In this imaginative and incisive take on both the cookbook form and on the labor and culture attending it, food preparation is assessed as both a creative outlet and an inherently political pursuit, a means of nourishing the community and nurturing meaningful conversation. Along with tasty dinner recipes, Home Works expands upon its central ideas through a series of essays and interviews that address the gendered division of domestic labor. This global perspective challenges what labor we value and how work is organized.
The book originated as a research project by Spanish architect Anna Puigjaner investigating housing designs in New York that were developed without fully equipped kitchens, or in some cases no kitchen at all. This led to an exploration of community responses to these kitchenless homes involving communal urban kitchens, which today can be found across the world from Lima to Tokyo. In these examples, the kitchen mutated from a space that defined the clichés of family and home to a space for the development of political communities that took control over their living situation.
What would happen if we would do away with our kitchens and collectively gather and share a kitchen? What does it mean to eat together? What type of togetherness would this kind of communal dining create? Upending the model of cookery as an isolated act, Home Works argues for communal eating in fun and life-enhancing ways.