No baloney! Prosciutto is pure gold


During the Great Depression our top of the line favorite lunch meat was Italian prosciutto. Unfortunately, all we could afford was fried rubbery bologna, except for one instance. It was in the early 1930s, when my Uncle Joe from Utah came to visit us. He brought a big home cured “bone in the prosciutto” type ham for all of us to eat. He raised and slaughtered a hog and knew how to make the prosciutto from it, a skill he learned in the old country.

I really indulged in that delicacy and it would be many years before eating it again. I vowed that when I started working I would buy one of those large “bone in the prosciutto” hams and eat it every day.

I got my first job in August 1942 on war production at Truscon Steel Co., shortly after graduating from East High School. I bought a whole prosciutto with my first paycheck. I worked six days a week and ate a prosciutto sandwich every day for the next nine months, before entering the U.S. Navy in World War II.

My mother would cut it into one-quarter-inch thick pieces, about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. It had a liberal amount of fat on it, which made it even more tasty. I gained 20 pounds during the nine month eating spree and went from 150 to 170 pounds.

After a couple of months of U.S. Navy Boot Camp training, I dropped to 160 pounds and remained there during my 33- month tour of duty.

Recently, I bought a pound of prosciutto, which was made in Italy and it cost $15 a pound. Today, they slice it wafer thin, because it’s like eating gold. The price is comparable to fillet mignon. Both of these top of the line meats are out of reach for most of we retirees.

Survivor generation

The survivor generation could not afford them in the Great Depression and cannot afford them today. I have no problem doing without these high-priced delicacies, since I always preferred the low priced dishes, like spaghetti and meatballs and pasta and beans.

Michael J, Lacivita is a Youngstown retiree and member of the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame and the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame,

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