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Gabba-goo ??

  • m

For the last year I have been hearing about an Italian-american dish that sounds like it's called 'gabba-goo'.
Will some one please tell me what this is, including how to pronounce it properly.

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  1. Check a few wks down on the general topics board. There's a long -- and entertaining -- Sopranos inspired discussion of "gabagoul" which I believe turned out to be a regional pronunciation of "capicola," the Italian ham.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Rafi

      I noticed "Pasta Fazool" on a package the other day. The thread you cite also covers this as being a similar regional variant. But these are spoken variants, right? Is anyone actually spelling things "gabagoul" and "fazool"? I just assumed this (Pasta Fazool) was just a cutesy label/ad ploy, perhaps also timed to ride the Sopranos boom.

      1. re: Tony S.

        gabagoul is a goomba pronunciation of what is commonly known as ham cappy, or capracola. Pasta Fagioli on the other hand, should be pronounced (exclusively) Pasta - Fazool.

        1. re: tpicone

          Well, it depends where you are ordering Pasta e fagioli! Pasta fazool will get you nowhere in Italy!

      2. re: Rafi

        Thanks, I just found it. It is a funny thread.

      3. Hi.
        Sicilian and Southern Italian dialects are more guttural than Roman Italian, often pronouncing 'C' as 'G' and 'P' as 'B' among other differences. Gabbagool (you may have missed the 'L' at the end) is simply capicola, an air cured dry Italian ham.
        The large Italian immigration of the late 1800 early 1900 were mostly Sicilians and Southern Italians. They taught their 1st Generation Italian American children the Italian Language dialect they spoke. They in turn created an Italian American dialect, mostly in the New Jersey/New York area, often clipping the vowel endings common to most Italian words.

        Examples :
        Capicola = Gobbogool or Gobbogaul (soft o, soft o as in on, oo as in zoo)
        Provolone Cheese = Brovolon (short o, short o, long o as in phone)
        Sopressata (salami) = Subersod and Supersod (long u, short o)
        Manicotti = Monogaut (either both o short or 1st short, 2nd long as in phone)
        Pasta e fagioli (beans and macaroni) = Bostovozool (short o, short o, shorto, oo as in zoo)

        Their are many others and there is no standard. There are many variations. I'm from the NJ shore area, now living in the South. I can't order in a local "Italian" restaurant without pausing to remember how to say the menu items in a way they understand as opposed to how I was taught to say them.

        1 Reply
        1. OMG, Monkeybrains, you just made my day! Gabba-goo! It reminds me of the first time that I made a lasagna for my in-laws. My FIL grew up in Tony Saprano country, and when I told him that there was ricotta and mozzarella cheese in the lasagna, he looked at me like ????!!! Let me tell you the RIGHT way to pronounce that, my dear!

          1. This post made me laugh...my relatives, Italian Americans in NY, pronounced everything as people mentioned here. Also:
            mozzarella: mootsa-dell
            ricotta: ah-riggut
            And I remember one called "ah-zoogun" which for the life of me I can't remember what it is....I want to say pumpkin but don't think that's right. Sound familiar to anyone?

            2 Replies
            1. re: poptart

              I grew up in Brooklyn and your pronunciations sound just about right to me. I'd add ah-beets for pizza and ganoul for cannolis.

              1. re: poptart

                That's how all of the Yonkers, NY Italians I know pronounce them!

              2. I like the enlightened answers to Monkey's question.
                I have one somewhat along the same lines; A few years ago, an acquaintenance had asked me what scungilli (sp?) was, he said it was definitely Italian (or as he said, EYEtalian) as he remembers a mob boss getting whacked while eating the stuff in Manhatten.
                (I guess that nails it as being Italian...)

                So I asked my old timer Italian friend (originally from central Italy) who didn't have a clue.
                However, once I was in Manhatten, it seemed that scungilli is conch.

                Is this the case? and how come my Italian friend didn't know this? (I can't ask him myself since he has since passed...).


                5 Replies
                  1. re: southernitalian

                    scungilli are conch, maybe snails as well, but definitely conch

                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                      I'll defer to you on this one because regardless of whether it's conch or snails, that's definitely one dish this Southern italian could never muster the courage to eat. OK, just looked it up, It's definitely conch, specifically Whelk.

                      1. re: southernitalian

                        Well, a conch is just another type of sea snail, as is whelk, so I guess that would be a context thing.
                        Would a northerner not know this term as a southerner would?

                        Thanks for that by the way.

                        1. re: porker

                          Snails are "Babba looch" (or something like that!) My husband's Sicilian grandmother just to pick them in the yard, and that's what she called them, anyway.

                          She also made stuffed tiger lily blossoms (ala squash blossoms) and picked cardoon on the side of the highway, at her own secret spot.

                1. Don't forget Schkatol - escarole
                  Busaneecol - Basil
                  Pasta Cheshita - Pasta and chichi beans
                  Ah-zoogun, I cannot place

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: BiscuitBoy

                    When I was about 16 (and stop me if I told this story already) my uncle was visiting and Mom sent me to the store to pick up a few things. She was making among other things that he had asked for- Ssshka-dole and Beans. Of course I could NOT find any type of green leafy thing with a name anywhere even CLOSE to that And of course I asked... 'Excuse me sir, where can I find the sshka-dole?" Blank stare. "It's green. It's like lettuce but it isn't." Open mouthed stare. "I think it's spelled S-C-H-E... No, that doesn't sound right..."

                    I went home with just beans. My entire family laughed at me for hours. I truly did NOT know it had any other name. Had we still been living in NJ, the guy would have tossed escarole at me. But by then we had moved to CA- and no one was around to save me.

                    1. re: Boccone Dolce

                      Ahhhh... you wanted ES-kah-role. Delicious braised in EVOO with garlic and anchovies with a few red pepper flakes thrown in for good measure.

                      1. re: Gio

                        Yes, with a piece of crusty bread, and a glass of wine....Or in a salad. The best things are often simple things, no?

                        1. re: BiscuitBoy

                          The inner leaves/heart near the stem of the escarole is so sweet! I love it in a salad with th nice red wine vinaigrette...

                      2. re: Boccone Dolce

                        'scarole! Interchangable word that also means "money", at least in my neck of the woods.

                    2. Cured meat from neck and shoulder of pork. NOT HAM. Ham is thigh and butt.

                      1. It's too bad I opened this thread... because my northern Italian ancestors must be rolling over in their graves. There's a vast difference in the dialects of each region. For the most part, we enunciate each vowel and do not cut off the last vowel.
                        Thus - Mozzarella.... is mozz-ah-REL-la...rolling the R. It's Prov-vol-LONE-e.
                        It's Cahp-pah-COAL-ah.

                        Gabba-goo indeed!......Harumph. LOL

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Gio

                          Yeah- and my Calabrese ones are doing the same thing ;) The dialects are different, for sure, but a lot of these pronounciations are exaggerated to a cartoonish level. We do pronounce the last vowel, but it is done very subtly, almost like the tongue is pulling off of the word. The C sound isn't a hard G but a sort of combination of both letters, etc.

                        2. LOL, yabba, gabba, goo! What about sfogliatelle, how would you say that? I couldn't stop talking about them after visiting Naples and none of my Italian American friends knew what I was talking about until someone translated. "Oh, you mean ______!"

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: yamalam

                            Why it's simple.....
                            Sfogliatelle = Sfo-leeah-TELL-ee. (the G is not pronounced. It has a Y sound in English.)

                            And with my name Gio, it's pronounced Joe. The I after the G softens the G but is not pronounced. It's not Gee-oh. It's Joe.

                            1. re: Gio

                              I meant the goomba pronunciation. I swear a D evolved somehow...foogeedoh if I remember correctly?

                              And I thought you were female for some reason:)

                              1. re: yamalam

                                Gio - hope you don't mind - Giovanna is a female's name. It's pronounced jo-VAHN-ah.

                                Never heard of cappicola being referred to that way, but you've brought back memories of infuriating conversations with my cousins over "rigaut" and "gravy".

                                1. re: gini

                                  I don't mind at all. My name IS Giovanna and it is pronounced just as you say. Gio is simply the short/nick name.

                              2. re: Gio

                                All the pastry talk reminded me of "boo-kee-nawt" mini pie looking thing with vanilla or chocolate creme inside...No idea what the proper name is

                                1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                  Oh gosh.... I wonder if you're talking about:
                                  "Bocconcini con Crema" Bo-con-chi-knee con Crem-ah. Small cream puffs.

                                  Mama mia!

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Could be, Gio....Since I was a little kid, both of the "good" bakeries near me had them in the case, but never a sign or a name. The ancestors of most of the people in that area were from Naples, Amalfi, etc. who usually annunciate things properly, unlike Sicilians from my father's side!

                                    1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                      There are also a small cream pie called Bostini...similar to a Boston cream pie. Here's a picture:


                                2. re: Gio

                                  See now, in my Italian family sfogliatelle = sfooyadell.

                                  I had no idea until I was in my late 20's that gabbagool and cappicola were the same thing. Even then it took me quite a while to accept that fact.

                                  1. re: irishnyc

                                    Yeah- we call it schvee-ya-dell. I'm with you on the gabbagool. In this area they call it 'cappy ham' and they actually sell a good one at super walmart. There are no pork stores/ italian delis anywhere close to me now so I have to hunt around. Fresh mutz? Not unless I drive for an hour. Soup-ra-saad? Pro-shute? Ganool? (sigh) I can find Polly-O, aka pot cheese, aka ree-coat-ta aka ree-gat.
                                    Fried cal-maad? Yes-but hardly any are really worth it.
                                    (I could go on but I'm boring myself.)

                                    1. re: irishnyc

                                      My DH's family calls it spooyadell. I say sfooyadell, but whatever it's called, I love it.

                                  2. re: yamalam

                                    Think folio and foliage. It has to do with leaves.

                                  3. ahahha...It's cappicola...It's an italian meat! That's how tony soprano says it!