Home Cooked | An Edible Boardgame
On pause until after pandemic
Food is as migratory as the people who eat it. ‘Traditional’ cuisine is not always comprised of ingredients local to the region. The modern pizza is Italian in origin, but tomatoes came from the Aztecs. American hot dogs came from German style wieners, but the act of stuffing ground meat into casings goes all the way back to the ancient Sumerians and Chinese. This contradictory notion of foreign ingredients in traditional local cuisine call into question the origin stories of ‘authentic’, regional food, and what defines authenticity.
‘Home’ Cooked acts as a physical manifestation of the generational process of developing distinct cultural traditions through global exchange and migration. My collaborator, Grace, and I developed a taste based game mechanics to share how a ‘foreign’ ingredient makes its way into a new country and integrates into a region’s existing food vocabulary. Playing the game challenges players to ask themselves questions like, “What was pizza (Italian) before Italy imported tomatoes from South America?”; and “What was Szechuan food before China imported chilis from the Portuguese?”
Players must create different methods of preparing the same foods from other countries. In the process, they learn about the environmental factors that go into securing the supply chain of local goods used in their creations, and can then extend the level of care learned through the game to their own community. The game makes learning about the sheer expanse of global food trade into a sensory experience.