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Fraternity's Chef Treats Brothers Like His Family

Lindsay "Puddin'" Faucette often cooks for Sigma Alpha Epsilon members in his personal kitchen or at his famous cookouts.

But Faucette does more than just cook -- he bridges the generation gap between current members and alumni. The men might not know each other, but they all know "Puddin'," the nickname Faucette earned as a boy growing up in Orange County.

Faucette treats the students like they are his own kids. "We're real tight," he said.

Faucette cooks lunch and dinner for the fraternity on weekdays and said the students are easy to please. "I cook catfish, cornbread and fried chicken. They're thrilled over chicken."

He also prepares a special feast for home football games -- a pig, which he brings back to the house alive and then barbecues. For noon games, Faucette begins preparations at 2 a.m.

"I never miss cooking a pig on a football gameday," he said.

Fraternity Treasurer Marc White said, "Nobody would ever make the claim that it's healthy food, but it's good food. I don't know of any better barbecue, anywhere."

Before he was cooking his famous barbecue for brothers and alumni, Faucette cleaned and worked in the kitchen. Fifteen years ago, the kitchen of Sigma Alpha Epsilon was in the basement, and Faucette wore rubber boots as he cooked when it rained. But he and the kitchen moved upstairs when the house was remodeled.

Faucette also cooks for the fraternity brothers at his own home. During the summer, he hosts a cookout nearly every Saturday night, White said.

But good times involve more than just good food.

Faucette recalled with a laugh one of his favorite memories of life at the fraternity house. When no one was awake by 8:30 a.m. one day, Faucette pulled the fire alarm.

"They wouldn't get up, and I wondered if they'd ever get up if there was a fire, so I pulled a little gag on them," he said. "The firetrucks came and there they were, standing outside in their boxer drawers."

Sharing a close relationship of good cooking, laughter and jokes, the brothers and Faucette are as close as a family.

His two adopted children, ages 8 and 12, blend well with the family he has found at the fraternity house, and they often come by to play.

Not only does Faucette take care of the house members, but they take care of him.

When Faucette's wife, Patricia, had a stroke last spring and lost movement in her right arm along with the ability to speak, the men raised more than $2,300 to help with the hospital bills. Patricia is now in therapy and is showing great improvement.

The fraternity also gave Faucette a party on Nov. 17 to celebrate his 55th birthday, and Faucette said he couldn't have asked for anything better.

The members and alumni pitched in to buy him a gift -- prescription glasses for his failing eyesight. They also presented him with a cake decorated with the words "Miller High Life," the only brand of beer he will drink.

Guests at the party included Faucette's close friends and the fraternity members.

"Everyone knows him, and everyone keeps up with him," White said. "When he cooks outside, not five minutes go by without someone yelling his name from a passing car."

Over three decades, Faucette has left a deep impression on the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house. Although family members are lined up to take over his job, fraternity members say he will never truly be replaced. White, who will graduate in several weeks, said he, like many house alumni, will keep in touch with the man fondly known as "Puddin'."

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