Tag Archives: my cucuzza

The Googootz

8 Sep

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.