Patricia Mercer-David

I think we can all agree that 2020 was a particularly challenging year. In the surreal period of lockdown, many of us found ourselves desperately reaching out for ways to feel comfort. For me, cooking, eating and learning more about foods from my culture became an important coping mechanism for the stresses of the year.

In the height of lockdown, I’d cherish each visit to the Asian offie or market – at times it was the highlight of my week. I found myself feeling immense comfort in how nostalgic they were. I have countless memories growing up in these places: from gathering ingredients for a dish passed down generations, to the Friday after school ritual getting drinks and snacks for the bus home.

Throughout the year, I’ve used food as a way of connecting more with my parents, asking questions about my culture and celebrating my heritage. Not being able to visit home at times has made me appreciate family more, especially the meals we had together growing up. There’s something about how my dad cooks okra and dal – it always tastes better. Maybe one day I’ll master it.

Words: Patricia Mercer-David, BA (Hons) Illustration, @tricia.mercer.david

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