Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Googootz

Calm down, it's just a squash.

My people call it "googootz." So do I.

Louis Prima sang about it. Old-time Italian-Americans, if they are very fond of you, might refer to you as it. ("Hey, googootz! Siddown, have a glass of wine with me!")

It is, in fact, a cucuzza, technically a gourd but used as a squash.

Size? Big. I've seen six footers.

Origin? Said to be southern Italy.

Due to its, er, shape, it is sometimes referred to as the "Serpent of Sicily."

Yes, of course it is.

Anyway, simple as they are to grow, I have never had much luck growing googootz here in Maine. And so this year, inspired by cousin John's enormous ability to coax the beauties to life under the most trying conditions, I decided to give the crop just one more shot.

This, by the way, is John. You can see why I might be inspired by such a man, yes?

And so in late spring, to the horror of my fellow community gardeners (not you Ann), I built a big trellis out of cedar so that my googootz, should they arrive, might have a place to climb and to grow. With an able assist from my dear cousin, I had gathered not one but four different seed packets — all from sources in Italy — thinking this would surely increase my chances for success. After the seeds were planted in the ground I sat down next to the trellis, dialed John in New York on my cell, and asked him to please summon his very best shaman prayer to bless the summer growing season, which he did graciously, if with a bit of sarcasm.

And I no longer have trouble growing googootz in the State of Maine.

Recipes? They're coming; just not today.

That's all for now. Take us out, boys.


S. said...

awesome, awesome job!!!!

Kate. said...

woah! those things are cool! i love that you grow weird italian vegetables in your garden. :)

Thomas Henry Strenk said...

Well, they look pretty cool, but how do they taste.
I'm not a big summer squash fan cause they don't taste like much and are too watery.
Give me an acorn or butternut any (autumn) day!

Proud Italian Cook said...

WOW, nice job on the Googootz! No problems for you anymore. I love your garden, I'll be growing googootz next year!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

My sister-in-law grows them evey summer --so delicious cooked up in a little bit of fresh tomato sauce. Throw in a few string beans whilr they simmer...yum!

scott said...

thought it was "guhgootz!"

Jeannie said...

They look like snakes alright! Good job, shows you have green fingers, unlike me:P It's too hot to do gardening here anyway, that's my excuse:)

Claudia said...

If I send a SASE....

Unknown said...

Oh! Although your post was 9 years ago, i wasn't following Mr. Meatball back then. Growing up in Baton Rouge, LA, we grew "ca cutzee" as thet were pronounced. Although I can't claim to be Italian (hey, none of us is perfect), lots of Italian-Americans live in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, so these things were grown by a lot of people. It was probably back in 1964, a hurricane blew through Baton Rouge. Me and my young wife were living in a two story with a cloths line reaching from our back porch over to the garage. Cacutz' was planted nearby and had grown across the cloths line. Hurricane first stripped the leaves and the cacutz' were exposed to view and so many began to blow in the wind. it took a lot, really a lot of wind over a couple of days for any of the cacutzs to break away. At end of hurricane, one or two survived. I live in Oregon now and might just plant some next spring. Thanks for listening, enjoy your posts of family.