How do you cook [vol.1]

︎︎︎by Jose Hopkins & Silvana Hurtado Dianderas

How do you cook [vol.1] is a cooking/eating performance which unfolds through three dishes functioning as eating moments or acts. Each dish is our interpretation of how three Peruvian’s living in the Netherlands cooks their
version of the Peruvian dish “Papa a la Huancaina”. Alongside hosting a dinner, this project draws from the artistic forms of the performance lecture and interactive storytelling to create a moment to reflect upon political migration and adaptation for personal standpoints. We have seen that combining everyday-dining aesthetics with more dramatic languages builds a comfortable yet critical atmosphere.

           We discovered that homemade Peruvian food cooked in the Netherlands is a fascinating object to work with, as it materialises personal stories of relocation. In this project, we explore the performances of cooking and eating Peruvian food as a device for bodily and non-linear storytelling. We observed that, besides a dish, the way these three Peruvians in the Netherlands cook reflects their emotions and experiences as migrants. Therefore, in our approach to researching this object and performing it, we embrace its ingredients, techniques, and tools, together with the cook’s past and present emotions.

We chose to work with Papa a la Huancaina because of its origins. It came into existence thanks to migration and exchange. There are discussions around where and who invented this dish. One source states that it was cooked first in Lima and another in Huancayo – as its name suggests. However, both versions agree that it was created around the construction of the railroad connecting both cities. Out of this story, we like thinking that this dish was not invented in Lima nor Huancayo but between them or because the railroad allowed fluent cultural exchanges. Hence, this dish is a product of movement and communication.

Photo credit: Kaka Lee
Video credit: Nelly Patist.