While in college it’s an odd thing to return home once a semester. Although I currently live in New York I’m originally from Southern California; and every year I return to the land of sand and sun for a Christmas without snow. My return journey is at this point in my life a somber routine; an automated process that commences with the beginning of winter and the ending of schoolwork. I know exactly how to wrap up: finish finals, finish that last beer, pack my bags, and say goodbye to friends. Before I’m ready it’s time to leave. The shuttle to the airport from Hamilton to Syracuse takes about an hour and then I’m supposedly ready for a day of traveling, awkward musings on planes with strangers, and food, good and bad.
The prospect of food always makes the trip worthwhile. Although while at the Syracuse airport I might have a
crappy sandwich and a candy bar, followed by an undercooked over-sauced Chicago dog during my O’Hare layover, I always keep in mind that home cooked food is only a few hours away. And as my excitement lingers, my stomach growls.
After landing, I pick up the phone and give my old man a call. “Waiting near baggage claim,” he always says before I can even say hi. I rush out of the plane, winter jacket in hand (a necessary burden for my return trip), give him a hug, pick up my baggage, and begin discussing politics. The substance is never very important for five or six minutes into talking the conversation shift abruptly. An “are you hungry?” begins a new paradigm of chitchat. I normally deny the question at first, “No” Ill say, “I had something to eat at the airport.” But when I finally move past politeness, the next questions continue the dialogue “something at home?” “Or Mexican?” Now, it probably doesn’t take a genius to understand that where I live in central New York is not a bastion of fine Latin American cuisine. Rather the opposite in fact. No matter the outcome—either Marys on Michelson in Costa Mesa or a plate of Italian food at home—the journey, although expected, routine, and somewhat mundane, has been worth it. Good company and good food. Certainly, these are some of the better things in life.
Joey Petracca and COO and co-founder @ Recipe Into Reality