Café Vinaigrette

The second of my two collaborations for ISSUE #15: HUNGER, I joined up with writer Raina Ng to create a collection of short, short stories in the form of a menu, inspired by a story with the same structure by the excellent Roxane Gay. Raina and I decided on sections of the menu, what they represented, and then went off to provide different “meals” and items for each section. For the piece we also constructed a playlist for the fictional Café Vinaigrette and I filmed short videos of “preparation” and turned them into .gifs to accompany the piece.

You can read Café Vinaigrette in full here. Find the rest of my work for ISSUE Magazine here.

AYAM MASAK KICAP

fragrant chicken dish cooked in soy sauce, oyster sauce, onions, peppers, chillies, lemongrass and ginger, served with fragrant rice in a clay bowl    

Once you had a second set of parents (imagine that, single fathered-orphan daughter, imagine that.) The university professors you lived with would send you after school to them, a security guard and a housewife. You were four in all, two girls, two boys, a pair born and a pair paid for. Their small house was a tall bench in the front yard, skinny cushions on rattan chairs, jalousie windows we’d peer through to spy on the grocer with his small lorry of produce. For lunch we sat on the cool linoleum of the kitchen, the gas burner by our mother’s head, one plate on her lap, doling out pinches of rice and meat from her right hand to our waiting mouths, her young children who cannot be trusted to be nimble enough to feed themselves. The other boy who was not theirs was older, and one day he had his own plate in front of him. We watched from the corner of our eyes as he doused his rice with kicap masin, like syrup on pancakes, and with equal gravity and glee, bring the palm of his hand down onto the brown and white mound. It covered the plate. We watched as he squeezed.