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牛肉罐头:改变世界饮食方式的乌拉圭食品厂

更新时间:2019/3/16 9:52:29 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

How a Uruguayan town revolutionised the way we eat
牛肉罐头:改变世界饮食方式的乌拉圭食品厂

“The company claimed it used every part of the cow except for the moo,” said Diana Cerilla, guiding me into the heart of what she calls the ‘killing room’. In the 1930s, as many as 1,600 cows a day – plus thousands of sheep, pigs, chickens and other animals – met their end in this slaughterhouse, before being processed, packaged and exported around the world. I scanned the grisly array of hooks, pulleys, wheels, chains, conveyors and scales, immobile but ominous, and started to shiver.

“除了牛叫的声音不能用以外,牛身上的每一部分都能用”,斯瑞拉(Diana Cerilla)带我进入她所谓的“屠宰室”的时候这样说道。在1930年代,每天多达1600头奶牛,以及数以千计的羊、猪、鸡和其他动物在这家屠宰场宰杀,然后加工、包装并出口到世界各地。我扫视着一排排可怕的钩子、滑轮、轮子、链条、传送带和秤,全部静止不动,但透着令人不安的气氛,我不禁开始颤抖起来。

On the surface, a long-abandoned meat processing plant on the edge of a sleepy town in the Uruguayan countryside does not sound like the most obvious tourist destination, let alone a Unesco World Heritage site. But the Paisaje Industrial Fray Bentos (Fray Bentos Industrial Landscape) had a profound impact on the way the world eats, creating one of the best-known British brands of the 20th Century, transforming the Uruguayan economy and helping to move global food production into the industrial age. Moreover, the site is an impressive display of once cutting-edge, now slowly rusting Edwardian- and Victorian-era technology. It even, in certain lights, has an eerie beauty, at least for someone with a passion for industrial archaeology.

从表面上看,乌拉圭乡野这个寂静城镇边缘一个废弃已久的肉类加工厂,无论如何都都不像是最常见的旅游目的地,更不用说世界文化遗产了。但是,这个名为弗赖本托斯工业园区(Fray Bentos Industrial Landscape)的历史遗迹曾对世界饮食方式产生了极其深远的影响。这个废弃的肉类加工厂创造了20世纪英国最知名的品牌之一,改变了乌拉圭的经济,并帮助将全球粮食生产带入了工业时代。 此外,这个遗迹还以一种令人印象深刻的方式展示了曾经站在世界尖端,现在却正在慢慢锈蚀废弃的英国爱德华时代和维多利亚时代的技术。在特定的灯光下,这座废弃工厂甚至还有一种怪诞的美,至少对于那些热爱工业考古的人来说是如此。

The complex dates to 1863 when the Liebig Extract of Meat Company founded a factory on the banks of the Uruguay River and started churning out ‘beef extract’ using a technique patented by pioneering German chemist Justus von Liebig. Cheap cuts of meat – widely available here, thanks to Uruguay’s burgeoning cattle ranches – were boiled down to produce a nutritious stock that was originally aimed at convalescing patients. The process was subsequently refined, the liquid solidified, and Oxo – small crumbly cubes of stock – came into being.

这个肉类加工厂的歷史可以追溯到1863年,当时利比格肉类公司(Liebig Extract of Meat Company)在乌拉圭河(Uruguay River)岸上建立了一个工厂,并开始使用德国化学家李比希(Justus von Liebig)创举性的专利技术大量生产牛肉提取物。得益于乌拉圭蓬勃发展的养牛场,这里到处可以买到廉价的牛肉塊,这些肉块被浓缩成一种营养丰富的高汤,最初是为了帮助病人康复。这个过程随后被精炼,液体凝固,形成了奥克索湯塊(Oxo)小块易碎的原料湯塊。

A town grew up alongside the German-run, British-financed factory, as workers flocked here from across Uruguay and around 60 other countries. Originally called Villa Independencia, the town was later renamed after a 17th-Century Uruguayan hermit, called Fray Bentos (Friar Benedict in English), who reputedly lived in a nearby cave. Soon Liebig was producing another popular product from off-cuts of meat: tinned corned beef. Oxo and corned beef became staples for working-class people across Europe for whom meat had previously been a luxury item. They also provided inexpensive, long-lasting and easy-to-carry rations for British soldiers during the Boer War and British and German troops in World War One, as well as for polar explorers like Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton.

随着工人们从乌拉圭和其他60多个国家涌入这里,一个由德国人经营、英国资助的工厂旁边的小镇慢慢成长起来。这个小镇最初叫做独立庄园,后来以一位17世纪的乌拉圭隐修士的名字重新命名,这位隐士名叫弗赖本托斯(英语里叫做本尼迪克特修士),据说他住在附近的一个山洞里。 很快,李比希又开始用下脚料的肉生产另一种颇受欢迎的产品:罐装咸牛肉。奥克索湯塊和罐裝咸牛肉成为欧洲工薪阶层的主食,对他们来说,吃肉本来是很奢侈的事。這兩種加工食品还为布尔战争(Boer War)期间的英国士兵、一战期间的英国和德国部队,以及像斯科特(Robert Falcon Scott)和沙克尔顿(Ernest Shackleton)这样的极地探险家提供便宜、耐用和便于携带的口粮。

In 1924, the company was bought by the British Vestey Group and renamed Frigorífico Anglo del Uruguay. Taking advantage of fast-developing refrigeration technology, ‘El Anglo’ started exporting frozen meat around the world, alongside Oxo, corned beef and more than 200 other products, from leather to soap, sausages to jams. In 1943 alone, 16 million tins of corned beef were shipped out from Fray Bentos, the vast majority used to power the Allied war effort. The products even earned a royal following: “I remember eating corned beef until it came out of my ears,” Prince Charles told reporters when he visited Uruguay in 1999.

1924年,这个公司被英国维蒂斯集团(Vestey Group)收购,并更名为乌拉圭盎格鲁冻食公司(Frigorífico Anglo del Uruguay),并且利用快速发展的冷藏技术,开始向全世界出口冷冻肉,同时出口的还有牛肉湯塊、罐頭咸牛肉,以及从皮革到肥皂、香肠到果酱等200多种其它产品。仅1943年一年,就有1600万听罐头腌牛肉从弗赖本托斯运出,其中绝大多数用于支持盟军的战争。 英国查尔斯王子1999年访问乌拉圭时对记者说:“我记得我一直吃罐头牛肉,吃得咸牛肉味道从我的耳朵里冒出来。”

Today the plant is open to the public. The office buildings have been renovated and now house a museum with exhibits from the plant’s heyday, including vintage typewriters, classic posters, rudimentary firefighting equipment and rickety delivery trucks. Another section has been taken over by a local university, keeping alive the plant’s technological traditions. But most of the rambling complex has been left as it was, and wandering through these vast, silent, low-lit buildings is a haunting experience.

今天这家工厂向公众开放。办公大楼已经翻新,现在有一个博物馆,里面陈列着工厂鼎盛时期的展品,包括老式打字机、经典海报、初期的消防设备和摇摇晃晃的运货卡车。另一部分已经被当地的一所大学接管,保留了工厂的技术传统。但是大部分的厂区还是保持原样,在这些巨大、宁静、光线暗淡的建筑中漫步是一种难以忘怀的经历。

The engine room looks like a scene from a steampunk comic, with rusted diesel-powered generators, huge turbines and steam compressors festooned with levers, valves and wheels connected by a multitude of winding pipes and chimneys. On the walls next door are marble-panelled units covered with the dials and switches that controlled the plant’s electricity production: in 1883, this became the first place in Uruguay to generate electricity. “The factory reminds me of the Charlie Chaplin film Modern Times,” said Cerilla, the museum manager, as she showed me round.

引擎室看起来就像是蒸汽朋克漫画中的一个场景,生锈的柴油发电机、巨大的涡轮机和蒸汽压缩机上装饰着杠杆、阀门和轮子,连接着许多弯曲的管道和烟囱。 隔壁的墙上是大理石镶嵌的面板,上面覆盖着控制电厂发电的刻度盘和开关。1883年,这里成为乌拉圭第一个发电的地方。 博物馆经理斯瑞拉带我参观时说,“这家工厂让我想起了查理·卓别林(Charlie Chaplin)的电影《摩登时代》(Modern Times)。”

Outside, a soaring water tower looms over a crowd of interlinked brick, concrete, glass and corrugated iron buildings. Many are off-limits for safety reasons, including the monolithic cold store, which once held up to 18,000 tonnes of frozen meat. But it is possible to poke round the Casa Grande, the manager’s house, an opulent mansion with stained glass windows, two pianos, hardwood floors and a gong to signal the start of a meal.

外面,一座高耸的水塔耸立于一片由砖、混凝土、玻璃和波纹铁制的建筑物之上。 出于安全原因,许多地方都禁止进入,包括曾经存放多达1.8万吨冷冻肉的独立冷藏库。不过,你也可以去经理的房子格兰德之家(Casa Grande)逛逛,那是一座华丽的大厦,有着彩色玻璃窗、两架钢琴、硬木地板和一只通知就餐时间到了的锣。

“This was the industrial revolution in Uruguay,” said guide Nicolás Cremella. “Fray Bentos was really important to Uruguay – it was the country’s real capital, not Montevideo. It was the only industrial meat company, and provided jobs throughout the country.” But while the company may have provided employment locally, the profits headed overseas.

导游克雷梅拉(Nicolás Cremella)说,“这就是乌拉圭的工业革命。弗赖本托斯对乌拉圭非常重要,它才是乌拉圭的真正首都,而不是蒙得维的亚(Montevideo)。这是当时唯一的工业加工肉类公司,并在全国各地提供就业机会。” 不过,尽管该公司可能在本地提供了就业机会,但利润却流向了海外。

Fray Bentos products remained popular in post-war Europe, but slowly fell out of favour as food technology developed and eating habits changed. The Anglo plant passed on to the Uruguayan government in the late 1960s, and eventually closed in 1979.

弗赖本托斯的产品在战后的欧洲仍然很受欢迎,但随着食品技术的发展和饮食习惯的改变而逐渐失宠。1960年代末,这家英国工厂移交给了乌拉圭政府,最终于1979年关闭。

“It was a company town, and it was terrible for people when it finally shut down,” said Cerilla, whose father and grandfather worked at the plant. “Lots of people left, and many emigrated.”

斯瑞拉的父亲和祖父都在这家工厂工作。她说:“这是一个企业造镇,最终关闭时,对人们来说太可怕了。很多人被迫离开,也有很多人移民国外。”

Despite the initial gloom, Fray Bentos town recovered. Today it has a flourishing paper pulp industry, and in 2015 it received a further boost when Unesco granted the Anglo plant World Heritage Site status. (The Fray Bentos brand, incidentally, is now owned in the UK by Baxters, which still uses it for a range of tinned pies, puddings and meatballs.)

尽管最初情况不乐观,弗赖本托斯镇还是恢复了元气。今天,镇上有一个繁荣的纸浆工业,并在2015年得到了进一步的推动,联合国教科文组织授予了盎格鲁工厂世界历史遗产的地位。(弗赖本托斯这一商标品牌,顺便说一句,现在归英国巴克斯特(Baxters)所有,用于一系列罐头馅饼,布丁和肉丸)

In the late afternoon, I headed back into town via Barrio Anglo, a suburb of around 300 homes built for the company’s senior staff. The smell of mowed grass, tree blossoms and barbeque smoke hung in the air as I wandered past clusters of simple bungalows with corrugated iron roofs and luxuriant gardens. Nearby were the golf, tennis, football and rowing clubs that once formed the focal point of expat life.

午后,我经过盎格鲁社区回到了镇上,这个郊区大约有300户人家,是为公司的高级职员建造的。当我漫步经过一片片瓦楞铁皮屋顶和豪华花园的简朴平房时,空气中弥漫着青草坪、树花和烤肉的香味。 附近有高尔夫球、网球、足球和赛艇俱乐部,这些曾经是外国人生活的重心。

An insight into this period is provided by S W Johnson, a British manager at the plant in the 1930s. “We had the ‘Anglo Social and Athletic Club’, with its hall for dances, a snooker/billiards room, bridge room, library which only carried English books and magazines… and a bar (the Uruguayan attendant also accepted bets on the then illegal quiniela or numbers game)… As we were not then blessed or cursed with television, and the radio [was] mainly used for listening to the BBC, which brought news from ‘home’, we led a very active life,” he wrote in an account featured in Andrew Graham-Yooll’s Uruguay: A Travel and Literary Companion.

上世纪30年代,该工厂的英国经理约翰逊(S W Johnson)对这一时期进行了深入探讨。他在安德鲁-约尔(Andrew-yooll)的《乌拉圭:旅行和文学伴侣》(Uruguay: a Travel and Literary Companion)一书中如此写道,“我们有‘盎格鲁社交体育俱乐部’,里面有跳舞的大厅,一个斯诺克/台球室,桥牌室,只有英文书籍和杂志的图书馆……还有一个酒吧(乌拉圭服务员还接受了当时非法的羽毛球或数字游戏的赌注)……因为那时我们没有受到电视的祝福或诅咒,收音机主要是用来收听BBC带来的‘老家’的新闻,所以我们过着非常活跃的生活。”

By the time I reached the town centre, it was early evening and life was returning as locals rose from their afternoon siestas. A group of children played hide-and-seek in the main square, Plaza Constitución, ducking down in the cast-iron bandstand, donated by the company to the town in 1902 and a replica of one that once stood at the Crystal Palace in London. Parents gathered on benches to sip mate, the local caffeine-rich herbal tea, while monk parakeets cawed from their perches in the many palm, willow and palo borracho trees.

当我到达镇中心的时候,已接近傍晚时分,当地人从午睡中醒来,生活正在恢复。 一群孩子在宪法广场(该镇的主广场)上玩捉迷藏。他们躲在铸铁的演奏台上。这个演奏台是该公司1902年捐赠给小镇的,是一座曾经矗立在伦敦水晶宫(Crystal Palace)的演奏台的复制品。 父母们聚集在长椅上喝玛黛茶,这是南美洲一种富含咖啡因的草药茶,而僧鹦鹉则在许多棕榈树、柳树和帕罗拉乔树上啼叫。

For dinner, it seemed fitting to sample the product that, above all others, put the town on the map. Uruguayans eat more beef than anyone else in the world – around 56kg per person a year – and the cattle industry is a key part of the economy. But though Fray Bentos remains synonymous with corned beef, few locals eat it today. “We don’t like eating meat from tins, we like fresh meat,” Cremella told me. “People in Fray Bentos may have tins of corned beef at home, perhaps on the shelf as a [trinket or] souvenir, but not to eat.”

在这里吃晚餐,品尝罐头牛肉似乎再合适不过了,因为正是这种食品让这个小镇名闻遐迩。乌拉圭人吃的牛肉比世界上任何人都多,每人每年大约56公斤,养牛业是乌拉圭经济的重要组成部分。 尽管弗赖本托斯仍然是罐头咸牛肉的代名词,但今天很少有当地人吃。克雷梅拉告诉我,“我们不喜欢吃罐头肉,我们喜欢新鲜的肉。在弗赖本托斯的人们可能在家里有罐装咸牛肉,或许是作为纪念品摆在货架上,但不是用来吃的。”

Sure enough, none of the restaurants I visited had corned beef on the menu, nor did the first three supermarkets I stopped in. Eventually, as I was on the verge of giving up, I found a small store with a couple of tins for sale: ‘Marca Uruguay – Industria Brazil’, the labels read: ‘Uruguay Brand – Made in Brazil’.

果然,我去过的餐馆菜单上都没有罐头咸牛肉,我去过的前三家超市也没有。最终,当我快要放弃的时候,我发现了一家小商店,里面有几个罐头在出售。商标上写着:“乌拉圭品牌 - 巴西制造”。

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