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  1. "...now do Classical Gas"
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    #1

    New Projects

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    I plan to start a new thing today. I知 going to make garum - ancient Roman fish sauce, which apparently they used to drown their food in because they loved it so much.

    Of course, this does involve fermenting fish guts in the sun for weeks, so it will either be amazing and delicious OR I値l give myself the most appalling case of food poisoning ever. I値l flip a coin. If I die, think well of me and do not drink the fish sauce...

    What new projects have other people started lately?
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  2. Navy Wife Extraordinaire
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    #2
    OMG, good luck and godspeed.
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    #3
    Yummm! Love some good vietname fish sauce! what makes the roman one different?
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    #4
    This sounds like a very smelly experiment!

    I have been working on putting together my church's Christmas program so we can start rehearsals, and today the kids did their annual service (I teach the kids 3-11 music; once a year they take over the service with songs and lessons they've learned throughout the year) so it was a relief to get that out of the way! Now I can teach them Thanksgiving and Christmas music instead. I'm also working on a live Nativity for our Christmas party... aaaaaaaand I'm playing for a community-outreach Christmas choir.

    I guess you could say that my life is decking the halls and Hallelujahs.
  5. "...now do Classical Gas"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guynavywife View Post
    Yummm! Love some good vietname fish sauce! what makes the roman one different?
    You can use the Vietnamese one as a substitute (I have in the past, or colotura di alici seems like it would also be a possible match) but there are a few differences. Garum seems to be older - the first reference I know of to nuoc mam is several hundred years after garum production peaked - and almost every Roman source I’ve seen mentions mackerel rather than the anchovies than nuoc mam and colotura both use. I’ve managed to find some really beautiful spotted mackerel, so I meant to cook that and keep the blood, guts and scraps to ferment for garum.

    Fermented fish, dried oregano, dried mint, wine must...

    I’m curious more than anything else! Garum appears so much, and I just want to know!
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  6. La vie boheme
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    How is it going so far? How long do you have to wait to use it?

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  7. "...now do Classical Gas"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hope View Post
    How is it going so far? How long do you have to wait to use it?
    The recipe I’m using tends towards the vague (it’s a more or less contemporary description, and they didn’t really do detailed instructions with precise quantities and cooking times for another nine hundred years or so! This is a genuine experiment!) but it should take six weeks or so. Two months at most. I’m only making a tiny experimental batch.

    The basic premise is that you take fish scraps like the guts, the gills, the blood, bones, any roe/eggs or any meat you haven’t used, mince it finely and layer it in a container with various strongly flavoured herbs (fennel, dried mint, dried oregano, coriander...you get the gist, yes?) and a layer of salt “two fingers high”. Layer fish, herbs and salt until the container is full.

    Leave it in the sun for a week. They’re assuming fairly hot, bright Mediterranean-esque sun (a garum factory was excavated just outside Barcelona) which here and now where I live is fairly doable! This is the stage I’ve reached now, one week in.

    Check it, and leave it for another month, cracking it open to stir it up every day or two. The salt preserves it, and draws moisture out of the fishy sludge.

    That liquid is the garum. The sediment left over was called allec, and was the poor man’s version since it was much cheaper (good quality garum could cost several hundred sesterces, which would be most of a legionary’s yearly pay, but the sediment byproduct was far easier to get) if you wanted to mix it into things.

    I’m going to add red wine vinegar to it before I use it, but as soon as it ferments and I can store it it should be okay to use. We shall see. There’s still a chance I might poison myself...

    Pompeii was quite well known for its garum, actually. There’s LOTS of it there, including amphorae specifically labeled as kosher garum for the Jewish population.
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  8. La vie boheme
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    #8
    It sounds fascinating. I like the resurrection of something ancient, it's history coming to life! I hope it goes well. :-)

    Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. - 1 John 3:18
  9. "...now do Classical Gas"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hope View Post
    It sounds fascinating. I like the resurrection of something ancient, it's history coming to life! I hope it goes well. :-)
    I have a LOT of old cookbooks. Sometimes I try things from them, half out of professional interest and half from a healthy dose of curiosity.

    The oldest I have is a Roman one - usually called Apicius, after the putative author. Some of the things in it are delicious If you’re interested, I made a post in the recipe section (page eight or nine in the “Matchbox’s Kitchen” thread) about Roman bread once as well - there was bread still in the ovens when Mount Vesuvius erupted, and archaeologists found it. Perfectly preserved, to the point where you could read the bread stamp. Cool, no?

    I do not have the balls to try the late medieval thing/early Renaissance thing (from another book, notable because the author is an utter drama queen and keeps interrupting himself to bitch about how much he hates octopus) where you roast a peacock, cover it in gold, stick the tail feathers back into the roasted bird and send it out like that, with fire pouring out of its mouth. A part of me thinks that serving up a whole peacock that breathes fire at the table would be metal as hell, but I haven’t got the cojones. Also I have no idea where to get a peacock, which puts a damper on things somewhat.
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  10. "...now do Classical Gas"
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    Some seven or eight weeks after starting it...

    I’m going to try the fish sauce today. If I die, at least I made it to 2019?
    If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell

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