The Controversial Condiment J. Kenji López-Alt Can't Help But Love

In the United States, at least, the names Parmesan and Parmigiano-Reggiano may be used interchangeably. But in Italy, there is only One True Parmesan Cheese. The cheese is hard and can be grated on top of pasta, consumed in chunks, or dipped in balsamic vinegar before being popped in the mouth and enjoyed for its rich, buttery, creamy, nutty, and salty flavor, per Serious Eats

But far more people know of Parmesan cheese as the pre-grated cheese that comes out of an iconic green Kraft can and which, per The Counter, has faced at least 50 class-action lawsuits. Less of a cheese that can be consumed whole and is used more as a condiment to be sprinkled over or mixed into dishes, Parmesan has faced criticism for its DNA and whether it can even be considered real cheese. I's also made with ingredients including cellulose and potassium sorbate, both of which The Counter says are legit food additives; the former helps the cheese flow more freely, and the latter keeps the product shelf stable.

Despite Parmesan's controversies, though, it's still beloved by many — including one very famous chef.

Parmesan cheese has one famous fan

But all this seems to be of little consequence to noted foodie J. Kenji López-Alt, who has taken to social media to declare his love for the condiment. In a July Instagram post, López-Alt shared a meme with the caption: "On this Reddit thread the only one of these four things being consistently trashed is the canned parmesan, but it's the only one that I keep regularly at home. EDIT: the irony in the number of comments here trashing and gatekeeping other people's cooking. It's OK to cook with convenience ingredients and it's OK not to."

In a separate Instagram post, López-Alt continued: "For those asking what I use canned parm for, two best uses: A) on NY style pizza (where I also use garlic powder and table salt instead of fresh garlic and kosher salt). B) late at night by the refrigerator light, shaken straight into my hand and lapped up with my tongue like an anteater."

But López-Alt's fellow foodie David Lebovitz used an anecdote involving a legendary Italian cookbook author to throw shade on the condiment, saying: "My favorite memory of the green can is when I was sitting next to Marcella Hazan at a dinner and the waiter came over to explain to her what real Parmesan was, and he told her 'It's not the stuff in the green can, young lady.' The look on her face was priceless..."