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

Christiane christianetrue at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 7 14:00:36 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?

I've been thinking about this. Considering that in the present day as in the past in Italy, anchovie filets are packed in salt and have to be rehydrated for use ... I would imagine that the salty, very strong tasting soaking liquid, once strained, could have its culinary uses.

I'm still trying to find out more about that colatura di alice, that liquid fish sauce from Cetara in Amalfi. I still have no idea how exactly it's made. The only thing I know is that it's made out of anchovies. Considering the Roman, Byzantine, and Arab presence in that area of Italy, I would not be surprised if fish murri and allec were related as well.

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