[Sca-cooks] pantry - garum

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Mon Aug 6 06:04:44 PDT 2007

> Terry wrote:
> "And how do they know it's concentrated evil?  I don't think I've ever 
> metanyone who has made garum, much less eaten it.  Modern fish sauces, 
> yes. Garum no."
> I overlook that quote - not from you Terry but from one us - because that 
> is from someone who does not like it as I, someone who cannot appreciate 
> it like Phil finds morcilla disgusting. 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.


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