Still Not Home

Just because I am back in Texas doesn’t mean that I feel “at home.” (Yet.)

The moving around

In our short married life, we’ve been everywhere. Less than three months after getting married, we packed our bags to Chicago where I went to the French Pastry School. A few stages at Blackbird and TRU, and many, many meals at Avec later, we were headed to Napa where I was a part of the TKRG family and Justin the Ubuntu family for a good year and a half. Our little family has never stayed in one place very long. We only recently adopted our first pet, a tiny snail that we found while picking through carrot tops last week. His name is Mr. Snail.

What I’m trying to say is that from Chicago, to Napa, to Europe, and back down to Houston, we’ve always gone where the grass has seemed the greenest (not in a literal sense, Europe in the winter?) It’s been a long journey. I know that many cooks and chefs take a much longer paths than we have, but we’re tired of moving. Shoot, we haven’t even opened all our wedding gifts.

Texas, our Texas…
We get asked a lot why we want to be in Texas. The why is usually in a pretty sarcastic manner, since most people don’t regard Texas, let alone Houston to be as exciting as Austin, Chicago or Napa.  Austin has got the outdoors and hippie lifestyle I desire, but Houston’s got great ethnic food like no other city I’ve lived in.  And Napa doesn’t have any Asian food.  Being Chinese, we do have our cravings of rice, even if it’s just with a fried egg and some spicy condiment on the side.

Our goal isn’t to make millions and we have a pretty narrow range of ideas. We are unemployed, but probably the most busy unemployed people you have met. Justin has been pursuing hard to find a location for his restaurant and me, I’m along for the ride. Justin’s project is our first priority – a bakery is secondary. I know Houston needs good bread, real pastries and non-cupcaked sweets, but I’m satisfied with taking pottery classes for the moment and hanging out with lots of new friends.  We have looked almost everywhere west of downtown, inside the loop, south of memorial and north of the heart of rice/west u. Real estate and financing is a tricky thing, even with good resources.

Home is where I know I will be in a more longer-term setting. We want to settle down.  Temporary means living at home, and being married and living at home with the parents is not my form of ideal situation.  We have invested a lot of time nurturing relationships here in Houston.  Justin has cooked some fabulous meals for his family, friends and new friends.  The Belgium Beer dinner is where I started to really understand the vision that we’ve refined over the past few years. I almost killed Justin while prepping it, but I did finally understand what he was trying to get at with the food when we were all finished.

But who knows, we’re always keeping our options open. I know we have no problems with being the lowly cooks again. It’s just a matter of fate and timing. Who knows where “home” is yet. I just hope we find it soon.

And no we’re not in Toronto to look for jobs. Justin was just kidding. We’re here for some good food and dim sum (thanks, Haan) and to learn some of Grandma’s old Chinese cooking secrets.

About Karen Man

a student, teacher, sister, daughter, friend, baker, thrower of dinner parties, jumper at the opportunity to fail, made of unicorn breath and Danish summers, and lover of sunflowers.
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2 Responses to Still Not Home

  1. Ruthie J M says:

    “And no we’re not in Toronto to look for jobs. Justin was just kidding.”

    Thanks for the heart attack, Justin. Great post, Karen!

  2. Hannah says:

    so sweet. we’ll follow you wherever you go miss K!

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