Sunday, October 27, 2013

Church Fair in My Neighborhood

Since my family moved to this farm in 1976, I always felt enchanted with the neighborhood. Very next to where I live, ten white houses facing each other formed a little "village", occupied by the Brazilian Italian families. The little dirt road had an one-room school and a tiny memorial chapel. But the main attraction to me was on another dirt road that took to two snack bars, a church, and a garden. It was not only very quaint to my teenage view, but the idea of having access to those bars where I could buy ice cream or candies blew my mind. So I hold this place dear to my heart. A few days ago, the community members promoted a church fair, where the main star is the chicken and not the cross. Even though the neighborhood has not longer many people living, many visitors come from the nearest towns to crowd the place.

The building on the left used to be a bar. It´s closed down. The house next to it is occupied by a lone widower. All the cars belong to the people working for the fair.

It´s a ghost square throughout the year. The great majority of helpers comes with a car, and only three people living in front of the church comes by walking. But, someone came on a horse today.

That´s the little chapel that holds a mass twice a month. Most of the time, it is just like this: closed.

Many men put the tents up. It is a beautiful sunny day, but sometimes it rains in this time of the year.

Women work together to chop up vegetables for 1000 kebabs (skewered beef with onion, bell pepper, and tomato).

Endless table with sliced potatoes being prepared for homemade potato chips. Wash, drain, and dry, three times.

This is where the real fun happens. I waited all year to be able to take a picture of the ovens running on high heat.

Four ovens are lit using natural wood from legally run wood farms. It´s hot all over.

500 marinated and stuffed chicken being prepared to go into the ovens.

130 chickens being loaded into each of four hot ovens.

Look at that smile! It´s for a reason.

That´s the reason for the season-ing.

Unbelievable works of art. All 500 perfectly roasted chickens.

Draining off excess fat, for a golden brown skin, tender, moist meat falling off the bones. This good!

Country people love to fry in an open air kitchen. Look at the background. That´s a real farm with plowed land.

1000 kebabs being fried in two huge metal tanks.

Deep fried skewered beef is homestyle finger food in Brazil found in many snack bars. It is rather unattractive, rustic and humble, but deadly delicious.

This roasted piglet goes into an auction. The highest bidder usually returns the item to a new auction so the fundraising goes on and on on the same goodie. (2009 photo)

Lip licking, luscious, scrumptious, crunchy, enourmous kebab.

I had gotten my stuffed roasted chicken during the day, intercepting the tray just out of the oven, left at lunch time, stopped by a nearby restaurant, bought a beer, and headed home to dive into my glutonic tantrum.

Past the binging, I got ready to go again. The event was supposed to start at 7 p.m. to go on until midnight ending with fireworks, but I, like any other good country girl, arrived at 6 p.m., just to be tuned with many of my neighbors ("we got to go early or there is no gonna be table for us. I wanna sit close to the rabbit cage", so told me my neighbor). Soon I arrived, took the remaining pictures, and quickly picked up 4 giant skewered beef (with vegetables), 4 bags of potato chips, 3 guarana sodas, sat down and ate my share, but not everything. I saved one bag of chips for rainy days (that happened to be next morning but no rain came). I got home before 7:30 p.m., planning to go back to see the people. But never did. I missed the grilled steak (churrasco), roasted pig, roasted lamb, bingo, raffle,rabbit game, and all my neighbors dressed up, women with chemically straightened hair walking awkwardly on high heels and men wearing unusual clean shirts.
Next day, my house helper told me that she arrived at 8 p.m. to find no more food to buy. Luckily, she had ordered her chicken in advance, so she saved her dinner. I felt slightly ashamed for my glutony, but nevertheless, satified with my good decision to grab the food early.

Next year, I am going to be with those smily guys to learn how to fire and control those giant wood fired ovens, besides taking the rest of the pictures I missed this year (of other roasted meats, games, and the people). And I will arrive at 6 p.m. to make sure I get my kebabs & potato chips. Of course, the roasted chicken is picked up just before lunch to get myself fueled for the evening event.

1 comment:

  1. Very impressive quantities. Looks like lots of fun and very yummy.