[Sca-cooks] alec sauce

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Thu Aug 23 09:42:17 PDT 2012

Just a few quotes from a source that provides more than you ever want to 
know about Greek and Roman fish sauce.


Curtis, Robert L., Garum and Salsamenta, Production and Commerce in Materia 
Medica; E.J. Brill, New York, 1991.

"...while allec (Pl. 1b), the sediment created in making garum, was of 
secondary importance."    (pg. 7)  Pl = Patrologia Cursus Completus, Series 

"Pliny HN 31.95.  The dregs (faex) of garum was variously spelled allec 
((Hor. Sat. 2.8.9), hallec (Plaut. Aut. fr. 5), allex (Pliny HN. 31.95), and 
hallex (Plaut. Poen. 2320; Cato Agr. 58).  The latter form is found most 
often in painted inscriptionsw on commercial amphorae."  (pg. 7 n.)

"allec, the residue {of garum}, was no doubt a mushy, paste-like substance 
containing fishbones and other undissolved fish material."  (pg. 14)

"Pliny (HN 9.66) reports that Apicius made an allec from only the livers of 
red mullet."  (pg 14 n.)

{In Pompeii, in a house of unidentified ownership} "Five of the six dolia in 
the peristyle, which had been converted to industrial use, contained the 
dried remains of allec (Pl. 1b).  The desiccat material included small 
lateral bones, vertebrae, and scales of anchovy (E#ngraulis encrasicholus)." 
(pg. 93-94)

"Pliny (HN31.95) says allex was made from an infinite variety of fish, while 
Isidore (Orig. 20.20.19-20) says the same thing of garum."  (pg 164 n.)

"Allex, like the Philippine bagoong, was the residue of fish sauce 
production, derived from the near total autolysis of fish material.  But, if 
the fermentation process is curtailed well before autolysis has reached 
completion, the result is a paste.  Allex, therefore, is an ancient fish 
paste."  {from a longer discussion of production techniques}  (pg 177)

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