Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Who knew?

I'm back to sayings we heard when we were growing up.

I recently received a book -- well, I bought it -- which was recommended by a friend of mine who grew up in Philadelphia. This book -- Gravy Wars -- is about what went on in kitchens in South Philadelphia Italian homes in past and recent years. It brought back so many memories.

When I bought the book I didn't realize it was a recipe book with little stories connected to the recipes (sort of like Runnemede Remembered Recipes -- the BLOG I started before I knew about the book). I thoroughly enjoyed reading through the book and looking at the recipes.

I found that the yummies were part and parcel of my past -- my own mom's cooking, and the vignettes with each recipes were very similar to what I experienced in my own "South Philly Italian" family.

Well, in the back of this book there are sayings that the author of Gravy Wars (Lorraine Ranalli) heard in her own home where she grew up.

What I'm getting to, is who knew that the word scooch was from my South Philly heritage. Scooch means pest or literally "pain in the rear end". Of course in Italian it isn't spelled that way, but the dialect from my past pronounced it that way. (Italian is scocciare.)

Listed below are a few other sayings we had around our house (mainly when the Family got together) when I was growing up in Runnemede. The actual Italian spelling is in parenthesis.

Ageeta' (acido) -- heartburn -- also used when someone is aggravating you, like "You're giving me ageeta'."

Bragiole (braciola) -- a thin steak wrapped around a bread stuffing, cooking in sauce/gravy (red, not brown)

Capeesh (capisce) -- Do you understand? Always asked as a question.

Foch-a-bell (facciabella) -- beautiful face. I had completely forgotten this saying. Aunt Annie would say this to me when she saw me, but when I wasn't pretty any more (a teeneager) she stopped saying it to me.

Grazzi (grazie) -- Thank you. By the way, grazzi is pronounced grat zi.

Ma Don (madonna) - mother of God -- when I found out what this literally meant, I stopped saying it. The "O" is a long "O". My mom never used this saying, but several of my cousins did.

Manja (mangia) -- eat

Pie-san (paesano) -- fellow townsman, but used to designate any person you knew who was of Italian heritage.

Salood (salute) -- my dad would often use this and would raise his water glass to the table. It's a toast that means "to your health"

Scuzi (scusi) -- excuse me. One "Z" pronounced "z", two "Z"s prounced "tz", like in pizza.

Stewnod (stonato) -- forgetful, dopey

Zoop (zuppa) -- soup -- Who new it was an "Italian" word. I always thought soup was pronounced zoop in our house because one of the children had called it that when they were small and it stuck.


1 comment:

Rose said...

scootch- mom would always say "scootch over" or "scootch your butt"- she didn't use it as a noun, but as a verb if you were in the way. Strange how these things get mangled over the years ;-)
And I always thought stoonod was from the Polish side of the family. Mom used it, but so did my Polish/Lithuanian Grampa. "hey, stoonod! that light was RED!" that sort of thing.