Sunday, November 20, 2005

Of New Years, fireworks & pigs

Hmm... Edwin read my post from yesterday and was shocked, at first, cos he thought the pig had just been slaughtered. But when he realized that it was already roasted, he felt hunger pangs! Can't say I blame him for getting shocked! I myself reacted negatively when I first saw it. What with the 20kg label dangling from its snout some more. Makes me feel like turning vegetarian. Almost, until my memory bank starts reminding me of how beautiful it tastes.

Many years ago, two of my brothers came to spend Christmas & New Year with us here in Malaysia. We were then living in Section 5 in Kelana Jaya. My husband, David, having had the privilege of tasting this Filipino speciality at one Philippine Embassy do, decided that it'd be great if his two brothers-in-law could try and cook it for our New Year's Eve party. And Filipinos being the accommodating creatures that they are, my brothers said, "sure, no problem!"

So it was one morning that we trekked to the wet market near SS1 somewhere and placed our order for a whole pig. It was to be delivered to our home on the 31st of Dec. My brothers then went around with David, in his old Volvo, driving around the streets of Medan Damansara looking for a nice thick bamboo trunk that they could cut to use to skewer the pig for cooking "rotisserie" style in an open pit. Exactly like the way its done back home. Having found the right trunk, they headed home to get it cleaned up and ready for the piggy.

On the morning of December 31st, a van drives up to our gate and announces the arrival of our main-dish-to-be. It was huge. The brothers Delfino lose no time in getting it prepped and ready for cooking. After thorough cleaning they stuffed it with lemongrass and Lord knows what else until they decided the pig was perfect for the roasting. Lest you all wonder where I was all this while, I was in charge of getting the house all spruced up and cleaned for the night. Either that or I must've been breastfeeding one of the kids. I was always breastfeeding then. But that's another story...

My two brothers are named Abet (Albert, Jr) and Gerry. Abet was in charge of cooking the special liver sauce that the "lechon" is served with and Gerry (a pyromaniac since he was small) was given the penultimate task of getting the fire ready. This is where the fun begins...

He decided that, because it was drizzling, he'd start the charcoal going in our driveway. This was a little after noon. He laid about 5 kilos of charcoal on the driveway and, for good measure, sprinkled a bit of kerosene on 'em to hasten the firing process. Some 45 minutes later, there was this mother-of-all-explosions that boomed right outside our front door! Abet, my mother-in-law & I all make a dash to the front door to see what happened and there was Gerry, smoke billowing up from his thick head of hair, surrounded by embers in every which way. My mother-in-law screams, "his hair! his hair's on fire!!!" Without thinking, I dash out barefoot (I was cleaning, mah!) like a hero, rushing to his aid, and ending up like a really bad apprentice firewalker. There was a big gaping hole where our car porch used to be. I had major blisters on my feet from running all over them embers. It was so stupid, it was hilarious!!! We couldn't stop laughing.

We finally regained our composure and Gerry (he escaped unscathed, save for some burnt-hair smell) decided to dig a small hole in our garden under the roof to turn into his roasting pit. He even decorated the front with some huge palm leaves to obscure the view of the piggy roasting. We lived opposite the Section 3 mosque. Nuff said.

All told, we had a marvelous New Year's Eve party. Everyone enjoyed that Filipino labour of love and this story is told & re-told each and everytime Christmas comes around. I'm sure it'll carry on for generations to come. I can just see my kids 20 years or so from now telling their own versions of the "lechon" story...

1 comment:

Min said...

So farnee! So when will your brothers be in town again? Now you have a big padang opposite your house, perfect for preparing lechon. Hahahaha!