Christmas with Mama G: Parto Uno




We cooked the shit out of Christmas.

It was a group effort and our poor stomachs didn’t stand a chance. The assault was mighty and relentless and the tattered remains of our willpower lay in heaps next to cookie crumbs and empty plates.

This is the story chronicling the events of December 24th and 25th and will serve as a reminder of the deeds done by the people who sat at the table in Mama G’s house.

I should have known we were in for it when I walked into my parents’ house on Thursday night. We still were a little over a day out from Christmas Eve but nearly every corner of the kitchen was covered in groceries and cookies baked before our arrival.

I’d received a text asking if we “were hungry” on the drive up which is code for “Don’t eat because we’ll have food for you when you get here”.


We walked into an ambush. Balsamic braised short ribs over creamy polenta sat in waiting for us.

We didn’t stand a chance, I mean…look at it. Creamy polenta with fall off the bone short ribs, what’s not to like? Also, who makes braised short ribs on a Thursday?

Mama G, that’s who.


We fell asleep that night as visions of the next day’s meals danced in our heads. Friday, as it turned out, would find the kitchen burners quiet as we trekked out to Smoke Shack for dinner. Great BBQ in MKE with a pretty diverse menu, definitely high on my list of Midwestern BBQ places…so give it a shot if you’re in the area.

They say that Christmas Eve will find you, and it did. It found me drunk at 3pm after the Packer game and in desperate need of a nap. Which I took. so. freaking. hard.

I awoke to the sounds of pans clanking in the kitchen, I arrived just in time to help cook. And cook we did. In an effort to pay homage to the Feast of Seven fishes (an Italian tradition, as the name suggests, of eating seven different fishes) we ate fish…but only three different kinds…and roasted chicken…which is not a fish.

Our meal began with linguini and clam sauce.


This has long been a favorite dish of mine and is probably one of the easiest slash most delicious pasta dishes to make.  I will do a full blog post on this sometime soon.

This was quickly followed by a mushroom artichoke stuffed trout dish as well as a Mediterranean seafood stew.

I made the stew and my Sister In Law made the trout stuffing. The trout, as it turns out, was the better of the two dishes…at least in my mind and I am totally a big enough man to say that. (I am thankful that you can’t stain blog post with your tears)


Oh, also there was chicken…cause why not.

Rubbed in a herb butter and stuffed with lemons these bad boys made for great leftovers since we were all too full from the pictures above.






We ended the night with a chocolate mousse cake that was so rich Donald Trump wanted to give it a tax break. (BOOOOOOM)



That’s it for now. Reliving these memories is making me hungry again so I’m going to go finish what’s left of that linguini and pretend that it was a single serving.

Christmas Day’s food to follow.




Mess Hall

toddagarcia View All →

I’m an acting/improvising optimizing son of a gun.

I’ve been living and working and performing in Chicago since 2005. I love to eat, travel, talk and make people laugh. So for me this blog stuff is pretty neat.

I also like you. Whoever you are. I like you. For coming to my blog and sharing in my thoughts. I appreciate you. And I think you’re hot. So here’s to you, readers of my blog. Thanks for being awesome. Share and share a like!

Follow me on Twitter @toddawatomi and listen to my podcast with my besticle Ethan at!

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