What Is Garum? And How to Use It for Cooking – Eater

Extremely tasty and frequently misunderstood, garum is a fermented fish sauce that traces its origins back to Roman times. Over the course of more than a dozen centuries, it has managed to sustain its influence in the culinary world, even if its preparation method may have changed: Unlike the Romans, today’s garum makers don’t typically use huge quantities of fish and salt and seawater to prepare it, much less stone tanks. While the designation “garum” has been used (often incorrectly) to define fish sauces obtained from fermentation without salt, true garum is as relevant as ever, beloved by chefs throughout the world for its robust, umami-rich flavors: With just a few drops of it, you get a whole new dish.

What Is Garum? And How to Use It for Cooking – Eater

Weekend Reads: “Ariadne”

AriadneAriadne by Jennifer Saint
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This re-telling of the myth of Ariadne kept me reading long past bedtime. “Just one more chapter,” I’d tell myself, and then keep going.

For those unfamiliar with the tale, Ariadne helps Theseus slay the Minotaur — who is her half-brother. She is then seduced by Theseus and abandoned on the isle of Naxos, with Theseus telling everyone that she is dead.

Nobody is perfect in this story, least of all the gods and heroes. Ariadne struggles to find her way through a number of mentally harrowing situations that result from her eventual marriage to the god Dionysus who, for all of his foibles, does try to let her know when she’s about to make monumental mistakes.

I enjoyed the book very much, and one need not be terribly familiar with Greek mythology in order to do the same.

View all my reviews

R.I.P. Meat Loaf

I was in the music business in the dark recesses of time, and one of my bands opened for Meatloaf when he played in a San Francisco night spot. Rest in power.


Well, that inappropriately hilarious headline had to happen sometime, and if it sounds like Hazel burnt the dinner, the fault lies with the high school football coach of Dallas native Marvin Lee Aday (b. 1947), who gave him that nickname. (He was born “Marvin” though he later changed it legally to “Michael”. I guess he found “Marvin” embarrassing, though that reservation surely didn’t deter him from employing a professional name even more calculated to draw ridicule, as of course it did. Especially among the older generation back in the ’70s).

I didn’t spend hours listening to Meat Loaf records, although I liked his singles and loved his image. My main interest in him lies in the fact that he lived in the nexus between rock and theatre/film. Most of the eulogies today seem to be dwelling on his recording career, which is natural, but my focus will be a little…

View original post 793 more words

Where to Start with Historical Fiction – DIY MFA Blog – Pamela Taylor

The cliché advice to anyone wanting to write is “write what you know.” There’s nothing wrong with that advice, but, in my opinion, it doesn’t go far enough. You may know an incredible amount about the Vietnam War, but if you have a particular aversion to that period of American history, trying to write about it may quickly begin to feel like drudgery. It’s unlikely you’ll tell a very good story if you don’t enjoy what you’re writing about.

So think about what speaks to your heart. Are you intrigued by the dangers faced by the resistance movements in Europe during World War II? Find a historical figure—or create your own character—and plunge into the story.

Are you fascinated by women who’ve played remarkable roles in the distant past? These weren’t always political figures. They might have been in science or medicine or the arts. Go looking for some of the lesser-known ones and spin their tale.

Do you think it might have been fun to have lived during the Renaissance in the orbit of someone like Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo? Why not create a character who was an apprentice or assistant to the great master? Or, perhaps even more intriguing still, a character who fancied themselves as a rival to the great one?

Do you love music? Choose a composer—perhaps a less well-known one—and tell their story. Perhaps tell it from the point of view of someone in their household? Or maybe tell the tale of the creation of one of your favorite masterworks.

Where to Start with Historical Fiction – DIY MFA Blog – Pamela Taylor

Music Monday: “Calon Lân”

Hi, everyone. I’m back from my business trip and mostly recovered from altitude sickness. I am still experiencing some fatigue which, from what I’ve read, is fairly normal in cases like what I had.

Anyway, this week’s song is tangentially related to one of my works in progress, Rose in Bloom. My male main character, Gareth, is Welsh. There’s a huge tradition of male choral singing in Wales; this group is called Only Boys Aloud. The song’s title, Calon Lân, translates to “A Pure Heart.” Enjoy!