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Food - Drink
How The First Preserved Anchovies Led To The Invention Of Fish Sauce
If you're a seafood lover, then you likely know which end of the scale your palate is on — some seafood fans stay on the mild side, while others crave bold, unique, and sometimes funky flavors. This includes salty anchovies and fish sauce, two intense and divisive fish products that actually have a relationship spanning centuries.
When ancient Romans fermented fish like anchovies, they used the leftover liquamen (liquid from the fish) to create garum, an early term for fish sauce. A 2009 excavation in Pompeii even led to the discovery of a garum shop, with six sealed containers of what is believed to be the ancient fish sauce, a progenitor of today's products.
Experts have managed to reproduce the garum using what they've learned from their ancient findings, along with a third-century liquamen recipe including fish, salt, and dried herbs like dill and fennel. The ancient Romans also made related products like muria (brine from salted tuna) and allec (a pasty mix of bones and fish sediment).