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Apr 27, 2001 12:09 PM

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 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.