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Old December 28th, 2016, 06:12 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by caldrail View Post

See Apicius' 'On the Art of Cookery' for some Roman recipes: I'd advise you to stay away from the garum, the ubiquitous fermented fish condiment, it may not conform to modern health and safety standards.
It is ghastly stuff, but the Romans consumed vast quantities of it and always enjoyed strong flavours, even those we wouldn’t tolerate today.





The smell of Garum is horrible.
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Old December 28th, 2016, 03:39 PM   #22
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An architect, or master stone mason would be among the highest paid professions in Rome through the Roman era.


I am also an urban dweller. I live in the city. No villa, but a place to live. Where would I live?

You would live in an area of the city closer to the aqueducts, in low rise housing. likely no more than two stories. Higher rise dwellings, in an era before elevators, were strictly for the poor.


* How did people do marketing? Buy vegetables/fruits and especially meats. Would the seller sell my wife a live chicken in the market and then she would come home and kill the bird dead for dinner?

Fruits and vegetables would be available in season, only- brought in from as far as they could be expected to keep. There would be established areas where farmers brought in fresh produce daily, and in fact that and grain shipments formed the BULK of traffic on Roman roads anywhere near major roman cities.

meat animals would be kept alive as long as possible- since one definition of "life" is that its natures way to keep meat fresh. Generally- you went to a butcher, see what was available, and the butcher would take your order and have it ready for pick up later- killed, drained and cut. Orders for something like beef, you might have to wait for a few days for, because the butcher is not going to slaughter a cow unless he's pretty sure he can sell all of it before it goes bad... ( but a carcass can keep for a week if properly drained )

* How were fruits and vegetables kept fresh enough from the farms to come to the city to sell to me without refrigeration (which did not come around until almost the 20th Century.

They weren't. They were picked green and expected to ripen as they were transported, and might only be good for a few days at most once in a Roman market. Spoiled food, however- would have been sold in bulk to make slop to feed pigs and other livestock.
Fancier kitchens would have a "closet" with an air vent running from a crawlspace under the house, up thru the roof, where wind drew air up thru the closet from the cool space under the house.... vegetables and other foods could be placed in this closet on racks, and covered with a damp cloth- the evaporation of the water from the cloth cooled the vegetables and kept them fresher longer. This innovation continued to be seen in homes right up until the 20th century- my own grandmother had such a closet in her kitchen.

* What is a 2nd Century kitchen be like? To be able to cook dinner after a hard day at the office. If I drank to relieve the day's tension, what would I drink?

It would NOT be an open fire- Romans HAD stoves- most stone and brick ovens, but in better off homes, often made of iron. They also made iron cooking pots and other implements.


* How often could people bathe? My understanding is that the people with money would go to public places to bathe.

Only the patrician class could afford anything like a bath or toilet in the home.
Most romans of any professional substance bathed daily or every other day.

* What kind of alcohol would they sell? Wine I would thin? Beer? What would be the local alcohol that people would drink in bars?
There were fortified wines, wine, and beer- But interestingly, most Romans drank exclusively wine cut at least in half with water. The primary purpose of the wine was to make the water safe to drink.


*Were there whorehouses everywhere? I have heard of late that Romans were not so sexually liberated at all. People might be angry at places of prostitution, especially for example, wives.

Roman wives did not upset themselves over prostitution, nor really over slave girls if they had a family that could afford them. Romans had a very strict sense of morality as regarded wives and a man's obligation to his wife. So it was very rare for a man to run off with any other woman- though he might take up mistresses or affairs.
In Roman times, the primary cause of death for women was childbirth- and so more educated and well ff Roman women learned quickly that once they had produced a few heirs, they would stop having sex with their husbands. This was so they could ensure they would SURVIVE and their children inherit any legacy- whereas if they died in childbirth- their husbands would likely remarry and his estate go to the children of newer wives.
Given that they generally ceased having sex with their husbands- they turned a blind eye to philandering. This is the origin of the concept of the 'double standard' where a woman is expected to be faithful, but a man is allowed to cheat- But only because he has no intention of abandoning his actual wife.
*Sanitation, what type? When someone used the toilet, what would happen to the waste? Or the waste of my wife's wonderful cooking? Where was the dump? Were there garbage men?

All toilets except for those of the wealthy, were public facilities. Romans shat in full view of their neighbors, and the toilet was a common place to catch up on local gossip. Toilet facilites were universally sited downhill from incoming water supplies from the aqueducts, and featured a trench running around the perimeter of a room, with cut out seats mounted over the trench sealing it aside form the cut outs people sat over. A constant flow of water thru the trenches, and a steady downhill grade matching todays standards of 1/4" to the foot resulted in waste being swept away as fast as you could deposit it.... which kept the public toilet from smelling all that bad. The effluent was washed down sewer pipes and into the Great Cloaca- the main sewer that dumped into the Tiber river- Because the Tiber was the sewer, for villages Upriver as well as Rome- Romans DID NOT pull any water from the Tiber- rather, they built long aqueducts bringing fresh spring water in from the mountains surrounding Rome. Roman success was entirely built on their understanding of and provision of fresh, safe water, and keeping that separate from sewers.

____________________________

* Transportation, how would I go from one side of Rome to another. Don't want to walk 10 kilometers to somewhere. No taxis. It would limit to someone who wants to go somewhere, so I would think that someone would be limited to their neighborhood.

Rome,in its heyday, was not all that large, physically. You could walk across it in a matter of an hour or two. That put MOST places in Rome a comfortable walk. If you needed to travel well across town, and were well off, you might hire a sedan chair or couch, carried by slaves. Occasionally, you could catch a ride with a delivery or other wagon going across town- and there WERE carts that kept to the big delivery roads that you could take to get CLOSE to where you had to go and walk from there.

That said- Rome was like any modern city in that essential services were plurally offered locally- like a starbucks, or grocery market. Most days you would not need to travel far outside your own area to get most things you might need.


* So, if I were in Rome and I wanted to go to the sea with my gorgeous Italian wife (Kathrine Narducci - IMDb, with my three kids to the beach, how would I get there?
Travel down the Tiber to Ostia. Usually by road, in a cart hired for the purpose.

* Were there resorts in Ancient Rome? Some think that Pompeii was a resort town.
Yes- Lots.



* Were there casinos in Ancient Rome? In one scene of I Claudius, the jolly Emperor Augustus is playing a dice game with some citizens, and he asked a young man why he did not have any money....."Well, I am out of money sire." when Augustus gave him more money. Brian Blessed, great actor.


I assume gambling was something that happened in any roman venue-taverns, etc. but MOST occasions for the wealthy to gamble would be held in someone's private villa.
The poor gambled on the street- usually with dice.

___________________________________

* Why during the Pax Romana, inventions, knowledge and the industrial revolution happen then instead of a thousand years later? Hell, if my father was born then, and he had enough money to tinker around, he would have created something.
Romans did not have science because they did not have ZERO nor a means of writing down numbers that allowed for arithmetic. They were limited to the kinds of calculations you could do with an abacus.

Not just Romans, but every prior civilization had the same limitation. Because if this they could not come up with the formulae that might help them understand the world beyond the level they could ordinarily see. So they could not discover elements- could not measure the temperature of a fire- could not quantify the strengths of materials. And could not work out proper perspective geometry.

_____________________________________

* What would be some luxuries of the truly rich?

The rich would have access to ICE. To cold foods and drinks in the midst of summer. To fine silks and fancy articles made of exotic materials like ebony, sliver, gold and crystal. They would be able to get exotic foods and meats that could only be supplied at great cost ( though some exotic meats were the result of exotic animals brought in for slaughter in the coliseum ) They would have a toilet and running water IN THEIR ACTUAL HOUSE and perhaps even a bath with actual hot cold and tepid pools.... they would have, of course, slaves, to handle all domestic chores. They would have heated floors, and a water heater.

______________________________________

*What sports did people play? Can't help thinking they played a variation of soccer. A field, two goals. What else would they play? When the few went to "the games" (which would have been for the wealthy, what did they see? Not Christians eaten by animals)

The coliseum was open to ANYONE. not just the rich- although the rich got the best setting with the best shade.
More popular than the coliseum was the circus- where chariot races were held.
Winning charioteers were the wealthiest sports figures in the Roman world.

Average people did not play 'sports' as we think of them today- They might Wrestle or do other kinds of calisthenics at a facility near their home ( usually at the baths )
You have to realize that Most romans lived vigorously physical lives already- walking everywhere and up and won hills and staircases. No motors.
Young men might practice horsemanship and train horses, as well as their martial skills.


* In the famous Colisseum in Rome, which I can see as a picture on this website, I notice walls and a maze in the playing field, what game were they playing?
'That is not the filed- that's the underground chambers where animals and other special effects were arranged and controlled. That maze was covered by wooden planking and a layer of sand.

The coliseum could be flooded overnight to stage fake ocean battles in the morning, and then drained in less than four hours to stage combats or executions in the afternoon. No modern stadium has ever been built that can outperform the coliseum in terms of how fast a full capacity crowd can exit the facility.
It was a technological triumph.

Last edited by sculptingman; December 28th, 2016 at 03:52 PM.
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Old January 4th, 2017, 09:24 AM   #23

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It would NOT be an open fire- Romans HAD stoves- most stone and brick ovens, but in better off homes, often made of iron. They also made iron cooking pots and other implements.
There is some doubt about the prevalence of kitchen facilities. It is known that many of the poor would make dough from their corn dole and take it down to the local baker to have it made into bread at a cheap rate. Those people probably didn't cook at home at all.

Quote:
Roman wives did not upset themselves over prostitution, nor really over slave girls if they had a family that could afford them.
On the contrary. Many wives got very uptight over their men's behaviour, and if a slave girl caught the eye of her owner, there was a good chance the jealous wife would make her life hell (I believe this is attested to somewhere but offhand I don't remember where)

Quote:
Romans had a very strict sense of morality as regarded wives and a man's obligation to his wife. So it was very rare for a man to run off with any other woman- though he might take up mistresses or affairs.
As with anything else the Romans had a penchant for ambivalence. Sometimes the man saw opportunity in another woman - an extreme example is Antony ditching his wife and soliciting Cleopatra. As regards morality, this was a huge issue. Augustus for instance banished his daughter against public disapproval for her licentious and inappropriate behaviour, but then he had to seeing as he had preached heavily on the matter of morality, including the promotion of family life and children, which does suggest something else as increasingly normal.

On the other hand it is unfair to always blame the man. Some women in the post-Augustan empire behaved quite badly, even consorting with slaves (against the law) when they thought they could get away with it, and we do know that many ladies of wealthy background were attracted to the ludi not just to play the gladiator, but to bed her favourite if she could swing it. There is a story of one lady who gave up a life of idle luxury to run away with her grizzled gladiator heart-throb.

It is true that the imperial period inherited a good deal of moral expectation from more austere times. It is also true that wealth and leisure time were very aphrodisiac.

Quote:
Rome,in its heyday, was not all that large, physically. You could walk across it in a matter of an hour or two. That put MOST places in Rome a comfortable walk. If you needed to travel well across town, and were well off, you might hire a sedan chair or couch, carried by slaves. Occasionally, you could catch a ride with a delivery or other wagon going across town- and there WERE carts that kept to the big delivery roads that you could take to get CLOSE to where you had to go and walk from there.
Julius Caesar enacted a law to ban carts from moving by day in order to ease congestion, though it did nothing for a peaceful night.

Quote:
I assume gambling was something that happened in any roman venue-taverns, etc. but MOST occasions for the wealthy to gamble would be held in someone's private villa.
The poor gambled on the street- usually with dice.
The wealthy and poor alike gambled incessantly anywhere. This was emphasised at public performances like chariot races, wrestling, pancration (like wrestling but almost no rules), boxing (bare knuckle and later the evolution of 'protective' metal gloves), and of course gladiatorial fights.

Quote:
Romans did not have science because they did not have ZERO nor a means of writing down numbers that allowed for arithmetic. They were limited to the kinds of calculations you could do with an abacus.
The Romans never had science because they never needed it. Plenty of provincials or foreigners with those kind of talents, particularly greeks, but there were also social and religious reasons why Romans did not progress technogically.

Quote:
Winning charioteers were the wealthiest sports figures in the Roman world.
No they weren't, although one individual, a Lusitanian named Diocles, still holds the record for the being the richest sportsman ever with an estimated modern value of winning in the order of 30 billion dollars.

Quote:
Young men might practice horsemanship and train horses, as well as their martial skills.
Martial skills? Mostly they went around beating people up. Nero used to do that with his friends until he was recognised by his senator victim and had to murder him to avoid bad publicity.

Quote:
The coliseum could be flooded overnight to stage fake ocean battles in the morning, and then drained in less than four hours to stage combats or executions in the afternoon. No modern stadium has ever been built that can outperform the coliseum in terms of how fast a full capacity crowd can exit the facility.
It was a technological triumph.
The ability to flood the Coliseum was an original design feature that went out of use quickly. Modern research has found the outer walls of the Hypogeum (the floodable part later turned into stores, cells, and other apparatus) is not entirely ringed with waterproof concrete (the same old Roman thing with builders - there always 'cowboys' doing bodge jobs on the cheap). Further, the inlets and outlets for water are not especially large and hence the adaptability of the site was limited.
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Old January 5th, 2017, 10:14 AM   #24
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There is some doubt about the prevalence of kitchen facilities. It is known that many of the poor would make dough from their corn dole and take it down to the local baker to have it made into bread at a cheap rate. Those people probably didn't cook at home at all.

That is true...dirt poor, five story tenements likely had no individual kitchens. They often used a larger, common kitchen or got their bread baked elsewhere, although a baker would have charged for such services.

Bit the OP asked about the 'professional' class- and they would have absolutely had kitchens. A single brick lined oven, with pots heated on top... or often a simple iron grating over a small iron fire bell.... tho some roman stoves were quite modern looking.
Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.


On the contrary. Many wives got very uptight over their men's behaviour, and if a slave girl caught the eye of her owner, there was a good chance the jealous wife would make her life hell (I believe this is attested to somewhere but offhand I don't remember where)

In those instances where a husbands mistress was a household slave- and the husband treated the slave girl especially well, sure, wives might get jealous. But they were not generally jealous of the SEX. they were jealous a woman in the household being treated as well or better than the wife.

Poorer women were likely more jealous than the affluent women were, because their husbands were far more likely to take a powder if they came across a woman they liked much better.

But among the patrician class- where women stopped having sex in order to be the 'surviving' wife- they genuinely did not care and did not make much fuss about it.
They were more concerned with their husband keeping up appearances and their Status as wife. They jealously guarded their status... but that was about social standing and not about sex.

As with anything else the Romans had a penchant for ambivalence. Sometimes the man saw opportunity in another woman - an extreme example is Antony ditching his wife and soliciting Cleopatra. As regards morality, this was a huge issue. Augustus for instance banished his daughter against public disapproval for her licentious and inappropriate behaviour, but then he had to seeing as he had preached heavily on the matter of morality, including the promotion of family life and children, which does suggest something else as increasingly normal.

I don't think this is ambivalence. Roman men would screw the knothole in a fence if that was what was available. But Roman's held a different idea about FEMALE chastity. It was STILL an era with pretty lousy birth control and the Patrimony of one's children- the inheritors of ones legacy was paramount.

That is- not unlike the more modern era- where men were seen as womanizers, and women were supposed to be virgin brides ( a silly lie we told ourselves since those womanizing men were not all sharing the same handful of fallen women )

Like all cultures... they had a narrative of belief about themselves that was not a truthful picture of their actual conduct.

This is true of all cultures


On the other hand it is unfair to always blame the man. Some women in the post-Augustan empire behaved quite badly, even consorting with slaves (against the law) when they thought they could get away with it, and we do know that many ladies of wealthy background were attracted to the ludi not just to play the gladiator, but to bed her favourite if she could swing it. There is a story of one lady who gave up a life of idle luxury to run away with her grizzled gladiator heart-throb.

Women of wealth had access to abortion and to methods of pregnancy prevention as well, and they certainly indulged in affairs. They were simply expected to keep these things quiet, whereas men were expected to have mistresses and brag about it.
Caesar was pilloried in graffito, NOT because he was having affairs, but because he was having affairs with notable MARRIED women. It was the social standing of the woman he was bedding that was the outrage... not his having a mistress.


The wealthy and poor alike gambled incessantly anywhere. This was emphasised at public performances like chariot races, wrestling, pancration (like wrestling but almost no rules), boxing (bare knuckle and later the evolution of 'protective' metal gloves), and of course gladiatorial fights.


Agreed...i was pointing out that there wasn't anything like what we think of as being a 'casino'- people gambled at peoples houses, in taverns, at the theatre... everywhere.

The Romans never had science because they never needed it. Plenty of provincials or foreigners with those kind of talents, particularly greeks, but there were also social and religious reasons why Romans did not progress technogically.

Wrong. They HAD science- and they used it...their science was simply limited to the directly observable. They could NOT INFER nor create equations to describe their observations and so could not come up with models of how the world worked beyond direct observation. However, they DID understand, for example, Siphonic actions and could calculate just how far UPHILL they could pull water with an aqueduct. They also understood exactly how far up a PUMP could draw- but because they could not do higher maths, they could never determine that the reason they could not pump higher than 30 feet was because anything higher would draw a vacuum.

They had enough science to build complex bath works with carefully controlled temperatures of water and to create convection heating systems for large buildings. As well as experiment with and steadily improve their formulations of concrete.
But trial and error observation can only take you so far. And EVERY society NEEDS higher science if they want to progress beyond the stage that Rome, Egypt, Babylon, Harrapan, Mayan and Medieval cultures rose to.
Because the inability to DO higher science is the primary cause of ALL collapse in every civilization.

You can see roman artists struggling with TRYING to make their murals more naturalistic... but totally unable to figure out how to do that , because they could not invent a science of optics from which the rules of perspective geometry might be derived.

It is plain silly to say that Rome didn;t have science because they never NEEDED it. Rome collapsed because of the entropy that sets in whenever an economy stops growing. And theirs stopped growing because Conquest of resources was their only means of growth and they could no longer afford to expand at the rate needed to maintain steady growth.

Every civilization that ever fell, fell to the stagnation suffered by the end of economic growth. Once their territory was a large as their productivity could defend, further conquest became a diminishing return. And their internal economy eroded to the point where they either suffered all out economic collapse, or could no longer defend their borders against an encroaching rival.

Roman numerals doomed Rome. And the renaissance West did NOT suffer the same fate solely because we had Both Greek natural philosophy, AND facile numerology that enable arithmetic calculation and the development of higher maths.






No they weren't, although one individual, a Lusitanian named Diocles, still holds the record for the being the richest sportsman ever with an estimated modern value of winning in the order of 30 billion dollars.

Um- you say they weren't, then admit they were. Make up your mind.
Sorry- Chariot races were ten times more popular than gladiatorial games. Just look at the seating capacity of the circus versus the flavian amphitheater and the fact that royal palaces had balconies overlooking the circus.

if That guy was the Richest sports figure in history. How rich were his top RIVALS? There were no other sports in the Roman world that offered anywhere near that level of acclaim and money.


Martial skills? Mostly they went around beating people up. Nero used to do that with his friends until he was recognised by his senator victim and had to murder him to avoid bad publicity.

The question was about 'exercise'
Patricians did not do much exercise. Roman generals generally were not very practiced with a sword, though they were expected to be decent horsemen.

Upper class people might do something like calisthenics or wrestling at the baths.

Lower class roman young men often ended up in the legions. And they would practice martial skills. That is about as close to 'exercise' as Romans ever got.

Being in a legion was marching, trenching, erecting fortifications, camp cleanup, and fighting. A life that had no need of 'exercise'.



The ability to flood the Coliseum was an original design feature that went out of use quickly. Modern research has found the outer walls of the Hypogeum (the floodable part later turned into stores, cells, and other apparatus) is not entirely ringed with waterproof concrete (the same old Roman thing with builders - there always 'cowboys' doing bodge jobs on the cheap). Further, the inlets and outlets for water are not especially large and hence the adaptability of the site was limited.

Not sure what you mean by 'waterproof'- ALL concrete is porous and water will soak into it. All concrete can withstand water, though some kinds will weaken if underwater for months or years.

The special concrete you are referring to was a concrete Romans developed for use in harbors and other wet locations that steadily increased in strength underwater. It was necessary only in areas that were going to be constantly underwater. The coliseum was never intended to be flooded for more than half a day at a time.

I don't know when they decided to stop flooding the coliseum, but they did not convert the hypogeum 'later'- it was a staging area for animal releases and other special effects from its opening day- it was all simply able to be flooded and drained without effecting the simple mechanisms employed, and, indeed, since it is where the wild animals were stored, it was routinely partially flooded just to CLEAN it.

The inlets and outlets have been calculated to be able to flood the entire coliseum in less than 4 hours, and to drain it in less than 4 hours. It would be flooded in the predawn hours for a morning water themed event, and then drained in time for an afternoon dry event.

For cleaning purposes, it could be flooded to a foot deep in 15 minutes and drained in fifteen minutes. By making the animal cages elevated a foot or so ( on wheels ) and with screens at the bottom.... the waste and urine could be washed away Daily, without the need to move the animals.
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Old January 8th, 2017, 04:25 AM   #25

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Poorer women were likely more jealous than the affluent women were, because their husbands were far more likely to take a powder if they came across a woman they liked much better.

But among the patrician class- where women stopped having sex in order to be the 'surviving' wife- they genuinely did not care and did not make much fuss about it.
They were more concerned with their husband keeping up appearances and their Status as wife. They jealously guarded their status... but that was about social standing and not about sex.
The sources indicate that sexual and marital mores among wealthy women were just as dramatic if not more so.

Quote:
Um- you say they weren't, then admit they were. Make up your mind.
Sorry- Chariot races were ten times more popular than gladiatorial games. Just look at the seating capacity of the circus versus the flavian amphitheater and the fact that royal palaces had balconies overlooking the circus.

if That guy was the Richest sports figure in history. How rich were his top RIVALS? There were no other sports in the Roman world that offered anywhere near that level of acclaim and money.
I did make up my mind - you misunderstood. Prizes for chariot racers were not much different than gladiators. The difference with Diocles was that he had a genuine talent for racing, a dangerous and difficult sport in which death by accident was frequent, As the premier star of his day he was well patronised and rewarded - but he was very much an exception.

Quote:
Not sure what you mean by 'waterproof'- ALL concrete is porous and water will soak into it. All concrete can withstand water, though some kinds will weaken if underwater for months or years.
I mean waterproof. As in water will not pass through it. The Romans had a recipe for it specifically based on volcanic sand and were known to employ it - though it was an expensive building option.

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Wrong. They HAD science- and they used it...their science was simply limited to the directly observable.
No, they did not. Science was not taught as a subject in schools, nor was the Roman Empire any more advanced at the end than it was in the beginning - they simply employed people who knew things. Romans tended to regard 'technology' as we call it as something that strained fate - with good reason. Further, patricians did not subsidise scientific research. Their careers were at risk with any embarrassing failure.

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Roman numerals doomed Rome.
Good grief. I hadn't heard that one before. I'll add it to the other 237 stated reasons for the collapse of the Roman world.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 11:47 AM   #26

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Originally Posted by aldo12 View Post
The smell of Garum is horrible.
Counterpoint:

If you've eaten Thai food, you might have already had Fish Sauce, which is basically the same thing as Garum. It's part of what makes everything so tasty!

Knowing this, I would be up for trying some garum in the right amounts.

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Old January 11th, 2017, 12:06 PM   #27

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Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
Counterpoint:

If you've eaten Thai food, you might have already had Fish Sauce, which is basically the same thing as Garum. It's part of what makes everything so tasty!

Knowing this, I would be up for trying some garum in the right amounts.

-Dave K
Modern day garum.

Click the image to open in full size.

The secret ingredient of great fried rice.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 12:15 PM   #28

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Originally Posted by caldrail View Post
I'll add it to the other 237 stated reasons for the collapse of the Roman world.
Don't you mean DCCCXXXVII stated reasons for the collapse of the Roman world?
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Old January 11th, 2017, 12:39 PM   #29

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Modern day garum.

The secret ingredient of great fried rice.
Hmm. Have never tried it in the rice itself. I tend to use it in thai cooking and I associate fried rice with Chinese cooking.

It is an essential part of the best thai peanut sauce recipe ever.

Anyway, sorry if this is OT. The point is that we should not out of hand dismiss garum!

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Old January 11th, 2017, 12:41 PM   #30

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Good grief. I hadn't heard that one before. I'll add it to the other 237 stated reasons for the collapse of the Roman world.
So reason number CCXXXVIII?
[Edit: ah Jax beat met to it]

It is often listed as a reason that mathematics did not develop in Rome.

Searches for "roman mathematician" give us a list of....Greeks.

So we can cross that off as one of our possible Roman yuppie jobs.

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