I’ve never cooked before
Performance, 2019 Sep. – 2021
Den Bosch, Ede-Wageningen, Den Haag, Breda, Rotterdam

Dishes are abstract paintings that reflect our existence; dishes are installations we consume neglectfully every day. I had never cooked before I came to the Netherlands. I cooked without following recipes, only by adjusting seasonings, cutting, mixing, and looking at the pictures from the supermarkets. I rarely observed how my friends cook. If the dishes are a language, ingredients are letters; the way of cooking is the pronunciation. What kind of language do I invent in a new social context?

I selected a few dishes from different periods. It seems to record how I learned to “speak.”

I couldn’t help searching for the ingredients I saw from Shanghai in shops, but it often ended up with some replacements. For example, I now accept all the strange noodles from Italy. Besides, I have started to use cheese, lemon, and olive products and sometimes eat bread even. My grandmother never ate cheese before she passed away, and she didn’t even care about it.

We often corrected, narrowed, or expanded the term kids invented till they succeeded in giving words the same range of meaning as we do. Somehow, I feel it happened to my cooking experience too.