When Cooking was a Crime
“Chamber pots as cooking pots. Blankets as fuel. Cooking was no easy task for those in prison. Moreover, it was illegal. But that did not stop male inmates in Singapore’s prisons and Drug Rehabilitation Centres (DRCs) during the 1970s and 1980s. Driven by the desires for a hot meal and a sense of freedom, they invented ways and means to “masak” with the little resources they had.
When Cooking Was A Crime offers a rare glimpse into the flavours of prison life based on the memories of eight former inmates. Through photographic recreations and interviews, it explores how food and cooking took on new meanings and tastes for those living behind bars.”
Research and Text by Sheere Ng
Photography by Don Wong
Design by Practice Theory
Published by In Plain Words
Singapore: In Plain Words / Basheer Graphic Books / Kinokuniya / Objectifs / Temporary Unit
South Korea: The Book Society
Thailand: Books & Belonging
USA: Inga Bookshop / Kitchen Arts and Letters / Draw Down Books / Hennessey + Ingalls
This is still one of my favourite books – just so thoughtfully and beautifully made. I met you during SABF 2021 and this copy has been travelling around Singapore ever since then. I was just talking to a new friend about food culture and your book and just landed on this page. Really looking forward to seeing more of your work!
Glad that you enjoyed the book!