Wednesday, June 13, 2007


That's what I got myself as a birthday present many years ago.
No, a timber man I am not.
Nor I had land with trees, or did any yard work.
I bought the damned gas chainsaw to cut slabs of real ground beef to sellable sizes.
I was in Cuba.
And yes, I had a family to feed, such I quit my day job and I became a blackmarket operator of sorts. A bad one, I must say, because I gave away many things, not raking a profit most of the time, but that was not my objective.
Back to the slab of real ground beef.... regular Cubans get "masa carnica" which is a composite aggregate of ground soy beans, earth worms which are grown in special farms, residuals from the meat industry, and food colorant. I, like many others, vowed to not take that shit to my mouth, and depended on the black market for my almost non existing meat intake. Until one day, where some guy who worked for the Comite Central del Partido Comunista de Cuba, knock at my door and told me that he had real ground beef to be sold, by the slab. The slab is about 5 feet by 2 feet, and about 4 inches thick. It comes frozen. Of course, I bought one, and set out in the garage of a friend with an ax and broke into pieces.
I gave my rather dispossessed friend more than half of it, out of shame, his family was much worse off than mine. I sold some to somebody, and I realized that my money should go to the gardener of the French embassy in exchange for a gas chainsaw.
The subsequent slabs of real ground beef were worked on like if I were the maniac of the Texas chainsaw massacre. Many people got meat, stolen a la Robin Hood from the Central Committee of Commiedom itself.
Those were years of adventures, and having a false hold in the back seat of the 1953 Ford was very useful.... If it had only been seaworthy....
One day, the meat vendor disappeared, he left for Miami on a raft and he never arrived. I believe that he was probably snitched on and killed, as a vengeance for his constant (and gallant) robberies to the country's tyrannical elite.
It was 1991.
I sold the chainsaw to someone who was doing gardens.
My family needs grew, and I simply stopped eating meat altogether.
Years later, in exile already, I fainted in a supermarket after my head spun in an spiral of confusion and dizziness, as I stood in front of the butcher section. It took me a long time to get accustomed to meat, and to remember the flavors of the different cuts of meat. I had to let it to my ancestral memory to float my never-had memories of meat and meat cookery over to the surface of my mind, so I could fathom what to cook and how.
This episode was brought back by an album to whose beat I am writing this post, Rock para las masas.... (carnicas) by Porno Para Ricardo. While reviewed it I wrote that the pile of meat and chicken printed on the CD could look totally pornographic for a Cuban.