Fighting for Flavor: Female Rice Workers and the Battle for Taste
with Diana Garvin


Should we consider delicious taste, and not just elemental nutrition, to be a basic human right? To investigate this question, “Fighting for Flavor” investigates the case study of the female rice workers (mondine) living under Fascism.

Although celebrated by the regime for their rural femininity, most mondine carried the red voting cards of the Communist party and not the Fascist black. In their diaries and their work songs, these women recorded their resistance to the regime in culinary terms.

These dense sensory details—the taste of wood smoke, the sting of raw nettles, the weight of overcooked polenta—demonstrate how the mondine successfully fought for the right not just to exist, but to thrive.