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.”

Read features about the book by The Straits Times, Wonderwall.sg, art4d, Singapore Noodles, and Atlas Obscura.

Research and Text by Sheere Ng | Photography by Don Wong | Design by Practice Theory

176 x 250 x 10 mm
128 pp, 300 g
French fold, OTA Bind
Soft cover with plastic sleeves
Published in November 2020
ISBN 978-981-14-8239-7

Singapore: Kinokuniya / ObjectifsTemporary Unit / Thing Books
Thailand: Bookshop Library / Books & Belonging 
South Korea: The Book Society
Japan: North East
Australia: Slow Burn Books
Spain: tabletimes
USA: Inga Bookshop / Kitchen Arts and Letters / Draw Down Books / Hennessey + Ingalls