Growing up, "belonging" meant a kaleidoscope of conflicting identities. I was caught in a constant tug-of-war of "which box do I fit in?" Am I black? Or am I Mexican? It always felt like I was searching for that elusive place where I fit perfectly, where I was at home in the world and in myself.
I started researching my genealogy in 2020 in order to find myself and where I fit in the world. In 2021, my husband gifted me a DNA test from Ancestry. The results surprised me. They showed that my heritage is more intricate than "either/or." It is a rich combination of cultures and histories.
Taking up genealogy made my heart swell with pride. I feel so connected to my family, to Texas, to Austin, and to the countries I am rooted to genetically. It's exciting to find a relative in some old newspaper or see a photo of our ancestors from long ago.
"A Taste of Ancestry" is a celebration of my "belonging" through a culinary spectacle featuring dishes from the countries to which I have the highest genetic connection: Mexico, Spain, and Nigeria. This project is a smorgasbord of colors, a global atlas of textures, and a buffet of spices. Together, we explore a feast that transcends time and geography.
My hope is that the exploration I have undertaken with this project inspires others to look into their own family trees and embark on what could be the greatest journey of self-discovery.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Mica McCook
FOOD STYLIST: Olivia Caminiti
ASSISTANT FOOD STYLIST: Hannah Casparian
PROP STYLIST: Audrey Davis
TALENT: Maryjane Castro, John R. McCook, Alicia McCook-Torres,
Raul Torres Jr., Aubriella Torres, Nora Torres
Aaron Clift (Husband and Dog Wrangler)
Ana Sousa (Food Runner)
Charlotte Bonavida (Donated produce from her vegetable garden)
Amy Clift (Mother-in-law for donated props used)
My name is Mica (pronounced me-kuh) McCook, and I'm a food photographer based in Austin, Texas. I create timeless theatrical art marinated in lavish colors and deep, simmering shadows. Every shot is a grand, meticulously composed culinary performance.
I bring a unique flair that can be described as a telenovela: dramatic, excessive, and over-the-top. In short, I wrap drama in a burrito, douse it in hot sauce, and photograph it.
You can find me dining out at a favorite restaurant with my husband, Aaron. Or taking our two dogs, Moxy and Charlie, on a walk around Zilker Park. When not creating or photographing food, I delve into my Texan roots through genealogy, escape into a good book, or go antique shopping.
217 Centre Street, Floor 7
New York, NY 10013
East Coast: 212.279.2252
West Coast: 310.341.3132
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