A Note from the Cook

My name is Paolo Mossetti and I write mostly on social movements, culinary industry and radical travelling.

I was born and raised in Naples, Southern Italy, so it should come as no surprise that my hometown is a recurrent theme in my work. Maybe not the cleanest or safest city, and certainly not the easiest city to live in, but I’ll always be grateful to Napoli, a preparatory school like no other.

At eighteen I moved to Milano, where I took a BsC and a MSc in Economics of Arts, assuming, as did my buddies at the time, that because I knew a little and most people knew nothing, that would make me get a good job and therefore be happy.

It wouldn’t. Corporate Culture was a suit too tight for me, and every time I tried to make it fit, I found myself enmeshed in gloom and utter depression.

But I can’t say my university years were unhappy: the Cultural Studies course I took – where I was introduced to the work of Edward Said and Tzetan Todorov, among others – was terrific. During that time I also met some of the most influential people in my life, joined several underground literary projects  and co-founded, in Napoli, the guerrilla street-art group Il Richiamo (‘The Call’), which was engaged in anti-mafia activism.

Oh, and I enjoyed traveling: not as a drunken, cheap Hemingway impersonator at the bulls’ run, but rather as a storyteller and, when possible, an organizer. For about one year and a half after graduation I did field research on Santa Muerte devotion in Mexico, the anthropology of Mafia in and the pop-folk scene across the Mediterranean.

Then a voice in my head said: this is all gonna go terribly wrong and you need to get serious job.

In my natural environment - watering bean plants in Calabria.
In my natural environment – watering spring beans in Calabria, Italy.

So I moved to London and I joined Corporate Culture, again. Luckily (or unluckily) for me, in its most penniless department: leftist publishing. This way I explored the galaxy of British anarchism, collaborated with my brother and comrade Federico Campagna; immersed, shoulders-deep, into the Anti-cuts movement.

And I managed to keep traveling: in Spring 2012, together with my partner in crime Zelene Suchilt, I somehow got on board the Librotraficante Caravan, from Texas to Arizona.

When forced by my roommates to pay rent, I also worked as a marketing and foreign rights assistant at a number of international firms, such as Zed Books and Berghahn Books.

The one thing I always loved as much as traveling or writing is cooking. In the experience of eating you can find all that today matters: class struggle, exploitation, friendship, autonomy, desire, sex and resistance. Some of my happiest memories are from my months as a line cook a in family-run Mexican restaurant in New York. I still work there, from time to time. It’s heaven.

I currently live in South Bronx, trying to open a radical library and keeping the comfortable afflicted.

My articles appears more or less regularly on Rolling StoneVice, Through EuropeDomus and other magazines.

Through this writing platform you will find flashes of personal or collective memories, short stories and essays, fiction and non-fiction style, first-hand accounts and dialogues. I haven’t been blogging for over ten years. Hope you’ll enjoy it.


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