Recipes as Resistance

 

The dish inspired de Michele to host a series of “eggplant-parmesan raves,” cheese-fueled dance parties complete with best-chef contests, in his native Puglia in southern Italy. De Michele sees food-oriented gatherings as central to building community and preserving cultural memory—they’re political acts, in his view. “It sounds crazy, but when I try to explain parmigiana you can see how society in the south of Italy works. You have the respect of the season; you have the respect of the work of the people that prepare the tomatoes… You have the respect of tradition. I think the parmigiana is a metaphor for the persistence of tradition and resistance to modern globalization and corporatization of food. You create a community by offering all you have. To create community—to create emotion, a sensation, a connection to memory—you need to make a party, and for me, parmigiana  is an instrument.”