It was the 1960s, when the country was in an unprecedented difficult period. At that time, I was still studying in Suining First Middle School. For modern people who are well fed and clothed, it is hard to imagine what it is like to be hungry. If I were to say that rice bran, pumpkin vine tips, cereal cores and red camp leaves were once used as food by the hungry people, many young people would think I was talking about a “fantasy”. But people in their 40s and 50s understand that this is exactly what happened.
It was a lean autumn day. Many people were suffering from edema due to severe malnutrition. My father, who was lying sick in bed, looked at my brother and me, at our developing but slender bodies like bamboo poles, and said, “You guys go to the river bank and catch some fartworms ……”
I suddenly drooled – because this thing I had eaten, was playing together when the neighborhood pals caught to me. I should say that it is 100 times better than fried beans, and the fried silkworm pupae that people usually love to eat in the land of mulberry are not comparable to it.
The Ful River in late autumn is shrouded in a dense fog. As the saying goes, “Autumn insects are wailing”. At this time of the year, the fartworms gather under the pebbles in the open areas of the riverbank to lay their eggs for the winter, which is a good time to catch them. My brother, my brother and I, along with our neighbors Mudbud, Jingyuwa and Qingwazi, waded through the harsh river water to the rocky beach in the center of the river. We moved a large pebble, brown, nail-cap sized nest after nest, a few, more dozens of hundreds. Half a day’s work, but caught a few pounds. After returning home and put in a bucket with hot water, the fart insects can not stand the frying, in a jumping sound released all the turbulence, and then the fart insects into the pot with a slight fire roasting, and then gradually burn the fire larger, the fart insects will begin to spill some oil, and the more frying oil more. After a baking, the oil is bright and yellow, like fried shrimp and more fragrant, like oil dregs and more crispy, eaten in the mouth crispy, the special flavor is not words can describe. It is no wonder that Mr. Wang Zengqi, when recalling a period of exile at the Southwest United University, said how he was “salivating” when the janitor at the entrance of the campus was frying fartworms with gusto to drink, which is justified.
I happened to look up Li Shizhen’s “Compendium of Materia Medica”, and the fartworm was also included in the book, but in a more elegant way, not only removed the vulgar word, but also called “nine fragrant worms”, which is the essence of its “strange fragrance”. The “compendium” says: this worm “sweet and pungent in nature, dispel dampness and poison, heavy stone zinc, drive the body miasma, wake up the eyes hair ……”, in today’s terms, containing rare mineral elements of the human body, and detoxification and bright eyes Hair growth, a whole lot of benefits. If savvy manufacturers use it to make health food, and then take a nice name (of course, not called “fart worm essence” and so on), its nourishing function will certainly be better than “x x treasure”, “x x essence “, “× × nutrition oral liquid” a thousand times.