Cappocollo the full story
language is what it is ; an ever changing and evolving way of communicating with others. How this affects the simple Italian meat cappocollo is as follows:
Italians (eventually to be Americans) made the big move between 1861 and the First World War. The bulk of these folks were of southern Italian heritage.They came in through New Orleans. The Northern Italians came into New York. What does this have to do with cappocollo? Nothing, just a bit of background. Interesting linguistic fact; 2nd,3rd generations of immigrants and so on usually loose the families ethnic language. This is due to assimilation and laziness on someone’s part I guess. The (2) things that following generations retain in that language are usually food words and curse words.
Cappocollo(cappo meaning head and collo meaning neck) in Italian describes the muscle that the meat is taken from on a pig. Cappo is still used in this country by the Mafia (the boss is the Cappo). New York and New Jersey have put a geographical,cultural, slant on these words pronunciation. As an example; cappocollo….”gop a goal” , mortadella….”..moot a dell” , prosciutto…”pra zoot”, ricotta…”ree goat”. These are pronunciations created by my grand parents and others So this is an 80 or 90 year old pronunciation affected by ( living in)New York or New Jersey . Watch an episode of the sopranos or good fellas and see what I said. Visiting Italy today you won’t hear those pronunciations. It’s so funny even little Italian American kids today pronounce these words like their 90 year old great/great grand parents. Curse words pass the test of time also but; tempting as it may be I’ll skip those.
Cappocollo masquerades under a slew of Americanized names today ; Cappy ham, capicola, capricola and so on. The spicing is shared by all manufacturers though. Fennel seed and red pepper are the most descernable. This gives it a flavor similar to Italian sausage.