The rat has passed, the golden bull is coming. As time goes by, people who have been busy for a year have entered the twelfth lunar month of winter.
“After Laba is the New Year”, people in Guanzhongxifu have eaten the colorful “Laba Congee”, and they feel that the flavor of the New Year is getting stronger and stronger. Cleaning the house, buying clothes, and buying new year’s goods have become people’s daily top priorities.
Today is the twenty-third of the twelfth lunar month, the traditional “sacrifice to the stove” day, heralding the beginning of the “small year”. Early in the morning, thinking about buying a fish for my grandson, I went to the market. After eight o’clock, the streets are full of people. Look at the hustle and bustle of the market. In front of the meat rack, the butcher yelled: “Fresh pork, twenty-five yuan a catty, both fat and lean…”
Listening to these screams, the smell of meat from my subconscious can not help but evoke memories of my past years.
I was born in the early 1960s. Under the planned economic system at that time, commodities were extremely scarce from rural to urban areas. Everything you buy was supplied by ticket. What kind of cloth ticket, food ticket, oil ticket, sugar ticket… the variety of supply tickets is dazzling, even buy some. Pork requires a meat ticket.
At that time, the rural areas worked collectively with production teams as units, paid according to work, and distributed food according to population. Although the rations are not very generous, every household raises pigs. Feeding piglets basically uses grass, swill, and only a little grain bran, grains and sundries, which is commonly known as “hanging bag”. After raising them for more than half a year, or selling them in the market, or starting to add feed to fattening, after four or five months, the fat pigs will be ready for slaughter. Farmers seldom slaughter fat pigs that are slaughtered, unless they are used for their own banquets at home before and after the Chinese New Year, they are generally sold to Guosuga Food Company, and the food company will also specially reward the farmers with a few kilograms of meat tickets at the same time as the payment. Supply, seven or eight cents a catty. Therefore, in that difficult era of lack of food and clothing, it is a luxury to be able to eat a meal with meat!
Time flies, spring and autumn change. The ancients said: the days increase, the life increases. Poor also celebrates New Year, rich also celebrates New Year, this is the tradition of dragon people. And Chinese New Year is always indispensable for wine, meat and delicacies. Liquor is easy to say, Meixian has a “burning workshop” since ancient times, especially the “Gutaijiu” is brewed with pure grains, made by ancient methods, fermented in crypts, distilled, and fragrant. Soft, long-lasting taste, high quality and low price, it is very popular with the public; it is a big deal to find a few empty wine bottles, fill a few kilograms of ancient Taibai loose wine, drink two cups, and warm up. But meat is not so easy to solve. In order to make up for the problem of insufficient supply of large meat before the Spring Festival of the food company, the production team at that time was self-reliant and self-sufficient, and collectively set up a small-scale pig farm and bought a few piglets. From the beginning of the year to the end of the year, the pork is slaughtered after fattening, and the pork is distributed to the members for the new year. This tradition continued until after the reform and opening up, the rural land contract and production responsibility system was implemented.
I remember that it was the early spring around 1970. The pig farm on the team was built next to the sunny earth cliff on the edge of the Taiyuan ditch. In the pigpen of the earth wall Chaimen, more than a dozen black-haired “eight eyebrows” piglets were fed. After lying lazily together basking in the warm sun, humming from time to time, it seemed very comfortable. Their owner is Uncle Yuzhe from the old house. He is a professional pig raiser arranged on the team. He has good skills, hardworking, and praises. On weekdays, mowing the grass, breaking the chaff, and the washer can’t stay idle. With his meticulous feeding, by the end of the year, all the piglets were fat and strong. They started walking, hengheng, haha, slowly surging and shaking. Three posing with fat hips. People were full of joy, looked at these “babies” greedily, and gave Uncle Yuzhe a thumbs up. And Uncle Yuzhe always grinned and said jokingly: “Haha, see you are greedy, and I want to get into the pig ditch”! … There were bursts of laughter reverberating in the wilderness. .
In the blink of an eye, it is the 23rd of the twelfth lunar month. Early in the morning, according to the team leader’s arrangement, people came to the pig farm in twos and threes and got busy. Set up wooden racks for hanging meat, set up a stove for boiling water, set up a table for killing pigs, and plant a large porcelain urn for scalding pigs. Pour a bucket of water into the big pot, and see that the flame in the furnace is booming, and the pot is already misty. Put boiling water into the urn, add a little cold water, adjust the water temperature to seven or eighty degrees, and then wait to invite the pigs into the urn.
The big second cousin is the only butcher on the team, and he picks the head to kill the pig every year. I saw him holding a wooden stick with an iron hook at the front and leading a few lads into the pigpen. Speaking of pigs, they are also inspired. They are not afraid of life, but have a premonition that they are about to end their lives, so they rush around in the circle. The second uncle was not in a hurry, while whispering “chatter…”, slowly approaching it, watching the timing, hooked the pig’s chin all at once, and pulled forward hard, the pig went back hoarsely, but it Still unable to squeeze manpower, pull ears, lift buttocks, tugging forward and backward, it moves to the desk step by step. At this time, the small shouts, giggles, and howlings of the fat pigs were mixed together, as if entering the “pig market”, and the noise was extraordinary!
The big black-haired fat pig was pushed on the side of the desk by several young men, but it still kept howling, but the sound was not so loud, maybe it was howling tired. As the second uncle stabs the pig’s neck with a sharp knife about a foot long, the pig struggles hard, kicks and screams; with the knife, a stream of red pig blood gushes out. Someone has long been holding a basin to catch the flowing pig blood and prepare the ingredients for a simple meal.
It’s time to scald the pig. Several people immersed the entire pig body in a large magnetic urn filled with hot water, pulling the pig’s hind legs or ears up and down. The pig’s body was soaked in hot water and scratched on the side of the urn. The black hair gradually fell off. Only the pig’s head needs to be depilated with “Stone”. In about twenty minutes, the fat black pig with all its hairs turned white, with fine skin and tender meat!
It’s time to put it on the shelves. The four raised the pig’s body, two meat hooks hung the two hind legs, and the pig was hung upside down on the rack in a “eight-shape”; the second uncle took a knife and made a small bite on the pig’s abdomen, and then stabbed the iron as thick as a finger. Stick it in, stab a few air paths along the pigskin, and then blow continuously at the small knife. The person next to him is holding a wooden stick and constantly slaps the pig’s body; with the second uncle’s cheeks, he blows and sucks. After a while, the pig’s body was gradually full of flatulence, round and bulging, as big as a “half big cow”. Take a cork at will, block the knife edge, and then finely remove the residual hair, remove the head, open the belly, take out the internal organs, and split the spine. As a result, the finished pork is considered complete.
The most reminiscence is interesting. The second uncle drew a cigarette in his mouth, patted the upside down pig body, and said something in his mouth: “What a fat thing…” Then he spread his legs and inhaled two puffs of cigarettes. Then he held the knife in his right hand and stroked the pig from the top to the bottom. , While he exhaled the smoke ring, the pork belly turned out like a deep groove in the snow; with the one-foot-long wooden stick propped up the knife left and right, I saw the internal organs pouring out, sticking to the flower oil. The intestines are twisted and twisted, like the lotus petals in full bloom, white and red, and the water is fresh and flexible.
Looking at the second uncle, he raised his right hand, lowered his head, spit out the cigarette butt, bit the back of the horizontal knife, and put his free hands into the cavity of the pig’s organs, skillfully smashing the internal organs, and digging out one by one. Especially when pig urine soaked out of our belly, our group was very excited, “Second Lord (Second Uncle)…give me this urinary bubble”, and we made small prayers from time to time. The second uncle was not in a hurry. He squeezed a fist-sized urine bubble, and while washing it, he coaxed the children: “bag grab bag grab” (Guanzhong dialect: don’t fight the meaning), and then blow the urine bubble to the size of a football. After tightening his mouth, he threw it into the air, laughing and saying: “Baby, go for fun.” Suddenly, he bounced and jumped to chase the “balloon.”
Look at the clearing on the edge of the cliff, a group of children are making fun. The white urine bubbles bounce and leap in each other’s hands, like playing volleyball; or when they fall on the ground, they will kick and touch each other, just like a football game… After a while, the white “balloons” turn into earthy gray, but the interest is unabated and the trouble is joyous. In that difficult era when the economy was relatively backward, this former rural children’s music became an unforgettable childlike innocence!
Looking at the side of the pot, the bowl full of pig blood has been steamed, and adults and children are holding the fragrant pig blood clots in their hands, eating with relish. Looking closely at that big fan with more than a hundred catties full of fat, everyone felt happy: the Chinese New Year is so good…because there is meat to eat!
One after another slaughter, from sunrise to sunset, a busy day, more than 20 large pieces of meat are neatly placed in the warehouse, and there are piles of pig heads and offal meat. That year, the team got an average of more than three catties of meat, which was a fat year!
On the twenty-ninth of the twelfth lunar month, I returned home after my grandfather rushed to the market. It happened to be my mother’s smashed son, pure farm pork, plus authentic farm vinegar and aniseed seasoning, half of the alley was full of meat. Because it is a pig in the next year, the meat is old and the skin is thick, and it will be out of the pot after an hour. And the time of waiting is also the most difficult, because I am salivating!
“Boom… Bum…”, the sound of children playing with firecrackers on the side of the road surprised me from the memories of the past; in retrospect, the butcher is still selling: “Fresh pork, twenty-five dollars apiece. catty……”
According to legend, because pigs are lazy and lazy, they are not at the end of the Chinese zodiac. But the inertia of pigs has been recognized for thousands of years, and its meat has become an indispensable delicacy on the human table.
Nowadays, my country’s economy is developing rapidly, and there are a dazzling array of commodities on the market. The pig industry has transitioned from scattered farming to large-scale intensive breeding, and live pigs have also achieved mechanized assembly line fixed-point slaughter. Eating pork for three meals a day is commonplace, but people’s preferences have changed from “love fat” in the past to “his skinny” today. But it is seldom able to eat the original native meat flavor of the native pigs fed with grass and pure grains in the past. What’s even more regrettable is that it is hard to find the simple and rustic flavor of the New Year brought out by the troubles of killing pigs in the past.
“The sound of firecrackers is a year old, and the spring breeze sends warmth to Tusu.” Nian walked quietly in this street market amidst the crowds of people, watching the people in the rush of people carrying strips of pork with joyful expressions, I thought, if time can be turned back, I still want to eat the old farmhouse “Bamei” “Local pork-hot local kang, old kang table, shochu plate full of sauce-colored braised pork slices, plus a bowl of “thirteen flowers”, happily drinking two or two “gutai wine”, in the jokes, it is fun, The wine and meat are fragrant, and the taste is long.