Billy Yates

Billy Yates is a Bavarian-born, Filipino American writer living in Los Angeles. 


I mimic my mom: the rising act, the coming climax of the show. Rice first, adobo next and a saucer of broth to turn every speck of white rice a caramel brown.

Adobo simmers on the stove. The smell engulfs a lonely apartment. A simple dish: soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaf and whatever cut of chicken is on sale. On a Wednesday evening it is my contribution to a block teeming with the immigrant alchemy. Cookouts and cook-ins, dinner for one or 10. Aromas of the world mingle on a stroll off Vermont Avenue, migrant mecca, immigration-nation. Since I left home, I’ve become a fan of the one-pot dish. With each attempt I work to refine the art, the Sisyphean practice of recreating my mom’s masterpiece knowing full well I’ll never succeed.