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Slaughtering - Schlachten

cultural story from the village of Darkowatz

Contributed by Walter Nehlich and translated by Diana Lambing

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 house!

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 yard.


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.).


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