Migratory Feasts: Voices From the Kitchens of Singapore
“Migratory Feasts: Voices From The Kitchens of Singapore” takes readers on a whirlwind gustatory and cerebral adventure across sixteen kitchens in Singapore. A journey of “around the world on sixteen plates”— the book transports readers to places near and far. Each chapter is centered around a kitchen that serves as a jumping-off point to stories about the past, identity, family, and also broader issues such as migration, food scarcity, and geo-political conflict. The book also features sixteen women from different walks of life — an activist, a theatre actor, finance professional, dancer, restauranteur, and domestic helper, whose stories span the globe — from Sri Lanka to Romania, to Guadeloupe, to Cameroon, to Algeria, the Canary Islands, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Peru, and Jamaica, their stories touching on issues such as the colonialist mindset and its influence on cuisine, Instagram-fueled food-snobbery, issues such as frugality, and food scarcity, and the feminization of food preparation.
At the same time, in telling these very personal stories, “Migratory Feasts” takes a deep dive into the cuisines of these countries, revealing the color and texture of life in industrial Romania in the 80s, or a sunbaked rural village in the Canary Islands. In reading these stories as a collection, readers will start to discover how food traditions migrate and morph, discovering a plethora of similarities between food cultures — for instance, how Lithuanian “apple cheese” and Singaporean haw jelly may be close cousins even if they evolved independently.
Singapore-based Indian author Anurag Viswanath and Finnish photographer Camilla Businger, along with Canadian editor Rebecca Catching have come together to create this richly visual, textural, and culinary concoction of personal narratives, historical context, and whimsical recipes in this simmering gastronomic melting pot that is Singapore — a city of migratory feasts.
About the speaker
Ms Anurag Viswanath is a Singapore based independent writer and China Analyst for several Asian publications & Adjunct Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies, New Delhi, India. Anurag’s thesis was on “The role of the state in the context of reform: A study with reference to poverty alleviation programmes in China”. “Migratory Feasts : Voices From The Kitchens of Singapore” (2022), in collaboration with editor and collaborator Ms Rebecca Catching and photographer Ms Camilla Businger, is her second book which explores gender, politics and economics through the vector of food.
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