I guess my Dad and I are the most happiness people in the world, because my Mum is a good cook. She’s good at using different seasonings to create excellent taste. I like staying in the kitchen with Mum and listening she talks the use of seasonings. I’m always confused with the theory she talks, but I fascinate the shapes of the seasonings, such as Zanthoxylum and Illicium Verum. I started thinking how to use them in my drawing, then there are some other ingredients join in, like puffed food and nut shells.
Maybe people from the West are not familiar with Asia seasonings. Please allow me proudly introduce a little bit. SiChuan Pepper has an unique aroma and flavour, it’s not hot or pungent, it has slight lemony overtones and create a tingly numbness in the mouth. Because I’m not used to chilli spicy, so my Mum uses SiChuan pepper instead.
Star Anise is an indispensable spice for my Mum, she uses it to braise beef and pork. She only put a small bit everytime, even though I can still taste it and beg her not put it in next time, I really can’t carry the taste, it’s odd to me. unfortunately, the rest of the family love it so much. I love it too, not it’s flavour but it’s shape, it looks like a flower, I think it should be called daisy aniseed.
I’m inspired from many old paintings from China, normally they are hundreds years old, they are world treasures. Traditional Chinese paintings are well known by it’s figure painting and bird-and-flower painting. For example, Court ladies preparing newly woven silk, I copied part of it, and put rice in the container, imagine they are pounding on cooked rice and trying to make rice cakes, yum..
One of our Shako Club members brought in fresh sansho from her garden. Sansho, a herb in season in May, also goes by Zanthoxylum piperitum, the Japanese pepper spice. From a spiny shrub like tree, the tree produces a peppercorn but these leaves can be used as a garnish, ground up as spice, or into dashi stock. We were shown that the aromatic scent of the leaf can be activated with a clap between the palm of your hands.