply put together in a jar and exposed to a few days in the sun. The fermentation process happens automatically. Even the fishbones decay after ten days.

The result is a stinky or delicious condiment - it depends on the view point of the consumer. It is fair to say that Garum is an acquired taste. It is consumed with bread and the Romans could not get enough of it. Bread, wine and Garum were the everyday food for ordinary Roman citizens.

Since it is so easy to make, we will prepare a plastic bag with Garum ingredients every Sunday. By Friday, we should be able to eat it - of course, only if you are curious and have a solid stomach. But as the saying goes, when sailing along Roman trading routes, do like the Romans.

We are looking forward to a truly Roman dining experience every Friday! Should be fun!!!

NB: by the way, soy sauce and Asian fish source are basically made the same way - they are just more refined to appeal to more customers than the few with strong nostrils!

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