Filed in Arts & Culture, Food

The Dining Project: The Art of Nurturing

Lee Mingwei

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I grew up in Taiwan in the mid-seventies. Most of my free time was spent in the kitchen, not cooking, but serving as a (fat) guinea pig for the family chef. At that time, we knew a number of families who had their own chefs. Most of these families were Kuomintang elite, wealthy and influential through their association with the ruling party, who had fled China with the Nationalists in the late forties and who had been residing in Taiwan comfortably, if not luxuriously, ever since. The families we knew traded chefs periodically in order to enjoy a change of cuisine. Whenever a new chef would arrive in our home, he would always bring two things: a fine lacquer box containing his well-cared-for and well-used cooking implements, and a collection of his own secret sauces.

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