The Florida Spectacular: July
July in Florida
School in New York ends much later than it does in Florida, which is why, when my parents moved to Florida at the end of my second-grade year, we didn’t arrive until July 1.
This month marks the 40th anniversary of the best thing that happened to seven-year-old Cathy and even though we’re all waiting out the pandemic, even though it’s broiling outside by 10 a.m., and even though my favorite part of July, the afternoon thunderstorms, hasn’t kicked in yet… well, I feel pretty great this month.
Florida Road Trip!
The hardest part about the pandemic for me (other than the always-present general anxiety about the pandemic itself) isn’t wearing a mask, or the half-hour it takes to disinfect my groceries, or even finding room in my new fanny pack (it has the Skunk Ape on it!) for hand sanitizer and gloves. The hardest thing for me? I miss my road trips.
Take an aerial tour of Big and Little Talbot Islands state parks. Need more parks? Check out the webcams and other armchair adventures from Florida State Parks.
Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.: Tangelo talks. Come meet like-minded Florida-philes as we explore bits of Florida you want to know more about. Zoom; OLLI’s Explore Florida members only.Get your Floridian membership here.
Thursday, July 23, 1 p.m.: Hurricane History. Florida’s hurricane history is nothing short of amazing. Come learn about our historic storms, and how we paved the way for better storm forecasting. Westminster residents only.
Thursday, July 23, 7 p.m.: Floridian Cocktail Society. Floridian members learn a little about Florida — and how to make a Florida-themed cocktail or cocktail. Zoom; OLLI’s Explore Florida members only.Get your Floridian membership here.
Monday, July 27, 4:30 p.m.: Floridian book club. This month we have Tom Corcoran’s classic mystery series about Key West, “The Mango Opera,” on our nightstands. Zoom; OLLI’s Explore Florida members only.Get your Floridian membership here.
Florida in the kitchen
I can’t get enough of shrimp lately, and there’s nothing like Key West Pinks. I’ll eat shrimp in any iteration you can dream up, and since the new Doc Ford’s opened near me, Randy Wayne White’s Yucatan Shrimp has haunted my dreams. White’s best-known for his environment-and-history-studded Florida crime novels, but don’t underestimate his cooking prowess. That Yucatan Shrimp dish at his restaurants? He created that recipe. I make several of his recipes (he published a cookbook in 2006) and, if for some reason I can’t get shrimp, this pork-with-pineapple-salsa dishnever fails.
(By the way, even if you don’t love to cook, you may want to check out his cookbook. The stories to go along with each recipe offer insight into how White creates many of his characters.)
This month I’m reading Tribal, by Diane Roberts. Diane’s a Florida native with a delightful lineage. She writes regularly for FlamingoMagazine and has no shortage of books about Florida to her name. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone with Tribal, because while I love watchingcollege football, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read about it. Diane’s always a delight, though, so I decided to dip my nose into her work about college football in the South. Read for yourself; it’s $3.99 on Kindle!