"It was done anywhere where people are raising pigs, so that's practically everywhere in Italy," says Italian food expert Faith Willinger, author of Eating in Italy, Adventures of an Italian Food Lover, and Red, White & Greens: the Italian Way With Vegetables, though she adds that the name and culinary traditions are slightly different in each region. (In Sardinia, for example, porceddu, or suckling pig, is a primary focus of the celebration.) Daniele Vettorello, a bartender at Nostrana, an Italian restaurant in Portland, Oregon, grew up going to maialate in his village, San Giorgio di Lomellina (southwest of Milan in Lombardy), and still does. At his house, maialata results in friendly competitions over who makes the best salami, pancetta, and prosciutto—often judged by the ones leftover from the year prior. "The real maialata is more than a party," he told me, as we sat in Nostrana's bustling dining room with Whims, who is the chef-owner there. "You feed the whole family."