Friday, August 08, 2008

Which Wine With Googootz?

I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member." - G. Marx

The bells and chimes are making a racket outside. The remnants of Tropical Storm Eduard are fleeing northward, overhead. It’ll probably make it in time to O’Hare before American Airlines does. Down below, on the terroir-stressed soil of Texas, we are in full-harvest mode. And just in time for the weekend, we have the cucuzza crop starting to hit. For Southern Italians, cucuzza is sacred, in fact there is a Sagra della Cucuzza in Calabria. Then again, they have a Sagra for almost anything, even a Sagra Cassata Siciliana.

But today the cucuzza is front stage and center. My son sent me a picture of the Cucuzza Squash Drill Team in California, so it seems a likely time to break out the old “Which Wine With” post format, for the second time this week, and give it a fling.

In preparation for that I emailed a couple of bloggers across the country to see what their choices were, along with a few old hands in this forsaken terroiritory. So let’s get started.

Then I heard from The East Coast, and Marco Povero.
His answer was a little longer

“Are you grilling it or having it tomatoes & pasta? These points are

I answered, “Doesn't matter-For the blog-You tell me-Subito-Grazie1000.”

His speedy reply:
“2006 Etna Rosato Scilio Sicilia
2006 Vesevo Greco Di Tufo
2006 Alticello Fiano Cantele Salento Apulia
2006 Costamolino Argiolas Vermentino Di Sardegna.”

A true Southerner trapped in the cold Northeast.

A short text to Tracie and she, being a foodie, also pressed, “Depends how it's made.”

Must be girl’s night out …. Any who, she followed with “...either a light red (Grignolino) or a deep rose'!”

Back to Curacao Mojitos and Jell-O-shooters girls, thanks for txtng bck.

Then I got on the phone with Tony the Bone and Joey the Weasel. They were heading to a party with a bunch of women. Or rather, “colleagues.” Don’t ask.

Tony answered “Riesling.” Could he have been a little more specific? They were rolling up to the party house.

Joey the Weasel mumbled a couple of inaudible suspects and then settled on a rather respectable Conti Zecca-Donna Marzia, Malvasia Bianco, from Puglia. Party on, ragazzi.

That wasn’t so difficult now was it?

Today I also found out the Koreans love cucuuza too. They have another name for it, sounds kinda like googootz.

But googootz thrives in the old Italian neighborhoods, one the East coast, up in Chicago, down here in Texas, and especially in Northern Louisiana (the cucuzza capital of the world), oh, and yes in California. It is loved in old Oraibi too, once had a friend who was a Hopi and he loved the stuff. He liked to dry it out to make ceremonial rattlers for some of the dance rituals. That’s right.

Women love to grow and pick googootz. The older ones even know how to cook it. My Nonna’s knew how to. My mom used to cook it for my dad and us kids. My mom’s recipe was good. It seems that everybody’s mom has a special recipe.

Some of those old Italians just loved to see how long it could get. They have contests in Canada to grow them at unbelievable lengths.

The plants take over the yard. And then they produce the fruit and they really go to town. I mean, before it’s over everybody is giving the stuff away. A little goes a long way.

The Northern Italians sometimes make fun of the Southerners love for cucuzza. I don’t know why, I think they just like to find anything they can to make fun of them. Kind of the way the old schoolers from the East Coast would taunt those who lived in the Southern states of the USA. Just plain ‘ol ignorance, manifestations of archetypical pathology. Probably don’t like accordions either.

Wine wise, for me? I’d go with a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Cerasuolo or a light Calabria red like a Gaglioppo or a Ciro. There’s also a deeply colored Ciro rosato that would work. I could also go with a Cerasuolo di Vittorio (not a rose’) though it is a wee bit lighter than some Sicilian reds. I could also enjoy it with some of the Gruner Veltliner whites I tried last week, especially some of the Smaragds from Wachau. There, I got that in.

But if you could have one wine, only one, what would it be? Operators are standing by.

In the meantime, back to practicing. I can’t wait for the Sagra Cassata Siciliana, hoping to be invited to play with Beatrice again. Yeah, right.

My Cucuzza ~ by Louis Prima

My Cucuzza
Cucuzza bella
She's my pizza pie with lotsa mozzarella
With Cucuzza
I wanta be
'cause Cucuzza is so crazy over me
Cucuzza grows in Italy
They love it on the farm
It's something like zucchini
Flavoured with Italian charm
I call my girl Cucuzza
'cause she's sweet as she can be
She loves to hear me say
"Cucuzza please babotcha me"

My Cucuzza
Cucuzza bella
She's my pizza pie with lotsa mozzarella
With Cucuzza
I wanta be
'cause Cucuzza is so crazy over me

Now you can have your pasta
And your chicken cacciatore
I'd rather have Cucuzza
'cause for me it means amore
So when the moon is shining bright
On dear old Napoli
I dream of my Cucuzza
She's the only dish for me


Anonymous said...

Good morning,
A friend of mine gave me a cucuzza she found in a local farmer's market just a few days ago.
It brought back a flood of memories from my Aunt Barb B Q's backyard. She used to 'put it up' - ya know, pickle it in jars for the winter. I had not seen one since I was 13 years old, sitting in her backyard in Salinas, CA.
She was my dad's half-sister. That's a story!

And I was trying to figure out whether I was going to cook it or just look at it and what wine I would have with it. I came to no conclusion til this morning. I'm going to grill half of it, steam the other half, drizzle fig balsamic on one and pomegranate balsamic on the other, both with a dash of olive oil, light salt, dash pepper.
Then I'm going to have a glass of Proseco with one and a Vernaccia with the other, after I taste it with a 3 Rings Barossa Valley 2006 Shiraz from Australia. I have very few, if any, Sicilian wine options in my neck of the woods. It's really a shame.

Anyway, thank you for the blog and the memories.
Nice looking women in your blog.

love ya,
carlo in nyack

Anonymous said...

Long live cucuzza! Since it was subito, I thought of a Cerasuolo di Vittoria later. I love that first pix and the one above "Some of those old Italians just loved to see how long it could get."

Anonymous said...

"Googootz is the new seersucker."
-Chico Marx

Tracie P. said...

oh, THAT cucuzzo!

in napoli, they use that word as a general term for squash. in fact, in napoletano, with its enthusiastic use of diminutives (same with italian), cucuzzariell' even means "zucchini," as we know it, which itself, is a diminutive of zucca, but feminine (zucchina) in italian.

it was the large orange zucca that i thought you were asking about (guess i lived with napoletani too long). i had this primo in mind: cubes of zucca, melted down in some olive oil, then stewed with pasta. divine! the slightly bitter bright red fruit and acidity of a grignolino offsets the sweetness of the cucuzz' beautifully. i really would have said gragnano, but only you know what the hell that is. your gaglioppo would be perfetto too, credo, as well that hint of frappato in your cerosuolo di vittoria.

the cucuzzo that you're describing has another name in neapolitan, but nu'm'ricordo. i used to see it sauteed with pomodorini in ischia.

just make sure you peel it. trust me.

great post, by the way. i love the pics of all of those men and their...cucuzzi.

Anonymous said...

anon, you might be on to something archetypically big

Unknown said...

You should have contacted Carmela, in Toronto. She could have filled you in all the continuous improvement methods going on up there with respect to cucuzza.

I'm all wrapped up waiting, myself, for the next hoja santos post.

Alfonso Cevola said...

Thanks BK, we strive to manage for continuous improvement.

Naomi said...


I am lookig for the Italian lyrics of the song My cucuzza.
I heard it once so I know it does exist. Anyone??


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