January 12, 2021

The food your grandmother made

A project made in tribute to my mom and grandmother. I created a way for future generations in my family to access their Chinese heritage through food.


Problem being solved: For a very long time, I’ve had a fear of losing my culture. It’s an inevitable trend I see among my peers. I live in Toronto, it’s filled with many, many pockets of different cultures. People from all over the world come here. When people settle and start a family, their children will become distant with their heritage due to the environment they live in. An obvious case of this is language and customs. I struggle to speak Mandarin formally. I can carry out a casual conversation, but that’s about it. I can read and write some Chinese, if I went on Chinese social media, I would be able to understand about 40%-50% of it. I am afraid of my culture disappearing over the next couple of generations in my family. I think if certain customs are forgotten, it would be such a shame. This project aims at preserving an aspect of my family through food.

I believe food is the most accessible aspect of any culture. It’s something anyone can easily enjoy eating and making. Food allows us to share an experience our ancestors have enjoyed. One day when I am no longer alive, I hope this project can give future generations in my family a way to learn about us. Maybe they will better understand themselves in this process. Maybe they will find comfort and love in the food their grandmother makes.

Target audience: Future generations in my family.

Key objective: Telling stories of our family living in Canada through food.

Featured in: This project was featured in Visualising Data’s podcast Explore Explain. Listen to it here.

See the project


If you want to know about my creative process, I wrote a detailed blog post on how I made this project.

See the process

The project spanned about 10 months. Here’s a snapshot from the blog post:

User research I conducted on recipe pet peeves people listed on Reddit. I used this info to optimize user experience with recipes.

Early sketches of layouts.

Early sketches of visualizations.

Experimenting with the type of colours to use.

Prototyping recipe cards.

Prototyping recipe sheets.

It's really hard to print on vellum. I printed on vellum on my home printer, I was successful 25% of the time.

See the process