foodandhistory
foodandhistory:

Fish Sauce (Roman) // Most people are familiar with fish sauce, the essential pungent flavoring in Southeast Asian cuisine, but its history travels a lot further from Asia than originally thought.  In ancient Roman cities, citizens used it as a salt substitute and as parts of dips and sauces, often combining it with wine, vinegar, oil and honey.

Like Asian fish sauces, the Roman version was made by layering fish and salt until it ferments. There are versions made with whole fish, and some with just the blood and guts. Some food historians argue that “garum" referred to one version, and "liquamen" another, while others maintain different terms were popular in different times and places.
The current convention is to use garum as a common term for all ancient fish sauces. Italian archaeologist Claudio Giardino studies the early roots of garum, the Roman version of fish sauce. He cites mention of garum in Roman literature from the 3rd and 4th century B.C., and remains of factories producing garum even earlier. The fish bones remaining at a garum factory in Pompeii even led to a more precise dating of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

So why did fish sauce disappeared from the West? Well, maybe it never did:

"When the Roman Empire collapsed, they put taxes on the salt. And because of these taxes, it became difficult to produce garum.” And the collapse of the Roman Empire created another problem: pirates. “The pirates started destroying the cities and the industries nearby the coast. You could be killed any moment by the pirates, without the protection of the Romans,” Giardino says. And so, Italian fish sauce pretty much disappeared.
But it remained in a few little pockets — like in Southwest Italy, where they produce colatura di alici, a modern descendant of the ancient fish sauce. The product was barely known even in Italy just a few years ago, but it is gradually being rediscovered.
Fish Sauce: An Ancient Condiment Rises Again - NPR, Deena Prichep

So next time you make spaghetti sauce, add a dash of fish sauce. You’ll be amazed!

foodandhistory:

Fish Sauce (Roman) // Most people are familiar with fish sauce, the essential pungent flavoring in Southeast Asian cuisine, but its history travels a lot further from Asia than originally thought.  In ancient Roman cities, citizens used it as a salt substitute and as parts of dips and sauces, often combining it with wine, vinegar, oil and honey.

Like Asian fish sauces, the Roman version was made by layering fish and salt until it ferments. There are versions made with whole fish, and some with just the blood and guts. Some food historians argue that “garum" referred to one version, and "liquamen" another, while others maintain different terms were popular in different times and places.

The current convention is to use garum as a common term for all ancient fish sauces. Italian archaeologist Claudio Giardino studies the early roots of garum, the Roman version of fish sauce. He cites mention of garum in Roman literature from the 3rd and 4th century B.C., and remains of factories producing garum even earlier. The fish bones remaining at a garum factory in Pompeii even led to a more precise dating of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

So why did fish sauce disappeared from the West? Well, maybe it never did:

"When the Roman Empire collapsed, they put taxes on the salt. And because of these taxes, it became difficult to produce garum.” And the collapse of the Roman Empire created another problem: pirates. “The pirates started destroying the cities and the industries nearby the coast. You could be killed any moment by the pirates, without the protection of the Romans,” Giardino says. And so, Italian fish sauce pretty much disappeared.

But it remained in a few little pockets — like in Southwest Italy, where they produce colatura di alici, a modern descendant of the ancient fish sauce. The product was barely known even in Italy just a few years ago, but it is gradually being rediscovered.

Fish Sauce: An Ancient Condiment Rises Again - NPRDeena Prichep

So next time you make spaghetti sauce, add a dash of fish sauce. You’ll be amazed!

foodandhistory
foodandhistory:

Momo // Familiar to lovers of Japanese gyozas and Chinese dumplings, momos have unique flavors coming from the types of meat fillings and spices that are ubiquitous to Nepal, Tibet and the Himalayan regions of Northern India.
Read More

I have a new blog to share my love of travel, history and food. I haven’t found a place online that talk about the origins of the things we eat, yet.
The more we know about where these foods came from, the more we can appreciate the diversity in the world and the common bonds we all share.
If you have suggestions for me to research, let me know!

foodandhistory:

Momo // Familiar to lovers of Japanese gyozas and Chinese dumplings, momos have unique flavors coming from the types of meat fillings and spices that are ubiquitous to Nepal, Tibet and the Himalayan regions of Northern India.

Read More

I have a new blog to share my love of travel, history and food. I haven’t found a place online that talk about the origins of the things we eat, yet.

The more we know about where these foods came from, the more we can appreciate the diversity in the world and the common bonds we all share.

If you have suggestions for me to research, let me know!

NY Met Museum to return statues to Cambodia.

Experts say the statues appear to have been looted around 1970, about the time federal prosecutors say another statue, of a mythic warrior figure, was also removed from Koh Ker. That statue was pulled from auction at Sotheby’s last year after Cambodia asked for its return.

Wow. I never expected this. I just saw this exhibit last year!

One thing about exploring the world is that I often am reminded of how the old colonial world order still remains in parts of our society - case in point - many Western museums have artifacts that are gained by wholesale theft, looting and force, usually greased by corruption and broken regulatory systems in the (often impoverished) countries of origins.

It’s starting to change as the developing world comes out of their doldrum and demands their history repatriated.

It’s inconvenient, but if that means I need to plan an overseas trip to see history in its proper place, then I should value that.

I was in Cambodia some years ago at Angkor Wat.  To see the immense edifices still standing vs statues whose heads and limbs were lopped off by looters to make their way into auction houses, private collections and Western museums — it was a huge shock.

I only hope the Cambodian govt can be good caretakers of their history.

Learning from the past means nothing when you can destroy in the present:

The site also houses the astonishing remains of an ancient Buddhist city, which archaeologists are now racing to save. An international team has only until June to finish the excavations, which began in 2009. So far they have uncovered golden Buddhist statues, dozens of buildings and fragile Buddhist manuscripts buried within temples. Yet perhaps 90 percent of the site remains underground and unseen. To finish the job could take decades. In all likelihood, the destruction of the Buddhist sites will begin later this year. 

NYTimes: Chinese Mining Push Will Destroy an Ancient Afghanistan Buddhist City

Learning from the past means nothing when you can destroy in the present:

The site also houses the astonishing remains of an ancient Buddhist city, which archaeologists are now racing to save. An international team has only until June to finish the excavations, which began in 2009. So far they have uncovered golden Buddhist statues, dozens of buildings and fragile Buddhist manuscripts buried within temples. Yet perhaps 90 percent of the site remains underground and unseen. To finish the job could take decades. In all likelihood, the destruction of the Buddhist sites will begin later this year. 

NYTimes: Chinese Mining Push Will Destroy an Ancient Afghanistan Buddhist City

One of the most significant dishes in all countries along the Silk Road, from the Sea of Japan to Anatolia, is dumplings. Dumplings across Asia are tell-tale signs of a shared common past demonstrating drastic similarities. From the Turkish perspective, the origins of mantı have been long forgotten and the dish is regarded as quintessentially Turkish. However, almost all etymological references state that the origin of the word comes from the Chinese word man tou.
librarysciences
librarysciences:

How Forks Gave Us Overbites and Pots Saved the Toothless
Until around 250 years ago in the West, archaeological evidence suggests that most human beings had an edge-to-edge bite, similar to apes. In other words, our teeth were aligned liked a guillotine, with the top layer clashing against the bottom layer. Then, quite suddenly, this alignment of the jaw changed: We developed an overbite, which is still normal today. The top layer of teeth fits over the bottom layer like a lid on a box.
[…] What changed 250 years ago was the adoption of the knife and fork, which meant that we were cutting chewy food into small morsels before eating it. Previously, when eating something chewy such as meat, crusty bread or hard cheese, it would have been clamped between the jaws, then sliced with a knife or ripped with a hand — a style of eating Professor Brace has called “stuff-and-cut.”
The clincher is that the change is seen 900 years earlier in China, the reason being chopsticks.
Read more [via theatlantic, Image: flickr]. 

I love these bits of re-revelations.

librarysciences:

How Forks Gave Us Overbites and Pots Saved the Toothless

Until around 250 years ago in the West, archaeological evidence suggests that most human beings had an edge-to-edge bite, similar to apes. In other words, our teeth were aligned liked a guillotine, with the top layer clashing against the bottom layer. Then, quite suddenly, this alignment of the jaw changed: We developed an overbite, which is still normal today. The top layer of teeth fits over the bottom layer like a lid on a box.

[…] What changed 250 years ago was the adoption of the knife and fork, which meant that we were cutting chewy food into small morsels before eating it. Previously, when eating something chewy such as meat, crusty bread or hard cheese, it would have been clamped between the jaws, then sliced with a knife or ripped with a hand — a style of eating Professor Brace has called “stuff-and-cut.”

The clincher is that the change is seen 900 years earlier in China, the reason being chopsticks.

Read more [via theatlantic, Image: flickr]. 

I love these bits of re-revelations.