Cooking Something Up

Cooking Something Up is an interdisciplinary group composed of Freeke van der Sterren, Thao Tong, Yusser Salih, Carla Arcos, and Julia Wilhelm, who cook for each other and research domestic work as a mode of study. We aim to go beyond the interdisciplinary and embrace ways of learning together otherwise, building on Fred Moten and Stefano Harney’s concept of study. They describe study as an activity that is inherently social and a form of sharing experiences, of exchange, of cooking things up together. We approach study as a tool for recognizing the intellectual potential of everyday practices, notably those inherent in reproductive labour such as cooking and other activities of care.

With a specific focus on the private, the home and the kitchen, we are exploring how to situate and practice study in ecosystems of care. How to reclaim the house as the centre of collective life? How to politicise the sphere of the kitchen not only through theory, but in a practical, embodied way by raising questions about what counts as labour and what doesn’t? In line with this, we aim to re-imagine what knowledge can mean from a feminist point of view, one that takes into account and aims to dismantle the oppressive structures that generate the conventional frameworks for knowledge-production. We do so by exploring intuitive and embodied ways of knowing, straight from the kitchen-table. The recipes, knowledges, and text excerpts we collected along our journey are gathered in our cookbook-in-process, which will be made available here soon.

Above: Cooking Something Up. Cutting tomatoes in preparation for a workshop. November 2021.

Above: Cooking Something Up. A map of words central to our research and a steaming bowl of tomato soup. November 2021.