Anna Puigjaner on the Social Meaning of Cooking Buckets
The Barcelona-based architect and researcher discusses how her travels in the Casamance, Senegal, illuminated a broader role of cooking buckets.
In recent years I have been researching contemporary, collective cooking practices, which hold the potential to redefine preset gender-biased structures. One of my trips took me to Casamance in Senegal, a region where cooking is traditionally done in a collective manner and partially outdoors. An essential tool is the bucket, a simple object that enables not only the washing of dishes but also the preparation of ingredients. Usually placed outdoors to dry after being used, the buckets have colorful finishes that help form part of the Senegalese landscape. Alongside the fire, these cooking devices are the essence of the kitchen. They are replaced and rearranged in response to changing needs, allowing the kitchen to “happen” wherever—outdoors or indoors. They can also be scaled as necessary, for small or large parties. In this territory, cooking becomes an act that mirrors not only the weather and other contextual circumstances but also the social activities and relations that happen around it.
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