By Chef Miriam Arazini – on the relationship between man and nature
Ah, how beautiful are the stories and memories that childhood in the countryside brings us …
My most vivid memories involve the relationship of adults with farm animals: care, management, respect. In this experience, we come to understand and internalize concepts of great people, such as symbiosis and life cycle.
But children grow up, move away from the countryside, develop new concepts and the truths of childhood on the farm become blurry or corrupted. Suddenly, we learned that men are always great villains and we started to shock ourselves with a photo of a cook killing a chicken or a video of a meat in the Pantanal. But we continue to buy chicken fillets in Styrofoam trays and eat raw fish at the trendy restaurant.
In the midst of this whirlwind of contrasting visions of my life as an adult cook and consumer, an immersion trip helped me to rediscover my lucidity: a gastronomic safari in the Pantanal of Rio Negro. There, my memories reached the perfect terrain and the necessary peace to submerge into consciousness, reminding me how beautiful the relationship between man and nature can be.
Few people respect animals as much as wetlands. And one of those pantaneiro angels was “Seu Davi”. A simple, humble and wise man, who taught me more about the gastronomy of the Pantanal than any college. From the reception with an ox head barbecue, passing through the importance of the crooked puzzle, to my most remarkable experience of the trip: participating in the slaughter and fur of a free-range pig.
We woke up very early that day and went to meet “Seu Davi” who, with his typical tranquility, taught us how to slaughter in order to minimize the animal’s pain, bleeding, meticulous coat, portioning of the ham and rib, and separation of the kids to produce a sarapatel. He invited me to skin the pig, I put my hands on the dough and I can say that the feeling throughout the process was of reverence for that living being that would serve us as food.
Thank you, “Seu Davi”, for (re)teaching me the strength of human interaction with the environment! Thank you, “Seu Davi”, for making me understand that, regardless of beliefs and lifestyles, the bond between us and all other living beings can be of serene and admirable appreciation!