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吃了会让人上瘾的蒙古松子

更新时间:2018-1-26 8:48:47 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Mongolia's obsession with pine nuts
吃了会让人上瘾的蒙古松子

Halfway up the mountain, Enkhbaatar disappeared.

爬到半山腰,恩赫巴特尔(Enkhbaatar)消失不见了。

“Enkhbaatar, where are you?” We swivelled, trying to spot his white hat through the tangled branches. This was no place to lose one’s guide. We were only a few kilometres below the Siberian border, in a dense, subarctic pine forest known as a taiga. It was famously remote, even by Mongolian standards.

"恩赫巴特尔,你在哪儿?"我们转来转去,想在繁芜杂乱的树枝间寻找到他头戴的白色帽子。这里可不是失去向导的好地方。我们位于西伯利亚边界以下几公里处,这里以泰加林带闻名,是一片茂密的亚北极松林。即使在蒙古人的字典里,这里也是有名的偏远之地。

Thunk.

砰!

Something hit the ground near my feet and rolled down the slope. I looked up to see Enkhbaatar nearly 10m in the air, clinging to the top of a pine tree. He yanked an object from the swaying branches and pitched it toward us.

有个东西从天而降,落到我的脚边,滚下了山坡。我抬头一看,只见恩赫巴特尔攀在松树顶,离地大约10米高。他猛地一拉摇晃的树枝,然后把什么东西扔给我们。

“Get it!”

"接住!"

I skidded downhill, but Enkhbaatar’s six-year-old son got there first. He snatched up the fruit-like object and started to gnaw. Spitting out a mouthful of purple rind, he showed me the prize beneath: rows of yellow pine nuts. The local equivalent of popcorn or crisps, pine nuts are eaten uninhibitedly, by the bagful, because they taste so good.

我滑到坡下去捡,不料恩赫巴特尔六岁的儿子却比我还快。那东西形如水果,只见他一把抓起,迫不及待咬了起来。他先是吐出一嘴紫色外皮,然后向我炫耀里面的战利品,原来是一串串黄松子。松子在当地是极为普遍的美食,就像爆米花或薯片一样,美味可口,人们吃完一袋又一袋。

Enkhbaatar tossed down a plastic sack for us to carry his haul. I knew pine cones as dry, squirrel-plundered husks; these were fat and ripe, with quilted skins like a pineapple. Their sticky sap glued dirt to our hands as we searched for more.

恩赫巴特尔扔给我们一个塑料袋,以便装满他从树枝上拽下来的美味。我过去一直以为松果很干燥,松鼠喜欢吃果壳。但这些松果个头大、果肉成熟,外皮酷似菠萝,满是缝隙。我们捡的越来越多,双手的灰尘被松果黏黏的分泌液牢牢粘在手上。

For me this was a novelty, but for Enkhbaatar it is daily life. He belongs to the Tsaatan, an ethnic minority who herd reindeer along Mongolia’s northern fringes. They live in tents alongside their animals and are essentially self-sufficient. Hunting pine cones in the taiga is the Tsaatan version of loading up on snacks at the supermarket.

这样的经历对我来说十分新奇有趣,但对恩赫巴特尔来说,则是日常生活。他是察坦人(Tsaatan),是生活在蒙古国北部以驯鹿游牧为生的少数民族。他们在动物周围搭建帐篷生活,基本自给自足。于察坦人而言,在泰加林带采摘松果如同在超市购买零食。

Caught between tundra and desert, northern Mongolia’s agricultural options are limited; a severe climate renders much of the land infertile and restricts grazing. So Tsaatan families move seasonally with their herds to find pasture. They eat the meat, milk and cheese the reindeer provide, but their diet, with its abundance of protein and fats, lacks the vitamins and minerals usually obtained from fruits and vegetables. This nomadic lifestyle – and its culinary limitations – is typical throughout Mongolia and remains largely unchanged since the days of Genghis Khan.

蒙古北部地区苔原和沙漠交织,农业选择严重受限。由于气候恶劣,大量土地贫瘠,影响放牧。因此察坦人会季节性地跟随牧群迁徙牧场。他们以驯鹿提供的肉、奶和奶酪为食,饮食中虽然含有丰富的蛋白质和脂肪,但缺乏水果和蔬菜通常所能提供的维生素和矿物质。这种游牧生活和饮食受限在整个蒙古地区十分常见,自成吉思汗时代以来状况基本没有改变。

Pine nuts help balance the meat-heavy diet. They are rich in iron and vitamins A and D – common nutritional deficiencies in children across the country, according to The World Bank – as well as potassium, magnesium and zinc. Vitamin D is especially important; the deficiency pursues Mongolians into adulthood and causes a high occurrence of the bone-weakening disease rickets.

松子可为食肉为主的饮食提供平衡。松子富含铁、维生素A和D、钾,镁和锌,这与世界银行统计的蒙古儿童最常缺乏的营养元素一致。维生素D尤为重要,因为蒙古人一直到成人阶段长期缺乏维生素D,导致软骨疾病佝偻病发生率高。

For the Tsaatan, the taiga ecosystem is a benefit of living along the nation’s isolated northern border; pine nuts cannot be found in the grasslands of southern Mongolia. Enkhbaatar’s family collects pine nuts every autumn to roast over the fire. They make a refreshing change from meat and milk; after a few days subsisting on salted mutton and reindeer cheese, the nuts tasted wonderfully clean and fresh to me.

察坦人认为,蒙古北部边界沿线地处偏僻,而泰加生态系统是非常好的生存之所。蒙古南部的草原不存在松子。恩赫巴特尔一家人每年秋天都会收集松子,置于火上烘烤。他们为以肉和奶为食的生活增添了新鲜的变化,连续几天食用腌制鹿肉和驯鹿奶酪,突然改吃松子,落喉净爽,美味令我耳目一新。

Several months later in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city, deep winter cold had me yearning for that remembered flavour. Surprisingly, I didn’t have to go far to find it. Despite the availability of imported fruits and vegetables – not to mention fast food chains and coffee shops – city residents had a taste for pine nuts, too.

几个月后,蒙古首都乌兰巴托的寒冷深冬让我更加渴望记忆中的松子味道。令人兴奋的是,只需到离我不远的地方,就可以一饱口福。进口水果和蔬菜应有尽有,快餐连锁店和咖啡店随处可见,但依然挡不住城市居民对松子的喜爱。

“They’re addictive,” my friend Byambaa told me as we walked the freezing streets. She wanted to get several kilos, but there weren’t any trees to climb in this glass and cement city. We needed a seller. While a few upscale restaurants offered pine nuts Western-style – sprinkled frugally over pasta – street vendors sold them by the bag.

"吃松子会上瘾,"走在冰冷的街道上,朋友贝姆巴(Byambaa)告诉我。她想吃几公斤松子,但在玻璃和水泥充斥的城市可没有什么松树可爬。需要去商店购买。有些高档餐厅提供西式做法的松子,通常在意面上吝啬的撒上几颗,有些街头商贩成袋售卖松子。

As a kid in the forests of Khentii Province, located north-east of Ulaanbaatar along the Siberian border, Byambaa had helped her father clean, cook and sell pine nuts for extra income. Nowadays the business of selling the nuts requires permits and paperwork, and the majority of the harvest is exported to China. Mongolians can gather up to 25kg each year for their own use, but most rely on a supplier like Samjmiatav Azjargal.

贝姆巴来自位于乌兰巴托东北方,西伯利亚边界沿线的肯特省(Khentii),他小时候曾给父亲帮忙,以清洗、烹饪和销售松子赚点额外收入。现在,贩卖松子要求许可证和官方文件,而且大部分松子都被出口到中国。蒙古人每年可以采集25公斤松子供自己食用,但大部分人还是靠商贩供应松子,山姆吉米亚塔夫·阿兹贾尔加尔(Samjmiatav Azjargal)就是这样的松子商贩。

We found Azjargal’s stand on a busy intersection near Ulaanbaatar’s downtown landmark, the State Department Store. It was a great place for foot traffic but terrible for the elements. In winter, Ulaanbaatar is the coldest and one of the most polluted capital cities in the world, and Azjargal was mummified in thermal clothes with a green scarf wound over her pollution mask. She topped up a steaming cup of aarts, a traditional soured milk, from a thermos as we discussed her wares.

在乌兰巴托市中心的地标性建筑——国营百货商场(State Department Store)附近的繁忙十字路口,我们找到了阿兹贾尔加尔的货摊。这里人流量大,但是不适合恶劣天气。冬季的乌兰巴托是世界上气候最严寒、污染最严重的首都城市之一,阿兹贾尔加尔身着厚厚的保暖衣,头戴防污染口罩,外面围着绿色的围巾,整个身体被包裹得严严实实。当我们讨论她的商品时,她从保温瓶里加了一杯热气腾腾的传统酸奶。

She sells three varieties of pine nuts: raw, cooked and shelled. Like Enkhbaatar, she roasted them in a large pan over a fire – with no oil, salt or spices. The dried nuts took on a shiny brown quality, like coffee beans. They were displayed in heaps on makeshift tables and measured out in glass mugs. Transactions were swift – nuts scooped into a plastic bag, colourful tugrik notes changing hands – as passers-by sped towards warmth.

她出售三种不同的松子:生松子,熟松子和松子仁。像恩赫巴特尔一样,她用大平底锅装满松子,放在火上烘烤——不放油、盐或香料。烘干的松子颜色呈棕色,像咖啡豆一样有光泽。松子成堆放在临时桌子上,称完重量装进玻璃杯。每一笔买卖耗时很短——把松子倒进塑料袋,五颜六色的图格里克一给一收,路人飞奔地跑进温暖之处。

Azjargal’s husband and brothers spend the autumn season travelling through the northern provinces of Khentii, Selenge, Khovsgol and Zarkhan to pick pine cones. Sometimes they bring the whole family, turning the expedition into a camping trip. She pulled out her phone to show us photos from this year’s harvest; the green, sunlit pictures pulled me out of Ulaanbaatar’s cement chill and back to my memories of the taiga.

一到秋季,阿兹贾尔加尔的丈夫和兄弟都会去的肯特省、色楞格省(Selenge)、库苏古尔省(Khovsgol)和扎布汗省(Zarkhan)等北部省份采摘松果。有时候他们会带上一家人,把探险之旅变成露营之旅。她拿出手机给我们看今年采摘松果的照片,照片上阳光照耀、满目绿色,顿时带我逃离乌兰巴托的钢筋水泥与苦寒冰冷,回到了记忆中的泰加林带。

According to Azjargal, all that tree climbing by Enkhbaatar had been unnecessary. Pine nuts had just come into season when I visited the taiga in August; by mid-October, the cones would have been ripe enough to literally shake off the trees. But there are more than hungry squirrels to contend with. Pine nuts are big business these days, and many people start early to get ahead of the competition. Azjargal confided that she had also begun in August, allowing the nuts to ripen in their cones for several weeks after being picked. Stored in a dry place they would last all year.

据阿兹贾尔加尔说,恩赫巴特尔爬树实属多此一举。我参观泰加林带时是8月份,松子刚开始成长;到十月中旬时,松果才会足够成熟,完全可以直接摇树。但有许多饥肠辘辘的松鼠会掠取果实。现今,松子生意十分火爆,许多人早早地开始收获果实,以在竞争中取胜。阿兹贾尔加尔说她也是从8月份开始收获,采摘完几个星期后,松子会在松果里发育成熟。还可以在干燥的地方存放一整年。

Azjargal bagged our order, apologising for her prices. It had been a bad harvest, she said, and roasted nuts were up to 13,000 tugrik (roughly $5) per kilogram from last year’s 8,000 ($3). Shelled were three times more expensive, so most people preferred to bite the nuts open themselves and spit out the shells, the way Americans eat peanuts at a ballgame. According to Azjargal, good harvests come in a three-year cycle, and she expected prices to stay high through next winter. I didn’t complain; a kilogram of shelled pine nuts costs $60 in the United States, where I’m from.

阿兹贾尔加尔将我们购买的松子装袋,为收钱表示不好意思。她说,今年收成不好,去年每公斤烤松子8000图格里克(3美元),今年却高达13000图格里克(约5美元)。松子仁的价格更是贵了三倍,所以大多数人更愿意自己咬松子,吐壳剥开松仁,就像美国人看球赛时吃花生一样。阿兹贾尔加尔还说好收成以三年为一个周期循环,预计松子价格会持续保持高位直到明年冬天。对此我没有丝毫抱怨,要知道在我的家乡美国,一公斤松子仁要价60美元。

Handing over my bag, Azjargal suggested I steep the nuts in vodka. The infused liquor, she said, is good for women’s health. Instead, Byambaa and I decided on coffee to warm up. We opened the bag of pine nuts, and a pile of empty shells grew between us on the cafe table. The cooked nuts were milder than the ones I’d eaten raw with Enkhbaatar. They had a soft texture and tasted lightly of almonds. And Byambaa was right – they were addictive.

阿兹贾尔加尔递给我一袋松子,建议把松子泡入伏特加一起喝。她说,泡松子的酒有利于女性的身体健康。可是,贝姆巴和我决定喝咖啡暖身。我们打开一包松子,很快咖啡桌上便堆满了一堆空壳。熟松子比我和恩赫巴特尔一起吃的生松子味道更加温和。熟松子口感松软,尝起来有点杏仁的味道。贝姆巴说得没错,吃松子确实会上瘾。

Outside the window, Azjargal nimbly kept up with demand. Knots of school children, women wrapped in expensive furs, mechanics in grubby pants – everyone stopped for a snack on their way home. Given a choice between a bag of crisps in a heated store and chilled pine nuts from a near-frozen street vendor, Mongolians know there is no contest.

望向窗外,只见阿兹贾尔加尔动作熟练,不断满足顾客对松子的需求。一群群中小学生、身着昂贵皮草的女人、裤子邋遢的机修工,每个人都会在回家的路上驻足,买点零食。是到热气腾腾的商店里吃上一袋薯片还是到冰冷的街头买上一袋松子,这对蒙古人来说从来不是难题。

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