Memoria sazonada (Seasoned Memory) | Iztapalapa, Mexico City | June 3rd, 2010
The kitchen is the first workshop we can have access to in order to transform our world. It is the space destined to keep us alive in the most creative ways possible. The kitchen is still the place where thee inhabitant of the house can experiment with a certain freedom, with the knowledge or ignorance of their hands, the most delightful of disgusting flavors. An inherited recipe gets stuck in us like a story. One prefers to omit or highlight certain details that seemed less o more important through the story telling. No matter how hard one tries to tell a story exactly the same way it was told to us when we were little, most of the times it is impossible to imitate the shades each person used to understand the facts. The same way, the ingredients get a different taste if they are squeezed with the hands or if they are ground using a metal or wooden tool. Making the dishes with patience or in a hurry, fast or carefully, lead us to different results. This is why I like to understand cooking as a bunch of practices, inherited or invented, that traces the characters of those who practice it as an experiment and creation field. Taking care of habits that keep us in a constant manipulation of our vital processes let us modify our world the way we please and not only contemplate it. Art has the possibility of taking these habits not as static results, or objects of contemplation, but as processes of life, as vital plastic. “Seasoned Memory” is a performance that is about the concept of identity through cooking, and specifically of various “mole” recipes belonging mostly to elderly women from the neighborhood of San Juan Cerro.
The objective was to invite each of the women to tell how they had got the recipe and to offer a small portion of “mole” prepared for an open gastronomic tasting for the inhabitants of the neighborhood. The tasting and storytelling happened while a marimba band was playing, generating a situation in which the neighborhood got feedback from the stories that are a daily part of their community and the flavors that in part, represent it. Everything finished with an open voting in order to name the five best recipes and award them with parts of tableware that I had made with my own hands. If the content of the tasting had been a result of the empiric knowledge of the participants, as an interchange the prize would be a product of knowledge contained in my hands.