The Au of childhood

A friend in the countryside in Tho Ha ancient village suddenly sent a picture with a basket of Au, then asked: “Remember?” I smiled back: “Strange question, remember why!” So a whole childhood rushed through the story of the two of them. My village that day planted many tubers in ponds, lagoons and low-lying areas. The Au grows under the mud but floats on the surface of the water. The tubers are young at first, clinging to the upper body, but when they are old, they will stick to the mud. We children often argue about whether to call the tuber or the fruit. The other thinks it is a fruit because the tree has flowers, and from that flower, it forms a fruit. The other said we can harvest tubers in the mud. Only tubers burrow into the ground. In general, calling tubers or fruits makes sense. But neither of them would agree to the other’s reasoning. Ask the adults about it, and they will answer if it’s a fruit or a tuber, but a long time ago, the forefathers were used to calling it a tuber. Now it’s just called a tuber. So the callers cheered, the callers died in anger.

The tubers are dark brown when old, have many shapes, but my favorite is the thorny Au also known as the buffalo horn tuber. Looking at its funny shape, it looks like a shrunken buffalo head with two sharp curved horns. Au have a hard outer shell, but the inside of the intestine is starch. Can be eaten raw or cooked. When eaten raw, it has a sweet, cool taste. And when boiled, the tubers are very friable and have a fleshy taste. In the ripening season in Tho Ha ancient village, my friends and I often go down to the field to find the calves for adults to bring to the market to sell or sometimes to sell in the field to traders. Each child has a basin to float on the water, if they can find it, they can put it in it. When it is full, it is brought ashore and poured into piles waiting to be weighed. Laughter rang out incessantly. Digging all the fields, they invited each other to find and rent for other aunts and uncles. The pay is sometimes cool ice cream sticks, sometimes sweet cane pieces. Anything is fine, as long as we can find children to compete with each other to see who is faster and better. The competition lasted an entire season, throughout childhood.

Whenever we go to herd buffaloes and fish in Tho Ha ancient village, we often go to the nursery fields to find some tubers to eat. In fact, at that time, eating less and playing more. Go up and sit down to see which baby has the sharpest horns and who can find the bigger tubers. Competitions often have no end. Bored of eating raw, we switched to boiled. The buffaloes went to the embankment, just let them loose there to graze and then they split up, some digging in the kitchen, some looking for leaves and firewood, some washing babies. After a while, a mini stove on the embankment burned up, the pot of young thorns gradually heated up and boiled. Soon the aroma of ripe tubers was released, inviting. Many children couldn’t help but swallow and hit “uh”. Sharing the cooked zucchini, still hot in their hands, they both blew and rubbed. Laughter and jokes resounded throughout the dyke as the wind sang.

Remnants of boiled brood days are small furnaces dug at intervals on the dike. It’s convenient to boil it, so along the embankment, I don’t know how many such small ovens appear. After the Au season in Tho Ha ancient village, which one is still intact and can be used, it will be a stove to bake corn or roast locusts and fat locusts. The taste of the countryside in the countryside perfumed a whole region of our childhood back then so that now every time we think about it, the memories seem to come back to life intact, innocent and sweet. It’s been a long time since I’ve searched for zucchini, not been able to taste the sweet taste of boiled zucchini. Look at the picture you sent, then chat with you to review the old story and remember your childhood forever. The talk is like that of children many years ago, although now everyone is in their forties.

You said it’s childhood in the countryside, will send me some so that I won’t forget the taste of the countryside. I eagerly wait to hold the funny tuber in my hand and taste its rustic sweetness again. Naturally feel sorry for the thorns for a while!

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