Name: Ramona Marks
Class Year: 2002
Country of Residence: Germany
Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory?
During the 2015 refugee crisis in Germany, I became involved with our local volunteer group. After many projects and changing priorities, we founded a Verein, or club, at the beginning of 2020, and now have a similar social and tax status as a non-profit in the U.S. I’m the committee leader of the group we call Kulinarik, or culinary. We only had one cooking evening before the shutdown, but we are hoping to have cooking classes and a recipe exchange in the near future.
I studied abroad in Italy when I was a student at MHC. I love Italy, and of course Italian food. Here where I live in Germany, there is a very large population of Italians, many of whom arrived in the 1970s as economic refugees and had children who have had children. They are a part of the community now, and refugees who arrived during the 2015 crisis are also becoming our neighbors and friends. Cooking together helps, whether Syrians, Iranians, Italians, Afghanis, this American, or of course Germans, among others.
The recipe I chose is an Italian recipe that surprised me: Parmigiana di Melanzane, or Eggplant Parmesan with eggplant that is not breaded. Unlike what I knew in the U.S., this recipe calls for quickly deep frying the eggplant before layering it between a simple tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil leaves. As with so much of Italian cuisine, the recipe is deceptively simple and the outcome depends on the quality of the ingredients.