Celebrating the History of Science and the Science behind History
The problem with garum was that making it could be an extremely stinky process. Garum makers were told to move their factories to the outskirts of the city, although probably no one enforced this.
The Romans dumped garum onto practically everything they ate. Should you be curious to try garum yourself, I’ve written out the recipe for you. You’re welcome.
- First, collect the heads, tails, intestines and other guts of whatever fish you have on hand. You can use anchovies, mackerel, sardines, or combinations of fish. If you can find fish blood, dump that in, too.
- Salt the mixture heavily.
- Layer the salted fish guts in a large amphora (that’s a big jug with two handles). Leave it out in the sun until the fish rot, ferment, putrefy, and liquefy. This process might take a few months. Stir occasionally.
- Pour off the liquid that forms at the top—that’s the garum.
Garum is actually quite nutritious—full of amino acids, proteins, and vitamin D from all that time in the sun. And the rotten sludge left at the bottom is also highly nutritious, so you can save that for another use. Try spreading it on toast!
Sara Albee's latest book is Why'd They Wear That?, to be published by National Geographic in 2015. Get ready to chuckle your way through centuries of fashion dos and don'ts! In this humorous and approachable narrative, you will learn about outrageous, politically-perilous, funky, disgusting, regrettable, and life-threatening creations people have worn throughout the course of human history, all the way up to the present day. For more information, click here.
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