Monday, 14 December 2009

Slaughter and snowflakes (not for the weak of tummy)

Winter is definitely here. If not by date or snowfall, it is here by slaughter. The time has come to slay the oinking pink things and turn them into yummy food.
              Personally I have never witnessed a slaughter before. Last year I came close, as I was asked to help the women with the preparations, but I was terrified. My dad once had three hogs he loved immensely, called Bonifacij, Pankracij and Servacij  and when the time came to slay them, he cried and wouldn't come from behind the shed. Of course, once it was done and it began to less resemble a living thing that stared at you when you gave it apples, the game was back on. Funny thing that my city slicker aristocrat of a mother has absolutely no problem assisting the slay.


Squeamish as I may be, I am also curious. So, I was there for th whole thing for the first time. And didn't throw up once!
            The first few moments are kind of disturbing, with the large men dragging the poor scared thing out and when the pig sat down confused in all the fuss, what did she do to be treated so, but then it was over rather quickly. The professional butcher shot it in the head to stun it with a stun gun and then slit the throat, they intercepted the blood and then waited out for the spasms to stop. When the pig's snout gets all bluish and pulled back, it's done for, but that by no means means it's lying still. Especially when they poured water on it to start cleaning it, it kicked and twisted like nothing. It's prudent to stay away at the time, as the pointy hoofs can kick through your leg like nothing.
            Then they covered it in an amberish flour and scrapped the hairs clean off. What was left was a flawless corpse of a pig on a ladder, steaming in the winter with snowflakes slowly drifting down.

I must say, the old butcher guy, nothing special by the look of him, was truly skilled. He did everything quickly, smoothly, almost without any mess and entirely without ceremony. Last year I had to continouosly bring hot tea to the men and was sick and trembling, but this time it wasn't so cold and I was standing right next to them. The amazing bit was I've never actually inspected the insides of a living thing and pig's anatomy is very similar to human's. The lung and heart, covered in coagulated black blood are the same size, the massive lungs and the fillet-like spleen are similar, the imoressive chest cavity and the mileage of intestine. From an academic perspective it was extremely revealing. I saw the muscles on a severed corpse still twitch from discharge. And the calming factor was - on a farm not a single thing goes to waste. Not blood, not head, not tail, nothing. Even the womb was tossed onto the tree for birds to eat. Everything was cleaned, cooled and stored.

I have several REALLY gory pics, but they seem odd now - yesterday it was just a process.  Now I can place all the roast material when people purchase it.
        In the end they made sausages - LOTS of sausages. Some were meaty and greasy and others were bloody and ricey. The former are smoked and can be eaten dry and some people love them. Once when I walked all day in the mountains and finally reached a farm, the house mistress made me one of those and it was the best thing I've ever eaten - I was SO hungry.
         It was the longest day in a while and we slept for something like 10 hours straight before I realized we've overslept everything and he muttered he took a day off today. So I'm off to bed again :p