Cooking with Connie by Gemma Cafarella
Connie Cafarella was born on Stromboli, a tiny island and active volcano off the coast of Sicily, Italy. Born into significant poverty, Connie was taken out of primary school to pick capers to help the family make ends meet. Food has been an important theme throughout Connie’s life. She recalls that as a young girl she would steal a couple of handfuls of flour from her mum’s (a baker) flour stores to make pasta for her and her siblings, who often went hungry. Throughout the more than 70 years that she has been in Australia Connie’s food has been central to her abundant love, warmth and hospitality. Connie has traditionally kept her recipes very close to her chest. When pressed for a recipe, she often gives it in parts or leaves out key ingredients. Connie shows few signs of slowing down – despite her age she still cooks for the whole family and insists on doing the washing up. Given her age, however, her granddaughter Gemma has been keen to record her beloved Nonna’s recipes, along with her humour and philosophy. Join Connie as she shares her recipe for “mulunciana” (baked eggplant).
Gemma Cafarella is a barrister, 3CR radio host and Liberty Victoria spokesperson. In 2019 Gemma spearheaded the successful Save Footscray Park campaign and was recently published in the Nillumbik Arts Anthology ‘Written in the Time of COVID-19’.