HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUDY BLUME

One of Key West’s most admired and respected persons is world famous author Judy Blume.

Today is Judy’s birthday. Happy birthday!

My daughters knew Judy Blume before me. Well before me. In their formative teen years. Judy wrote young adult novels. For the growing young lady. Issues like menstruation, self esteem, etc. She also wrote children’s books and adult novels.

Her books have sold over 80 million copies world wide and have been translated into 30 languages.

Judy and her husband George Cooper were instrumental with others in bringing Books & Books @ The Studios to Key West.

Judy can be found daily at Books & Books assisting visitors in making book selections.  Stop in today and wish her a Happy Birthday! Stop in any time to say hello.

Sunday means The Gardens. Kate Miano’s fabulous place.

I stopped by last night. Shocked! The most people I have ever seen attending the event. Ninety nine percent snowbirds. They have returned! Love Kate’s sunday party!

On the way home, stopped at Publix. I consistently run out of food frequently. Perhaps I never purchase enough at one time.

The past few days, I have had a desire for capicola. An Italian meat treat! Tasty. Bought a pound last night.

Capicola’s story interesting. More interesting, I made capicola while employed at a meat packing plant while in college.

Let me share my knowledge of capicola with you.

Capicola brought over from Italy. Referred to as capocollo in Italy.

Purchased at the store in its finished form as a fatty pork/ham cold cut surrounded by red pepper. Thinly sliced. The fat gives the meat a unique flavor.

Capicola is made from the pig’s muscle running from the neck to the fourth or fifth rib of the shoulder or neck.

The next few steps in the process not the same. Location alters the processing somewhat.

After cutting, the meat I dealt with was placed in huge jars of brine. Not sure the precise nature of the brine. Some said red or white wine, garlic and herbs. My recollection is that the room where the barrels were stored smelled good!

The brinning room was a large refrigerator. Not freezing. Merely cold. The room very large.

Row after row of the barrels. The barrels huge. Five or six feet tall. At least four feet wide. Made of wood.

The meat was marinated in the brine quite a while. Exact time, I do not recall. When the meat was ready for casing, the barrels were transported into another huge room.

That is where I came into the picture. My job was to stand on a ladder and remove the meat chunks one piece at a time. Did it with a meat hook. Had to be careful to put the hook into the right place on the meat. Otherwise, the meat would appear damaged and I could get fired.

I wore rubber gloves. No thin plastic gloves as we have today. My hands hot inside the gloves. The reason being the cooking ovens were in the same room and immediately next to where I was working.

I took the hooked meat off the hook and rolled it by hand in a large pan containing red pepper. Then I threw the piece on a large table below me. There a dozen or so workers were placing the meat in casings. Hands and small machines required for the operation.

The pepper would get in the gloves. Between the pepper heat and heat from the ovens, the skin began flaking off my hands. I was transferred to another job.

Once cased, the product was placed on huge trees and then sent into the huge ovens to cook. The ovens each the size of a room. After cooking, removed and allowed to hang several days to cool before delivery to stores for sale.

The owners of the meat packing house were good people. Employees were permitted to eat any of the meats produced for lunch. We normally went for the capicola or hot fresh ham warm as it came out of the ovens. A feast!

Syracuse survived yesterday against Wake Forest. Won 78-70. Syracuse has to win almost all of its remaining games to make the NCAA Tournament.

Trump coming out with his infrastructure plan today. $1.5 trillion. He has the ideas, but not the money. I understand he will suggest the federal government put  in 20 percent. The rest to be paid by the States, local governments, and private investment. The last meaning selling or leasing roads and bridges to private corporations.

The Feds do not have the money. However, I believe it has to come primarily from the federal government. It always has. The States and local governments are broke. Where would they get the money?

Private sector participation a no no from my perspective. It would be like using mercenaries to fight our wars, contracting out various federal jobs, and privatized jails.

It does not work. As we are slowly finding out, costly and full of improprieties and wrongdoing.

Trump is looking to private corporations to fund most of the repair/reconstruction work. I have seen how this works in Italy. The roads and bridges are beautiful. No pot holes anywhere. Most roads tolled. Expensive to travel. The toll charges not cheap. As a result, most Italians look for narrow country roads to travel.

Another Trump folly, mistake, not thought out plan, in the making.

Enjoy your day!

4 comments on “HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUDY BLUME

  1. Someone on TV said Trump road money would come from de-funding other Federal programs [ones the right wing hate, most likely]………a shell game, in other words.

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