Slaughtering - Schlachten
cultural story from the
village of Darkowatz
Walter Nehlich and translated by Diana
One special type of harvest was the
'bringing-in of the meat'. This could only happen during the
cold season of course. As the Darkowatzers had quite a lot of
free time then, the slaughter was a real time of feasting in
which all 'friends' (relatives and acquaintances) took part. It
was very hard work for everyone, the women included, as they
were involved in a lot of the work, particularly since there was
no electricity in Darkowatz at the time.
Once the pig had been stabbed, the blood was
caught in a 'Lavur' (bowl) and stirred continuously for the
Blutwurst (blood sausage, or 'black pudding' in England). Then,
hot water was poured over the animal in the 'Brieh-Multer'
(boiling tub) to enable the bristles to be removed. The bristles
were then scraped off and the claws pulled out. Finally, the 'Wutz'
(pig) was hung up by its back legs (achilles tendons) over the 'Heisaholz'
(a rod with prongs to stop the animal slipping down), as shown
in picture 103, or else on a rake. After removing the complete
head and innards the pig was slit in half lengthwise and cut up
further. First, the Blut-, Leber- and Bratwurst (blood, liver
and frying sausages) were made, as well as 'Schwartenmagen'
(brawn). The sausages for frying, and the ham ('Schunkafleesch')
were smoked for preservation.
The animals were originally kept on the
pasture and fed well on the acorns, but before being slaughtered
they were brought into the stall and fed properly with maize so
they would grow really fat. This was very necessary as the fat
was needed for use. On the day of the slaughter, 'Krapfen'
(doughnuts) were fried in the freshly drained fat. The 'Griew'
(crackling) was eaten with salt and also mixed into the
sausages. The meat was partly pre-cooked and conserved with
pig's fat in 'Schmalzständer' (enamelled pots with lids).
The frying sausage was made out of minced
meat, salt, pepper, paprika ('Paprich') and a good helping of
garlic. The mixture for the filling ('Fillsel') was put into a 'Worschtspritz'
(sausage syringe) and then pushed into the small intestine which
had been cleaned and turned inside out. The sausage syringe is
like those used for injections, only bigger. The cylinder is
made out of metal and the plunger is made of turned wood. There
is a support on the metal casing which is held against the table
when pressing. There were two cooking procedures necessary in
the large pot: First, some pieces of meat which were to be used
for the sausages had to be cooked. The leftover pot brew was the
'Kesselbrieh'; the cooked meat was the 'Kesselfleisch' which was
used for refreshments on the day. During the second boiling the
finished sausage was cooked (brawn). Then the 'Worschtsupp'
(sausage soup) was left over. This was collected by the
neighbourhood in milk cans or similar utensils and made into an
excellent tasting soup with home-made noodles or 'Fleck'lcher',
especially when a sausage was added to the pot.
In the evening, the youngsters went to the 'Spiessstecke'
(spitroast) which was particularly good fun. To go with it, a
sort of 'Spiessbrief' (spit letter) was composed and attached to
a branch with several sharpened offshoots and then thrown in
front of the door of the house where the slaughter was taking
place. The text of the letter wasn't exactly refined. It went
something like this:
1) We've heard there's a slaughter going on
at your place and good sausages are being made. Give me one as
well, but not such a small one - give me two rather than one!
2) The cook is worth her weight in gold and
silver - doughnut in, doughnut out, or I'll bash a hole in your
3) The butcher has stabbed the pig and Fritz sniffed around its
arse. Lisi said 'Go away!', I want a bit of dirt, too!
4) Emil was cleaning the tail when his finger slipped up its
arsehole; and Peter is sitting on a stump playing with his
pecker and Henry with the big feet is clomping all around the
Then the spit stick was filled with frying
sausage, pot meat, 'Sarma', gherkins, doughnuts and other
edibles, and handed around. Sometimes the spit stick was crammed
full of stuff, but other times there were only a few herb leaves
hanging from it, depending on how the spit letter was received
by the slaughtering community. In one case, a little boy was
sent by his 'Gitta-Tante' to throw the spit stick. As he slowly
and carefully drew near the door of the house (he mustn't be
discovered!), the dog growled.
The little boy was frightened and sat in the
corner by the well with the spit in his hand and not daring to
move. The 'Gittas-Got' thought the child had been discovered and
taken into the house as she hadn't heard any more from him. When
the mother went to collect her child from the slaughter feast
about two hours later, no-one knew where he was. A search party
set out with paraffin lamps to look for the child. After several
worrying minutes he was found fast asleep, frozen stiff and
covered in thick snow with the spit stick still in his hand. The
result was a heavy cold. (The little boy was Fritz K. and the
slaughter was at the house of Karl B.).