Parental Guidance: Do NOT read this post if you are squeamish or a genuine vegetarian and you take that position based upon your firmly held belief that the killing of animals for their meat is wrong.
As we ease our way through the furnace that is August, I find myself savouring the delightful prospect of September’s gentler warmth by day with cooler evenings and restful nights when I’m no longer bathed in sweat or kept awake by the thrum of the air conditioner. I find myself anticipating the cooling caress of zephyrs as they flow, unrestricted through windows open to the elements, the calling of nightingales, the chirr of cicadas and the sound of the tractor approaching at 2 o’clock in the morning! I lie there, half hoping that it will pass by and carry on up the track – but they never do; not at that time of night.
The engine stops, and a voice will call out in a hoarse whisper as if hoping not to disturb me; ‘Ali Bey, Ali Bey. Domuz, domuz!’ This is followed by a sharp dig in the ribs from J’s rather sharp elbow and a hissed ‘It’s you they want. It was your idea in the first place!’
I sigh and get up; call out ‘Tamam’ to my neighbours (for it is they), drag on some old clothes and stagger downstairs – my day has begun early!
There, waiting at the gate will be two or three beaming ‘komşu’ and a very fresh and very dead wild pig! They know that J and I have limited freezer capacity so what they bring these days are small to medium sized beasts – the big stuff they take to the hotels that do pig roasts for their, mostly, German guests and earn themselves a pretty penny in the process. I hasten to add here that our neighbours do not generally go out hunting these days; they are protecting their fields of maize that can get ravaged in fairly short order by a herd of wild pigs bent on a night out on the razzle.
What follows is not my favourite way of spending the wee, small hours. I look at it this way though; if they don’t bring these smaller pigs to me then they will be dumped in the forest and that I see as a terrible waste, so I grin and bear it.
First, I find some old cardboard boxes and cover the stone table at the back of the house and my neighbours will bring in the beast, put it on the table and wish me a cheery ‘Goodnight!’
Then, I get out some rope, secure the animal, find some buckets and bowls and sharpen the knives – the butchery is about to begin . . .
I won’t boar you (geddit?) with the gory details; suffice it to say that I skin the beast completely; wild pig meat is fat free and looks and tastes like beef.
Some of you, no doubt are screwing up your faces and saying such things as ‘How could you do that?’ ‘Uck!’ etc. I can understand that – unless that is you say ‘Uck!’ and then carry on buying your meat from supermarkets that are supplied from factory farms. To you I say ‘Either give up meat altogether or start buying it from local butchers who get their animals from farmers who raise their beasts and fowls naturally – allowing them to lead more natural, stress-free lives before you unwrap them and stick their body parts on your barby!’
Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü
Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü