Fat Daddy

“You hungry, mijo?”

My grandma asked me this even though I was late for breakfast and she had already finished cooking.

“I’m good, Grandma.”

“You sure? I can make you some migas.”

“No, not if you’re done cooking.”

“Sit down. I’m going to cook for you.”

My trip to Florida last month for my Aunt Lucy’s wedding reaffirmed what I remember noticing a long time ago about the bonding effect food can have on a family. My grandma’s eagerness to cook for me and for others was evident not only when she insisted on making me breakfast, but also in the manner in which she did so — with ease. As if it was nothing. And, in a way, it was nothing. She’s prepared a thousand meals before, so what’s another breakfast plate? Tearing up tortillas, she smiled and laughed, listening to the conversation at the breakfast table. There wasn’t anything particularly special about her making our breakfast. It’s only natural, right? We have to eat, therefore someone has to cook. But there is something special about knowing food is being prepared and gathering with your family to eat and to talk, to smell and to taste what’s been so graciously prepared for you.

For me, however, grandma’s breakfast was a special occasion, living twelve hours away and coming from a different dining tradition. When talking to friends about our food traditions growing up, we had almost unanimously similar experiences: You made your own food, and even if you don’t, you ate wherever you wanted. At the table, maybe. In front of the TV, probably. This summer, however, my roommate Ryan, our friend Margaret, and I decided to be more intentional about our own food culture. It’s so easy to get caught up in the stresses of day-to-day and lose that ritual of food in the midst of our I-Have-To-Eat-Real-Quick-Before-fill in the blank habits. So the three of us picked Tuesday and affectionately renamed it Fat Daddy night! We come together to share a meal with each other and our guests. This week our friends Kelsey and Lauren joined us. Tuesdays, er, Fat Daddies are becoming a welcome break from the sometimes-hectic fluidity of our schedules. A hopefully family-like, bonding experience. A time to engage in conversation as well as our senses. We talk and laugh and taste things as we prepare our meals, and come together with our dinner guests to eat what we’ve made. We talk while we eat, eat until we’re full, and linger after we’re done until our stomachs have settled.


Food, Photo, Travel

Last Stop ► Oxford, MS

Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County was a sort of halfway point for some friends and I who met up to celebrate our friend Rebekah Clayton’s birthday a couple of weekends ago. Rebekah’s sister Meredith is a student at Ole Miss, so she and some fellow Rebels graciously hosted us and showed us around town. I almost immediately fell in love with this place, and it couldn’t have been at a better time — Oxford’s 175th birthday weekend.

Our guides took us to the historic Oxford Square. Not only is it architecturally reminiscent of hometown shopping around the courthouse, it is actually occupied by quality local businesses. From independent book seller Square Books (located in 3 different buildings on The Square) to local restaurants and bars, this place feels like the South. Furthermore, Oxford is fortunate to have chef John Currence in its residence. Currence’s New Orleans background comes out on the menus of the four restaurants his City Grocery Restaurant Group oversees. Bouré and Big Bad Breakfast were two of our food destinations and I couldn’t have been happier. I had the Bouré burger for my Saturday lunch — maybe the best burger I’ve had yet — with fried pickles, tomato, lettuce, blue cheese, and beef from White Oak Pastures, a Georgia farm dedicated to animal welfare and environmental sustainability. We also explored Ole Miss, of course, and William Faulkner’s residence. Both are beautiful, and the historical value of the university’s Lyceum and Faulkner’s home also make these great places to visit if you like a little bit of history and literature.

Oxford definitely reaffirmed my love for travel. Although it’s not a far off place from Jackson, TN, I had considered forgoing the trip after racking up 50 hours of road time in June, but I’m glad I didn’t make that mistake. Not only was Oxford a great end to my month of road trips, but it helped me realized how much I like the road and how nice it is to have that feeling of being in motion and of going somewhere different than where you came from.


Photo, Travel

Eat, Drink, & Be Married

Recently my dad and I went to Florida to attend my Aunt Lucy’s wedding. It was a special trip for me, not only because I saw Lucy and her husband Miguel get married, but because distance makes it difficult to visit my dad’s side of the family as much as we’d like to. The Garcias & Co. are a wonderful bunch, and I think the wedding itself was a testament to that. Not only did family members contribute their different talents, but everyone’s good spirits remained intact when rains from Tropical Storm Debby arrived at the outdoor ceremony and reception, and the celebration continued without pause for Lucy and Miguel.

It was a trip I will remember fondly, and I will keep my memories close — whether I’m thinking of the wedding, of seeing my grandma make tortillas from scratch before breakfast, or getting to know relatives better and listening to family legends about my grandpa’s friendships with Pancho Villa and John Dillinger — until I make it back to see my family again.

The day after the wedding a few of us went to Rock Springs in Apopka with Lucy and Miguel. Here are some images from that day.

Congratulations, Lucy & Miguel!