Monday, December 12, 2005

Do you know what gobagool is?

The Sopranos is probably my favorite TV show. Living in Italy now and having had no cable back in Chicago means that I rent the episodes 3 at a time and marathon my way through each season. I was just looking through the Soprano’s Official web site dictionary page called Mobspeak. A lot of the vocabulary you find there is just regular Italian. “Che peccato” means “what a pity” not just for the mobsters, but for everybody in Italy. Other entries look like they come from Napolitano, Calabrese or Palermitano dialects. But one of the terms made me cringe: “gobagool”.
I don’t mind the alternative spelling from the standard Italian “copicolla” or sometimes “coppa”. Anyway cuts of meat in Italy can be called all kinds of different things from region to region.
I don’t mind the Southern Italian pronunciation that changes c’s to g’s and p’s to b’s. Actually that pronunciation makes me feel as if I were back home in Chicago rather than far from home in Italy. In line at a Chicago deli, you'll often hear an older person asking for muzzarel' and prosciutt'.
What bugs me is the definition. The Sopranos lexicographer thinks gobagool is “something to eat” Well any self-respecting pork store patron knows that gobagool ain’t a turkey sandwich. It’s capicollo, salted, cured pork shoulder rolled into a wide sausage shape and sold either mild or hot. I used to get mine at Caputo’s in Chicago, now I get it at Piccolo Eden around the block. It’s not just “something to eat”, it’s a great thing to eat.


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