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The yams from this Oakland barbecue spot will give you ‘Ratatouille’ flashbacks

Candied yams at Everett & Jones Barbecue in Oakland are pictured on Monday, Dec.13, 2022. | Olivia Cruz Mayeda/The Standard

Moving back in with your parents after college is supposed to be a bad thing, like with Will Ferrell in Step Brothers

But for Asian American families and Gen Zers like me who’ve entered a pandemic job market, it’s kind of the move. Even my sister, her husband and their dog are at home with us—and I’m loving it.

Living at home means I can borrow my sister’s boots for work and browse my old collection of Rick Riordan novels, but it also means I can go to Everett & Jones Barbecue with my family again.

Grace Cruz Mayeda and Kevin Mayeda enjoying pork ribs, candied yams, collard greens and corn bread at Everett & Jones Barbecue in Oakland on Monday, Dec. 13, 2022. | Olivia Cruz Mayeda/The Standard

I had a Ratatouille flashback moment on Monday night when I was smearing my face with sauce at the Oakland barbecue spot. (Queue Pixar whooshing sound and a close-up of me sniffling over my plate of ribs after straight losses at an elementary school chess tournament.)

Everett & Jones is a Mayeda family tradition, and a date night spot for my parents since before I was born. But it’s first and foremost an Oakland institution with deep roots in Bay Area barbecue

Dorothy Everett and her eight daughters, her son and a son-in-law opened the barbecue restaurant in 1973, and their family has been serving candied yams and collard greens to the likes of Snoop Dogg, Patti LaBelle and Barack Obama ever since.

The colorful but no-frills interior of Everett & Jones’ Jack London Square location—one of three—is a core memory for me, like a glowing Inside Out orb

The interior of Everett & Jones Barbecue in Oakland is pictured on Monday, Dec. 13, 2022. | Olivia Cruz Mayeda/The Standard

On my birthday and when I’d visit home from college, I’d ask my parents if we could get ribs, cornbread and lemonade at Everett & Jones. But no meal there was complete without their candied yams, an unctuous dessert parading as a side that soothed blues at every stage of my life from the end of my high school relationship to my is-insurance-going-to-pay-for-that anxiety.

Sure, living at home is messy, and it makes you feel like a kid. But then again, it makes you feel like a kid. I loved being a kid: being gifted plates of cut-up persimmon by my dad and learning how to slurp marrow out a pork bone from my mom.

The Bay Area has changed a whole lot since then, but I hope the candied yams at Everett & Jones never do.

Everett & Jones