The Parmesan Paradox

You’re quick to add extra to your spaghetti but run away when someone even mentions the smell. Make up your mind, you fake cheese fan. Your pasta is getting cold.

Parmesan is both the staple to all Italian dishes and the laughing stock of the cheese family. This is mostly attributed to the fact that less = more when it comes to a cheese that smells like f*cking socks. But we all know you’ll keep that mystical green plastic container in the back of your fridge until you run out in three years. Oh, Parmesan. One day you love her, the next you hate her, but either way you keep coming back for more.

I attempted to research the history of Parmesan cheese but the first sentence started with “Legend has it…” and I decided I didn’t want to hear some bullshit tale about the King of Italy stumbling upon a wedge of Parmesan cheese in a cave. I definitely don’t need to add ancient cheese legends to my list of trust issues.

But alright, I’ll give a bit of a background for you history nerds. Unfortunately, no kings or cheese wedges in a cave. Sorry to get your hopes up. But there was a poet dude named Boccaccio who started it all. He wrote about Parmesan cheese with the upmost dignity and respect in a book called The Decameron in 1348. In his writing, Boccaccio described a physical mountain made exclusively of Parmesan cheese where folks would “do nought else but make macaroni and ravioli.” Sounds like one could definitely shred some gnar on that mountain. Also, Boccaccio, I’d totally swipe right.

So maybe our beloved Parmesan is good after all? Wrong. She definitely has a dark side in cheese history. Apparently Parmesan cheese is valuable enough that it is the target of organized crime — the Mafia has been known to ambush Parmesan delivery trucks in northern Italy for decades. Between 2013 and 2015, a gang stole 2039 wheels of Parmesan cheese from warehouses in northern and central Italy (hope they enjoyed their pasta feast!) 🙂  A recent survey also found that Parmesan is the most shoplifted item in the country, accounting for 10% of goods stolen from Italian shops.

Enough said. Parmesan, you may get a lot of hate, but you are one badass cheese.


4 thoughts on “The Parmesan Paradox

  1. Wow, I never realized people hated parmesan cheese. I love it. I never knew that about cheese, though! It is pretty expensive, though, so I guess that makes a lot of sense. I guess I will make sure to feel special next time I eat it!


  2. Thoroughly enjoyed your interpretation of the history of the most polarizing of cheeses. I guess I never really thought about it, but while reading I realized how much I adore parmesan cheese. Thanks for the enlightenment. I’m absolutely making a chicken parm sandwich tonight.


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