Thursday, November 5, 2009

Todos Los Cerdos Tienen Su San Martin

Transliterated it means all pigs have their San Martin. Translated it means that your misdeeds will be revisited on you and it refers to pig slaughter.

In Spain San Martin is traditionally the day the family pig is slaughtered, butchered and turned into hams and other forms of charcuterie. Falling on 11 November it marks the coming of winter and the need to hoard. An Ibicenco told me that when he was growing up (Franco era), it was also the only day of the year when you KNEW you were gonna get enough to eat.

In 2 days time I am going to a Matanza – a Pig Killing. I made a preliminary visit to the farmer this week and there was a lot of winking and nudging going on. He was getting visibly excited at the prospect of a day’s sausage making and more importantly, I get the impression, drinking and eating. He introduced me to the pig. Man, that pig is big. 180 kilos.

The actual killing is to take place at 8am on Saturday morning followed by chocolate and buñuelos (aniseed doughnuts) whilst the blood drains. Then it is a day of butchery and sausage making with unending porrones* of local wine and culminating in a massive Arroz de Matanzas – huge rice dish using some of the best cuts from the departed beast.

A friend of mine used to have nightmares cos of all the screaming of pigs she would hear at this time of year. Apparently their screams are chilling. Once again the comparison between pigs and humans is drawn. Lindsey Anderson got it so right

So anyway, 8am sharp Saturday. With camara and knife.

*A porron is that mad glass jug with a pointy spout that the spanish drink out of. They take great pride pulling it further and further away from their lips without spilling a drop. I am useless at this so will enjoy being the laughing stock again.