“Le rezdore”: women, wisdom and culinary tradition in Parma

When we talk about “rezdora” we immediately think of the family home, the grandmother and the mother, the fresh hand-rolled pasta, the stove always on, the aprons bought at the market, the snack with beaten egg or bread with butter and sugar: indelible childhood memories of many people from Parma and Emilia.

Not only in Parma but throughout Emilia, the rezdora (or “resdora”, “arzdoura” or “arzdaura”) is a figure that has played a very important role in the history of the rural economy: all these terms derive from the Latin “regere “, direct.
In fact, the rezdora was responsible for managing the house and the children, the pantry, the gardens and the farmyard: a family management very different from today’s but as complicated as that of modern mothers, divided between work and family. Not just a housewife or a good cook then, but a real pillar of the family economy, wise and tireless.

The home cooking of the rezdore of the past is the one that is still prepared in Parma on Sundays, the one that is handed down only in the family (woe to reveal its secrets!), The one that still animates the culinary-themed discussions: “my grandmother did it tastier” ” my mom used to put some… “.
A kitchen made of long times, of dishes cooked for hours on the stove or in the wood oven, a seasonal cuisine, inevitably linked to what the land and the stable offered. A sensible kitchen, because food is precious and you should never throw anything away. A cuisine that today we chase and dream because in the floured hands of our rezdore there are our roots, in the rough pastry the memory of grandmothers and mothers, in the bread with butter the flavor of our childhood.


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