Triangle Love–A New Monthly Post Series

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A friend recently said to me, “You never know when you are going to meet an angel, and you never know when you are going to be an angel to someone else.” Since moving to Durham, I have met more angels than I could have ever imagined, and each angel, has inspired me with their passions, and motivated me to follow my heart. While we never know how things may have turned out if we would have made different decisions, I am pretty confident that I would have never started Como Water, had I not moved to this land of socially-conscious, all things culinary-loving, justice-creating, local farm-supporting foodies. People in the Triangle love their food. They plan their Sunday brunches on Tuesday, and when you scratch their backs, they’ll support your establishment through and through. They take pride in their food. They fight oppression through their food. They fully and completely symbolize the spirit of Como Water—Eating is more than chewing and swallowing. You can taste when meals are prepared with love and gratitude, so prepare your meals with love and gratitude. Nourishment is not getting your daily suggested intake of fruits and vegetable; nourishment comes from the inside out, from your soul to intention to behavior and back again to the soul. And so, as an ode to the new home that has made me feel so fulfilled in so many ways, I have decided to feature a different community member and their food-related musings on the first of each month—starting today! I look forward to sharing with all of you some of the amazing people in the Triangle area who use food as a medium to shape lives. So, without further adieu…. Meet Franco!


On a random Friday, on a random autumn day, I noticed that lights were on in a new café on Main Street in Durham. Being the inquisitive (read, nosy) person I am, I decided to take a look inside. The chocolate and goldenrod walls were laced with graphic art similar to pieces I had seen at an art show a few weeks prior. I mentioned this to my waitress tour guide. She replied, “the artist is actually here, would you like to meet him?” My answer, “um, heck yeah!”

The artist was Franco. The art, in his own words, “an embodiment of freedom, justice, equality, peace, love and happiness; a positive change today for a better tomorrow.” The night, well, the night marked the beginning of an amazing friendship. Since that Friday, not only has Franco become my football-watching buddy and official brownies taste-tester, but he has also become one of my favorite visual artists. When he mentioned that he was working on a graphic art series inspired by Latino and Asian iconic food items, the fate of my first “Triangle-Love” post was sealed.

“It started with a can of Goya pigeon peas after I ran across a picture of Warhol’s soup can piece. The Goya products just made sense because of my Puerto Rican background. Since I enjoy many different cultures, I wanted to go beyond Hispanic food products and explore further.” Since that time, Franco has created seven iconic food pieces, which highlight Goya products such as Sazon and various pan-Asian products, including one of my favorite condiments—Sriracha.

Franco, who describes himself as a 38 year-young Texas-native (who has been in Durham for over 20 years), has been influenced by early hip hop since he received his first two cassette tapes—Run DMC’s King of Rock and Whodini’s Escape. The soul and passion that transcended that foundational movement is obvious in Franco’s art and undoubtedly shaped this recent work, “Music and visual art nourish the ears, the eyes, and the soul. Food nourishes the soul as well. It was only fitting that I would combine my love for hip hop and graffiti art with a series on food.”

In my not-so-humble opinion, this series is absolute genius. Not only is it visually appealing, but it sends positive, clear, albeit subtle messages. Food is culture, and thus food is art. Food is history that should be captured visually. “Ethnic” food (see my post in the very near future on why the term ‘ethnic food’ has become my latest pet peeve) is beautiful and shouldn’t be “othered;” it is for all of us to enjoy. Food unites, and yet makes us distinct.

Franco declares, “my work grabs the attention of old souls and young hearts. I hope my art has a positive impact on the community and sparks social and cultural awareness.” For those of you in the Triangle area, definitely check out the entire food series which will be up at Foster’s Market in Durham for a month, starting on Feb. 18th. For folks who are not in the Triangle area, you can see Franco’s art on his website at

Written by

Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DC’s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantra—love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!


  1. I had a friend that got me a can of pigeon pea’s to mix with plain rice, I have to say they were very tasty..thanks for reminding me of them will have to get some been too long!

    • My favorite way to have them is with yellow rice… I’ll post a recipe soooooooon 😀

  2. i love what you wrote at the beginning of the post: “You never know when you are going to meet an angel, and you never know when you are going to be an angel to someone else.”

    I’ve always been a pessimist, but I’m kind of coming around to believing that, and understanding the impact we all have on each other. it’s a good journey. Franco’s work looks really cool. I love it. Sriracha is like the most important condiment at my house!

    i’m hosting a giveaway on my blog, check it out if you have any interest.

  3. Great post, I really love the artwork. I love contrasting colors like that. We all need an angel and we all need inspiration!
    Hope you are having a wonderful week!

  4. I LOVE this artwork! Great post.

  5. love the writing, love the way you think about food. I feel the same, food is something to unites people, brings them together.

  6. I really love these pieces. It’s seems to be also about finding beauty in everyday things and highlighting it. Things you see every day & take for granted. Definitely going to check out his website thanks!!

  7. What fabulous pieces of art!!! Thanks so much for sharing your new friend with us!

  8. This was such a well written post. I love the artwork. Maybe it’s the foodie in me or maybe it’s the art lover, but I really like what Franco is doing.

  9. Hi Tiffany, I’ve given you a Stylish Blogger Award it’s at my blog if you want to pick it up. Thanks for your constant support & inspiration, I really appreciate it!

    • WOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Thanks Natalie!!!!!!!! Right back at cha’! Thanks so much for your comments and support!

  10. This artwork is so creative and unique! What a great find and I love what you said at the beginning of your post about meeting an angel or being someone else’s angel. Love it!

  11. Tiffany,

    It is so true about finding an angel, and being an angel to some one else. I think that it is sort of like the old adage, Do unto others, as they would do unto you, in reverse. We just need more people to be kind to each other, as “Ellen” would say. I’ll get off my soap box, now.

  12. Bravo, bravo!!! What an amazing article. I actually know Franco, yet I feel like I just met him for the first time. Not to mention; Am I the only one extremely hungry? Lol…I love NC because of the people too. (;

  13. What a great post! I was transported, and I loved seeing his artwork. I am so glad to hear that you living in such a supportive and creative community. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Ditto to Lauren. Such a great article and amazing art. I’m with I’m looking forward to reading more in this series .

  15. You have an award waiting for you:
    Mateja @Indulging Life

    • Thanks Mateja!!!!!! I am so honored!!!!! 😀

  16. Lovely post and fun colourful artwork. I also love your angel comment! Bravo.

  17. That is such a well-written post. It was such a fun and inspiring read 🙂

    Btw, I really like your blog. So, I am passing my stylish blogger award to you. You can check out the details here:

    • Thanks Abeer!!!! Happy Friday!

  18. I definitely know my fair share of angels as well! I love this new series and what a great person to start with Franco! The art looks very cool!

  19. Hi Tiffany,
    What a beautiful, well -written post, inspiring post! Loved the part about the angels.

  20. I love this idea for a new series of posts! Can’t wait to read more. And I love Franco’s work – the food series is exactly the type of work that catches me eye and makes me wish for more.

  21. Great new series! So much fun to read and I love Franco’s work too..

  22. What fun and lively art! We have a lot of local artists too that produce very inspired pieces, great idea to share them!

  23. I love Franco’s pieces! The colors are so vibrant and you’re so right about food = culture = art. Beautiful art and beautifully written post. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

  24. Tiffany, this is a lovely post. How lucky to live in such a wonderful place!
    I am looking forward to reading more!

  25. Love Franco’s artwork!

  26. Thanks for a great article. The graphic art was awesome. Where can I see more of Franko’s art besides his web site?

    • Susan, if you’re in the area, you can also see pieces at Beyu Cafe (Durham) and Amplified Art Gallery in (Raleigh). Also, he’ll have the entire food art series up at Foster’s Market in Durham (on 15-501) starting mid-Feb.! Hopefully you can check out his other work, it’s super cool.

  27. Great Post! So many fascinating souls in this town!

    Hi, i’m a lurker around here. I’m a Durham Local, and I was drawn to your blog of food diversity and love of the latino and multiculturosocial (is that a word?! wow!) essence. Being Cuban/Dominican myself, straddling the hispanic and american world, and loving nothing more than to feed people (in any way I can), i have really loved your multi-layered approach to food and what it is.

    Brava! I hope we cross paths one of these days!

    • Vera, it means so much to get such positive feedback from a local! Thanks for sharing and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog!!! 😀 And if you love food and culture, I am SURE our paths will cross soon! Happy Friday!!!

  28. This is a very nice collection. Send my praise to Franco!

  29. Thank you all for your positive feedback–both about the post and about Franco’s art work! I can’t wait to share the next Triangle Love post with you all!

  30. Franco’s work is amazing!

  31. Great post, and nice artwork 🙂

  32. I love this series, what a fun idea! Andy Warhol’s soup can is one of my favorites. I love what Franco has created, he is right, it is appealing to the eye! Thank you for sharing, Hugs, Terra