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What -is- Gabbagul (sp?)

  • j

Being a devout Sopranos fan I've noticed that the favored lunch meat of the "Big T" is something called "Gabbagul". I may be spelling it wrong.

Is this a type of ham like a cappicola or a prosciutto/speck, or is it a force meat or a type of cured sausage like salami? Or is it a sicilian word for something we know by a different name?

And where can I get some (Mikes deli on Arthur Ave?) and how do I ask for it without sounding stupid?

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  1. m
    Michele Cindy

    Gabbaghoul... I always knew it to be the NJ pronunciation of cappicola.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Michele Cindy

      Yeah, one of my co-workers just told me "perlow you putz, it -is- capricola"

      Gah-bri-goal or gabba-ghul, apparently are alternate pronunciations.... depending on what side of the pond you are on..

      1. re: Jason Perlow

        There's a place in Carroll Gardens where I live -- Bagels on the Park -- that lists on their menu of lunch meats "gabagol." I always wonder whether they're trying to be funny by listing it that way. I think probably not.

    2. I always thought it was cappicola with an accent.

      1. Gabbagul is the Sicilian-American pronunciation of capicola. Hard C's sound as G and P as B. The last syllable is often dropped. Another example is caponatta (eggplant, rattatouille-like mixture) pronounced gabbonade or gabbonadille. There are numerous examples of this in NY/Sicilian-American food parlance i.e. ricotta cheese pronounced arrigotte.

        PS, I think its more like Gabbagool

        Stefany "born in Bklyn" B.

        33 Replies
        1. re: Stefany B.

          I was recently laughed at (and not for the first time,either) by friends when I ordered calamari at a restaurant and pronounced it cal-a-ma-ree. They insisted it's pronounced cal-a-mar, with the "ee" at the end dropped. They also say manicotti is pronounced man-a-cot. I take it these also are examples of Sicilian-American pronunciation. Is such pronunciation common throughout the country or is this just a New York thing?

          1. re: Ira Kaplan

            Same in Boston (North End).

            1. re: Win (Boston)

              Your post was the bright spot in my day - brought back childhood memories of being in the kitchen with my Sicilian grandmother - she loved "gabbagul" on fresh bread for lunch. She also cooked "brizhol" (thinly sliced meat rolled and tied with a string - I don't think I ever knew the Americanized name, but they were delicious!)

              1. re: Kitty

                Bracciole - Brajol.
                Pignoli - Pingyole
                cappicola - gobbagool
                pasta fagioli - basta fazool
                calamari - galamar
                prosciutto - brazhoot
                mozzarella - MOOTS-a-RELL
                ricotta - rih-gawt
                manicotti - mani-gawt

                "Hey mama, I dont want no pingyole in my brajole"

                translated: Mother, I dont want any pine nuts in my rolled braised meat.

                "yo snapperhead, bring me a plate of fried galamar, with a bowl of basta fazool"

                translated: server, kindly bring me a plate of fried squid and a bowl of pasta and bean soup.

                "Hey Chief! I wanna italian sub with some gabbagool, brazhoot, and some fresh MOOTS-a-rel"

                translated: please prepare me a sandwich on semolina bread, with spiced italian ham, cured parma ham, and fresh buffalo milk cheese.

                "gimme a tin of some of that manni-gawt, and if the ri-gawt isnt friggin fresh, I'm gonna break your friggin legs"

                translated: I would like a container of your pasta tubes stuffed with goats milk cheese. And please be sure it is fresh or I will be bringing it back.

                1. re: Jason Perlow

                  My Sopranos question has to do with a pastry that they talked about a lot during the first season. It seemed to me that they were pronouncing it "shvreeahdell" (somethin like that). Anybody know what that is?

                  1. re: alleen

                    Its been on the hotposts for the last 3 or 4 days.

                    Sfogliatella = SHFOG-YA-DELL

                    And yes, its like a cookie fried pastry thing thats got powdered sugar on it.

                    1. re: Jason Perlow

                      Its szhvoy-a-dell. Otherwise the same as Jason described it(sfogliatella). There has been some very recent posts regarding this on "The best...".


                      1. re: Jason Perlow

                        I call it SHVIG-A-DELL

                        Great posts!

                      2. re: alleen

                        The Sopranos scripts (written by Italian-American Frank Renzulli) spell sfogliatella as "shfooyadell"... but Italian-American Paul Attanasio's script for "Donnie Brascoe" spelled it "sfogliatel'"... Your choice...

                        1. re: alleen

                          Sfogliatella = SHFOG-YA-DELL ... a flaky triangular shaped pastry with a sweet ricotta cheese filling and powdred sugar topping

                          1. re: Tony Clams

                            soooo good! I miss them since I left NY and moved to the land of "Northern/Italian-Americans" San Francisco

                        2. re: Jason Perlow

                          geez, you guuys sound awful when you do this stuff...

                          enuff of this, stop tryin to sound like mobsters and leave the pronunciation to real ayetalians.....

                          i cant stand to have the speech of my youth butchered like this...

                              1. re: Steve
                                Jason Perlow

                                Hey, thanks. That'll come in handy on my next vacation in Italy. :)

                              2. re: Jason Perlow
                                Melissa Garland

                                This is the funniest thing that I have ever read on Chowhound. Thanks for making me laugh!

                                1. re: Jason Perlow

                                  What about "bizza gain" or "bizza geen"?

                                  1. re: Jason Perlow

                                    How would I pronounce the italian pastry called, Pasticiotte?

                                    1. re: John

                                      Pasticiotte >>> phonetically >>> pahs-tee-chot-teh ... NY Italian/Sicilian pronunciation >>>> pasti-choy

                                    2. re: Jason Perlow

                                      How would I pronounce the italian pastry called, Pasticiotte?

                                      1. re: John

                                        Pasticiotte = pahs-tee-chot-teh. The "ch" as pronounced in chest. The "pas" as in pasta. Slight emphasis on the third syllable.

                                  2. re: Ira Kaplan

                                    I have a dear friend in St. Louis who is married to an Italian from Philly. She always pronounced calamari as "gallamar". I knew she must have heard it from her husband and wondered about it. It's the hard C with a G sound, and the last syllable dropped! Wow! pat

                                    1. re: Ira Kaplan

                                      I think it's pretty common across the country and reflects that most of the emigration to the US came from Southern Italy and Sicily(I have been told that the Neapolitan pronunciation is similar to the Sicilian). I have been laughed at innumerable times for not dropping the last vowel on Italian food.

                                      1. re: rjka

                                        rjka: you are exactly right. I am from Providence, where much of the very large Italian community traces its roots to the Naples area. Caserta Pizza, for example, is named for a suburb of Naples.

                                        Anyway, this brings back some great memories, like the butcher at the market I used to work at who wrote up a sign that said "bresuit." That's proscuitto!

                                        Also, not only do you often drop the last vowel, you sometimes put it at the front of the word. For example, a-rigawt' for ricotta, or a-beetz' for pizza.

                                      2. re: Ira Kaplan

                                        Growing up in a heavily Sicilian are of northern NJ, we learned to drop the final vowel so as not to sound like the misplaced Jews that we were: cheese was "rigut" (ricotta) or "muzzerel"; seafood was "galamar" or "scungeel"; ham was,yes, "gabbagol" or "brezoot"(prosciutto), and spaghetti sauce was, well, "gravy."

                                        Later in life, trying to impress Northern Italians with my "native" pronunciation, they informed me that they can't understand a word Sicilians say.

                                        1. re: Ira Kaplan
                                          Caitlin wheeler

                                          Well, this solves a long standing argument between me and my college roommate. She, who grew up with a Sicilian grandmother in Connecticut always corrected me by dropping the last syllable on prosciutto and mozzarella. I, who grew up in California (small Italian population)and gained all knowledge of Italian from studying opera, insisted on the perfect schoolbook pronunciation. We were both right, for who we were!

                                          1. re: Ira Kaplan

                                            in most of italy they pronounce all the letters. its a NY/NJ/ MAss italian pronunciation thing to drop it not an italian talian thing. (your take on whether sicilains are italians or not depends where in italy you are from)so is calling sauce gravy

                                          2. re: Stefany B.

                                            Stefany, Thanks ever for posting that info. Amazing how the African influence remains in Sicily. Many words in Arabic do the same: tomato is burtugal (from portogal). The town of Raccalmuto (where Sciascia was born) derives from the Arabic "place of the dead". The difference is that the older Italian-Americans from Sicily only spoke dialect whereas contemporary Sicilians speak standard Italian but can choose to use dialect when hanging out at home and with paesani.

                                            1. re: Allan Evans

                                              Right you are. Ther are lots of Arabic words in Sicilian dialect. But (I hate to do this)burtugal actually means orange. There are several different words for tomato depending on what dialect of Arabic one speaks but I am pretty sure that no one uses burutgal.

                                              1. re: Ari Ariel

                                                Thanks for the correction. Sicilian and southern dialects use cucuzz' for zucchini, which is kosa in Egyptian Arabic as is "rustu" for roast (Sicilians say 'arustutu' for roasted).

                                          3. s
                                            steve drucker

                                            Jeez. I thought you wanted to know "What is 'gabbagool'"?

                                            Gabbagool is cappicola, a rolled, slightly spiced with cayenne, ham--loaded with nitrates. Its greasy, unhealthy, disgusting to slice en masse, and delicious.

                                            I'm hoping for a swing thru Queens on the way in from Atlanta/LGA by way of the Corona Heights Pork Store to get me some soon.

                                            1. it is italian ham, you mamma-luc!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: joe g

                                                This reminds me of a funny story. I went to an italian deli once to try and buy some Bresaola (the stuff thats kinda like beef prosuttio). Whe I asked it it was avaliable the said sure and asked how many I wanted (not how much how many) and whether I wanted beef, pork,or chicken. After much confusion it turned out that what he had though I wanted was bracciole (the rolled up meat with the filling) apprantly where he came from the two were pronuced more or less the same! BTE he didn have what I actually wanted. The next deli owner did but was angry at me the next time I came in on the ground that he had had to open a new one for me, I had not bought a particualry large amount and he had had to trow the reast of the piece out later on since it happen that no one else asked for any of it in the following weeks.

                                              2. There is an actual Sicilian language which is different from Italian and which explains a lot of the posts on this thread. Try googling "sicilian language" to straighten out all this. I am impressed that the writers of The Sopranos got this detailed in recreating the imported Sicilian words and the dialect in their characters.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: LRunkle

                                                  That's exactly right. It is a Sicilian Dialect. And other provinces in Italy have their own dialect as well, however not as readily distinct as the Sicilian.

                                                  Funny story: Yesterday DH went to a local Italian salumeria (very well stocked with imported Italian delicacies) with my hand written list. When he asked the fellow slicing the meats for a 1/2 lb. of Guanciale, pronounced "gwahn-CHA-lee" the reply was, "Oh, you mean the green stuff... We don't carry guacamole here." DH opted for Pancetta instead.

                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    Actually, Sicilian is a language, not a dialect. Sicilian language, much like its cuisine, is owed only in small part to Italian influence, as well as to French, Norman, Arabic and Greek.
                                                    It is true that all Italian regions have dialects, and that many provinces within those regions have yet their own dialects, but many of them are really not used in Italy as prevalently as the Southern Italian ones are.
                                                    Italian-American speech here in the US is practically a language of its own, formed over generations of comingled dialects and languages, traditions, neighborhoods, informal education and just plain imitation.

                                                    But getting to your story re: guanciale- are you sure that this particular deli carries guanciale? If so, it would be made either in-house, or supplied by a domestic producer, as I don't believe it is on the (very limited) list of allowable pork imports to the US.
                                                    On a side note, the fact that a person working in such a place didn't know what guanciale was might be disappointing to you or I, but the fact is that only recently has the mainstream public become really conscious of true Italian cured products. From my POV, this particular guy gets a pass (just this once!) because apparently the deli does not carry it and so did not educate him on it :)
                                                    On a related note, millions of people in this country eat "pepperoni" and don't realize that it is an American invention. In Italian, "peperoni" is plural for "bell pepper". What we call a pepperoni would be considered a salamino piccante in Italy. :)

                                                2. Capocollo, as it is known in Italy, is a cured meat made from pork shoulder. In the States, it is also known as Capicolla:

                                                  1. This post is so great! Being married to a North Jersey guy (I'm from the midwest), I was suprised to learn that:

                                                    cavatelli = gavadeel
                                                    ricotta = pot cheese
                                                    sauce = tomato sauce with no meat
                                                    gravy = tomato sauce with meat
                                                    sfogliatelle = schveeadell
                                                    Frank = reference to Frank Sinatra, like he's family

                                                    Whenever I visit NJ, I always feel like a such a poser when I try to use these pronunciations....

                                                    1. It's great to see this old thread resurface. I grew up in very Italian-American neighborhoods in Westchester, NY; Eastchester and Yonkers in the 70's. I learned to speak a little Italian, especially the food terms with this NJ/NY Italian/American/Sicialian accent. Years later I had the toughest time ordering food because no one in other parts of the country knew what I was talking about. It just happened again the other day here in Maine when I asked for a deli to leave off the gabagool on my Italian combo wedge, and to add some fresh mutz and pre-zhoot. He had no clue what I was talking about.

                                                      1. I was in an Italian bakery this afternoon. A customer came in looking for "Bisgot"
                                                        I would assume he wanted biscotti?

                                                        1. Here's annudah one for youse all:
                                                          Focaccia= foogoch, or, alternately foogoss...
                                                          From a Jersey Native.

                                                          1. Sorry to burst your bubble. But this is NOT SICILIAN! It is Italian American slang of an authentic NEAPOLITAN word, spelled: capecuollo!

                                                            If you want a deep explanation with a little bit of language and history thrown in, here we go...

                                                            The correct spellong of the Italian word is "capocollo" (capo = head, collo = neck) and it is this area of the pig where the meat comes from.

                                                            Both Italian and Neapolitan are Romance languages descended from Latin. Neapolitan IS NOT an Italian dialect. Neapolitan is a language spoken by most Italians on the mainland of southern Italy (not Sicily). Neapolitan is world-renound for it's music with songs like 'O sole mio and Funiculì, Funiculà. The final vowels in Neapolitan are never pronounced, sometimes people will just use an apostrophe at the end of a word (cap'), other times they will use "the schwa" silent letter e (cape), or most often they stick to a system that, like Italian, differentiates noun gender (capo, since it's male). Here is the Neapolitan and Italian derivations from Latin.

                                                            Latin ---- Neapolitan ---- Italian
                                                            caput ------- capo ---------- capo
                                                            collum ----- cuollo --------- collo

                                                            You see? Neapolitan is a true language, and therefore it has many different dialects and pronunciations across southern Italy from just south of Rome down to Calabria, Puglia, and Basilicata/Lucania, up to Molise, Abruzzo, southern Lazio, and southern Marche. Because "capo" is pronounced "cap", when the word is combined with "cuollo", "cap" becomes "cape" because you cannot write "cap-cuollo" or "capcuollo." So, therefore, the Neapolitan schwa (silent letter 'e') is added to make "capecuollo".

                                                            As I said, there are many different pronunciations, and even in America, over time, after more than 100 years since the FIRST Neapolitan immigrants arrived, the pronunciations are always changing. Language is in continual evolution. Therefore, it's not uncommon to here "gabagwoll", "gabagoll" or "gabagull". And even though Neapolitans pronounced c>g, p>b, t>d, and so forth, they always stick to the correct eytmological spelling from Latin in writing. Therefore, we have "capecuollo" and you see the letter "u", that is where the "ool" sound comes from. So in pronunciation, you're free to say "gabegwol", "gabegull", or "gabegoll" if you choose. Neapolitans are not fussy about pronunciation of the food, just fussy when it comes to the quality of the food! :)

                                                            So here you are... and if you STILL don't believe me, here is proof on an Italian Encyclopedia website... look at the end of the section "antica cucina campana" (ancient Campanian cooking - Campania is the region around Naples):
                                                            "Il capecuollo è un salume preparato con i muscoli dorsali del suino: viene utilizzato il pezzo intero, senza tagli né macinazione..."
                                                            Voilà! Or should I write walla! for some of you? ;
                                                            )So here you have it, you will find the correct spelling and it is "capecuollo"!

                                                            As a native Sicilian speaker, I can assure you that Sicilians, DO NOT DROP the final vowel of a word. We never have done this. This is something done by Neapolitans, and other MAINLAND southern Italians. For example, southern Italians who think they're speaking Italian to me will call me in Neapolitan a "sijellyan" or "sigilian", when in real Italian I'm "siciliano", or in Sicilian "sicilianu". This practice of dropping the the final syllable/vowel is not Sicilian or Italian, it's Neapolitan!

                                                            Sicilian is one of the closest languages to Latin (like Sardinian), because of it's position as a faraway island. Final vowels are always pronounced clearly and unaccented, always end in -a, -i, or -u. So, in Sicilian we have "capu" (from caput) and "coddu" (from collum), so NO SICILIAN would say anything OTHER THAN "capucoddu"! Capucoddu is the Sicilian word. (look here for proof if you don't believe me - http://www.logosdictionary.org/pls/di...


                                                            I can assure you, just because a Sicilian-American might pronounced a word like gabbagul, does not mean it's Sicilian. It's Italian-American "SLANG" that grew out of the old Italian (heavily Neapolitan) neighborhoods of 50 and 100 years ago. Since then, with the first, second, etc. generation Italians, these slang words have dispersed with them into the suburbs and other mixed neighborhoods. Italian-American slang has taken on a whole life of its own, and you can see this in the entertainment industry from the Godfather to the Sopranos. Although, I will be honest, the Godfather did a PHENOMENAL job in using real Sicilian. Only in scenes with other Italian-American mobsters, did they use the Italian-American slang. And the Sopranos, I have to admit, DID a wonderful job in using real Neapolitan. Unfortunately, again, the younger characters often used the Italian-American slang. What's the difference? On the Godfather, watch when Micheal tries to speak Italian in the restaraunt before shooting the cop, and how the other mobster speaks back to him. Compare that to the older mobsters in the movie, or when they returned to Sicily, then you see the real Sicilian used, not the slang. In the Sopranos, take a look at when Tony and the guys swear, compared to when Uncle Junior sings "Core ngrato" or when Fiorio returns to Naples, or when the real Neapolitan hitmen are talking to each other. So you see, we have distinct languages, Sicilian one, Neapolitan, another, and then Italian-American slang that derived from a mix of the above, and other languages/dialects of Italy brought to America by immigrants 100 years ago. 100 years ago only 2% of Italians spoke Italian, they all spoke their own language or dialect. So Italian really had no influence on the slang.

                                                            To be frank, I also say "calamad" and "muzzarell" when eating/ordering at an Italian restaraunt here in America, because that's the most common way people where I live pronounce these words in English, and that's how I grew up as an Italian in the northeast. But, at home we always use the Sicilian words "calamari" and "muzzaredda" and if I was to visit Italy (outside of Sicily) I would use the Italian words "calamari" and "mozzarella." I wouldn't dare say "calamad" or "muzzarell" in Italy, because I know there are different levels of speech. Unfortunately, Italian-Americans who simply have an Italian last name only, and little to no knowledge of Italian, or the minority languages (Sicilian, Neapolian, Sardinian, Venetian, Lombard, etc.), often think that they're speaking Italian or Sicilian, Neapolitan, etc. But it's not true at all, and this causes a lot of problems when "Italians in name only" go to Italy and try to order from a menu or converse with native Italians. I do not want to denigrate anyone, because we're all trying to preserve our culture in one way or another. But for the serious Italian-American, you can order books now from the internet to help you learn standard Italian, or Sicilian, or Sardinian, and even Neapolitan! You can learn these languages the proper way, and it'll be fun. I assure you, they will bring back many memories of your childhood as well. So think about it, and give it a try! :)

                                                            But please, when you hear Italian Americans pronouncing Italian words such as these, in a sloppy manner, please DO NOT ASSUME it is Sicilian. Sicilian is a beautiful language, and much different than Italian. "Gabbagul" is Italian American "SLANG" that has changed over time, and been altered by American pronunciation. As I already wrote, the pronunciation is not the same as when it arrived here with southern Italian immigrants.

                                                            So I hope this has cleared up some of the confusion, if you stuck around with me long enough to read my entire letter. Yes, it's a little bit complex, but I assure you, this is the real truth. Feel free to ask me anyhing more, and I'll try to help.

                                                            Gabeesh? Or as we say in Sicilian, capisti? Or in Italian, capito?
                                                            No wiseguys need reply... :)

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: eu.sugnu.sicilianu

                                                              Great mini-dissertation, eu. Our 10 day driving tour around Sicily was the highlight of our trip to Italy -- Palermo, Monreale, Segesta, Erice, Selinunte, Agrigento, Siracusa, Cefalu -- all incredible. We were utterly stumped when dining in restos where the staff spoke Sicilian and the menus were in that language, but dang the food was good, especially when accompanied by a nice Nero d'Avola. I could live just on arancine (round or conical) -- perfect food in my book. Thanks for triggering these great memories :-).

                                                            2. This discussion takes me back to college days and a waiter with attitude. A near-by table ordered manicotti and the waiter repeated "one manigot". A separate person at the same table (to be more correct in his order) said "I'll have the manigot also". To this the waiter repeated "one manicotti", flicked his towel over his shoulder and left for the kitchen. No telling how he repeated the order in the kitchen.

                                                              1. that is what it is , Cappicola

                                                                1. I get a bit embarrassed for totally NON-Italians who think they SOUND Italian with their mangled pronunciations!?!