History : Jan-Feb 2018
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC HISTORY 13 period it was part of a thriving, pan- European economy. Factories known as cetariae proliferated to satisfy the Roman world’s craving for the fish sauce. Typi- cally, these production centers were lo- cated near the coast, ensuring quick and easy access to the freshest catch. They al- so tended to be outside the city center be- cause of the stench radiating from them. Each factory had a central patio, rooms for cleaning fish, and places to store the prized liquid when it was made. The most characteristic elements of these factories were the vats in which the fish sauce was TheJoyofCooking... With Garum MARCUS GAVIUS APICIUS, a wealthy Roman epicure, lived in the first century a.d. and is associated with one of the oldest cookbooks in ancient history. Most likely compiled in the fourth century, De re coquinaria (On the Subject of Cooking) contains many recipes that list garum and other fish sauces as essential ingredients, like in this recipe for Parthian chicken: Dress the chicken carefully and quarter it. Crush pepper, lovage [a green herb], and a little caraway suffused with liquamen [a fish sauce similar to garum] and add wine. Place the chicken in an earthen dish and pour the seasoning over it. Add laser [a fennel-like plant] and wine. Let it assimilate with the seasoning and braise the chicken. Sprinkle with pepper. Among the book’s simplest recipes is a dish of fried eggs seasoned with a mixture of wine and garum!