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May 14, 2009 08:04 PM

South Philly Italian food question...

This is probably a strange question but I think if any board can answer it, it would be this one.

My mother was a South Philly Italian (I grew up in Florida). Sadly, she passed away 15 years ago, and recently I've been rediscovering and recreating the food she used to cook for me as a child. It hasn't been easy - I had to figure out on my own that "gabbagool" was actually cappicola ham, that "schudull" was escarole, and "scungill" really meant conch. What I always called "pasteem" was really pastina with milk and butter (the ultimate comfort food).

Well, there is one last dish that I'm still wondering about. In my house, it was called "iovois". That's as close to a phonetic spelling as I can get. This dish was spaghetti with a ton of garlic and black pepper on it. I hated it as a kid. My cousin remembers in as iovois too. But I can't find any reference to it, or anyone else who's ever heard of it.

So, anyone ever heard of this dish? Is there an English (or Italian) name for it?? Or even a recipe?


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  1. I think what you are referring to is "aglio olio" or the American pronunciation is "aya oya". Basically just chopped garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper. Real simple but real good. I normally eat it with plain old spaghetti. You're right it brings back memories of our South Philly roots.

    3 Replies
    1. re: BBCaprice

      Ours had an anchovy filet as well. Yum.

      1. re: BBCaprice

        Thank you!!! "Aya Oya" makes sense (and now my husband will know I'm not crazy and making this up!)

        1. re: e001

          Now that your question is answered, you must repay the Chowhound community by sharing her recipe, if you have it.