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

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Mon Aug 6 17:52:16 PDT 2007

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?


> 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 
>>assumption, there is, to my knowledge, no solid evidence to 
>>support the idea.
> Cripes, I _had_ to look it up.  I could only find one reference to "fish
> murri".
>>I don't remember seeing references to fish murri outside of the Anonymous
>>Andalusian Cookbook, which may mean that the Andalusian Arabs took 
>>garum into their cooking.  I will add that my knowledge of Arab cuisine is
>>limited, so someone else may have better information.
> Sounds like a possibility :-)
> -- 
> Adele de Maisieres

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list