Obviously I think that food brings people together. That's why I cook for my friends so often. That's why I swap recipes with the internet so often that's why I have several sizes of jeans in my dresser.
But, you guys, did you hear about Italy coming together over a bowl of risotto?
Okay, so there was an earthquake in Italy, remember? It struck the Parma region which is--you may have guessed--responsible for Parmesan cheese. Well, when the earthquake happened, "several hundred thousand wheels" of cheese fell from the shelves where they were perched to age and be undisturbed. That's a lot of cheese, right? Until you consider that each wheel weighs a good eighty pounds. That's a lot of cheese.
So, now that the Parma region is recovering, there was an effort to make sure that everyone was aware of it. Using social media and other outlets, Parmigiano-Reggiano supporters sought to get the word out by alerting the country and inviting them all to sit down to dinner, together. At the same time. And do the same meal.
The recipe was developed by chef Massimo Bottura--an adaptation on Cacio e Pepe (which is a favorite of mine and pretty much roughly translates to pasta with cheese and pepper). Apparently northern Italy is more rice-based and not exactly pasta based so he chose a risotto. And he switched out the cheese, which would normally come from Rome, to Parmigiano-Reggiano. So there's the whole country covered in this one dish.
And I thought this was such a cool idea. So I wanted to join in. Late. And in The United States. And completely differently because the Parmesan cheese that I have access to was probably made in, like, Cheboygan anyway. And I don't have four different kinds of pepper. Also I don't feel like hand-grating 5 lbs of cheese into a pot of water and then not being able to use it until the next day. Maybe this is something ordinary for the Italians to do? I could research "Parmesan water" but I won't.
At any rate. I will put in the tiniest bit of support. And I will make risotto with cheese and pepper because it sounds delicious and say, "that's a really cool thing you did, Parmigiano-Reggiano supporters of Italy."
Let's eat risotto with cheese and pepper. It's a good night for it, anyway.