KAMAYAN - A True Way of Eating

for Creative Time Summit X Dinner Sessions
at 41 Gallery Cooper Union


The truth to eating food for Filipinos is embedded in eating with one’s hands. This customary practice was replaced with silverware and deemed as improper during the period of colonial occupation by Spain. This dinner foregoes utensils. Beginning with a ritual of handwashing, guests are welcome to seat themselves around a communal table. Upon feasting, they will be taught how to eat Kamayan, with hands. This technique utilizes the right-hand to take morsels of food and the thumb to push that food into the mouth.

Bob Barker: “Is it true that you Filipinos use your hands to eat?”
Gloria Diaz (Miss Philippines): “Why? Do you use your feet?”
(Q&A portion of Miss Universe pageant, 1969)

Kamayan - A True Way of Eating, is a feast that not only celebrates Filipino cuisine and culture, but an experience to weave stories about personal narratives, political histories and popular culture. “Eating is not just ingestion. Eating is the occasion for the rites and rituals of our lives. Eating is praxis in social amenities. Eating is language that speaks of the nuances of what we are. Eating is making alive the various and variegated conjugations of our lives.” (Eddy Alegre in Sarap: Essays on Philippine Food, 1988)

This dinner session was catered by a beloved, Filipino homestyle restaurant in Woodside, Queens NY - Tito Rad’s Grill.

Image Credit: Photography by Madison Voelkel, courtesy of Creative Time