Expanding Your Lexicon

The baccalà we had was similar to the linked recipe, but served hot with the addition of some fresh whole green beans and some strips of sauteed red and green peppers to go with the canned red ones. So it was seasoned cod with red, white, and green vegetables. A properly NJ Italian dish for La festa dei sette pesci on Christmas Eve.
Baccalà comes as a yellowish slab of rock hard dried salted fish, and seems about as appealing as eating old boots. This dish was marvelous. The vultures can really eat, but they can cook just as well.

Instead of the schoolboy essay on “How I spent my holidays” I’ll give you a new word that encapsulates the day long Christmas Eve festival of food and drink I went to with all of her relatives. New Jersey Italian-Americans are very proud of their heritage, but since they all got here via a few generations living in Brooklyn and Staten Island, those boroughs have had their influence. This bunch, which we sometimes fondly call The Vultures, had it dialed up so much they even had “an Italian Christmas tree” which didn’t feature Neapolitan ornamentation at all, but it was decorated with bands of green, white, and red lights. Paisan! We had a great time. And for folks from odd places like Oregon, I guess I should add that not one person said a word about being Italian, or acting that way, or how the party was based on a formal religious festival. No. They are, so they don’t have to act. They don’t even have to mention. And that’s a huge difference. It ain’t Snooki and her gang of greasy losers. Besides, they’re all from Brooklyn, not from New Jersey. And we know what that means.

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Eeh, now dat’s Italian!

A New Joisey Woid

[a new, New Jersey word]

Proper Italian Word: cafone, noun. Pronounced with a very soft “c” that almost sounds like a “b”: cah-phone. Meaning: a peasant. Someone from the rural countryside.

New Jersey Version: gavone, noun. Pronounced with a sharp “g” and “v”, emphasis on the second syllable: gah-Vone. Meaning: a greedy uncultured slob.

An Italian-American word originally meaning an ill-mannered, unkempt pig-man (or woman). Based on italian cultural concepts like making a good show of yourself and an obsession with cleanliness. The word comes from the Italian “cafone”, which sounds to an english-speaker as ‘Gaw-Vone’ when spoken with a southern Italian accent.

Example: “Joey, he’s such a gavone, he puts ketchup on his lasagna!!” [thanks to our old pal Lucy] In other words, it means almost the same thing as a medeegone [which in NJ Italian sounds almost like “merry-cone"].

Expanding Your Lexicon: gavoning, verb. Pronounced “gavone-ing”. Meaning: duh, waddayou, stupit, you don’t know whadit means? It means, duh, acting like a friggin’ gavone!, but usually in the context of eating. Almost always used with a directional indicator such as up, down, or at. Similar to “scarfing” but with more haste and gusto. See also: “boardinghouse reach”.
Example: “Man, what a party. What a feast! You shoulda seen da vulchas gavoning up the prosciutto and the sfogliatelle!” [Man, what a party. What a feast! You should have seen all the hungry relatives eating the ham ("pra-zhoot") and the shell cookies ("szvoy-a-dell")!]

Note: like gavone, gavoning is an insider’s word, used lovingly to bust chops on people you are close to. When used by an outsider, either term will be considered a direct verbal assault and immediate repercussions will be taken. You gotta problem wid dat? You talkin to me wid dat mouth?

Coining credit goes to John E. Not one person around the huge table had ever heard the term before. After everyone got back up in their chairs after ROFLMAO, the new enverbiation was hotly debated over several more drinks and another helping of the excellent baccalà, and it was finally judged acceptable. Marone a mia!

Posted by Drew458    United States   on 12/26/2012 at 01:56 PM   
  1. Golly Uncle Billy, them east coast folk sure do talk funny.
    It’s OK son,its a Culture thang.

    Posted by Rich K    United States   12/27/2012  at  12:21 AM  
  2. Creative exaggeration on my part as comic emphasis.

    You want we should notice your west coast accent? Good Lord, are you all as nasally blocked as the Fwench? Come on everybody, squeeze your nose shut tight, raise your voice an octave, dim your brain and bobble your head around while you say “Like, I want a half-caf double mochalattechino with organic part skim, K?, and a double shot, sized mega-ultra-grande.”

    Oh, and all my inlaws are driving brand new Mercedes these days, because they opened their own business in a high need, high demand market. They’re doing far better than I am.

    Posted by Drew458    United States   12/27/2012  at  02:48 PM  
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