A dear friend asked me in an email last night, "Is this a full time thing or just a super cool side gig???"
My response, "I’m not sure what this is - I’m trying not to look too far into the future right now. I’m trying to have some fun and do something that I enjoy and that I think can help people. I’m not really emotionally or spiritually equipped to think about anything beyond that before I fall down the rabbit hole…"
So why did I start this thing? A few generic answers - I've been wanting to do a dumpling concept for a while (I actually was two days too late putting an offer for the current Halu space on 8th and Clement). The current situation at my tech gig is fluid. I want to do something meaningful to me. Where I feel like I can make a difference. Where I can give back to my community.
But it also touches on my personal narrative. Like the typical immigrant story, my parents worked way too much and my sister and I didn't get to see them too much. We fended for ourselves when it came to food - there would be frozen steaks, TV Dinners, Hamburger Helper, Top Ramen, or leftovers from the huge weekly Sunday night family feast. But the one thing I always loved was when there was a bag of frozen homemade dumplings in the freezer.
Those dumplings brought me comfort. Knowing that they were in the freezer when I was tired, hungry, lazy, lonely. Knowing that my dad would spend all Sunday morning kneading dough and hand cutting, forming and rolling each individual dumpling skin. Knowing that he would then painstakingly wrap each individual dumpling, hundreds and hundreds for my sister and me to eat throughout the week. Sitting through a random class at school, weary, tired, and hungry, looking forward to dinner that night - a plate of fresh steaming mound of dumplings that I would relish piece by piece. These are my memories of dumplings.
These have been a difficult few months. I, like many, have cut back on expenses. No more bar crawls with my wife Marlin. No more random late night snacks in the neighborhood. No more random bottle of wine on Wednesday night (!). And like everyone else, I found myself in the kitchen more. And I found comfort there. I found comfort in making food that my family enjoys. I found comfort and strength in learning dishes we typically ordered in restaurants. I found comfort in having my son excited that we would eat meals together as a family. I found comfort in revisiting favorite dishes, like dumplings.
So this is my circuitous, roundabout way of describing why I'm starting this project. Do I have any goals for this? Not really. Do I know what it will look like in six months? No. Do I know what I want it to look like in six months? Not at all. All that I know is that this feels right. I'm happy. I'm comforted. I'm at peace. I'm excited. I'm especially excited to share my dumplings, and all of my personal experiences that are in those dumplings, with you. Hopefully you find the same joy, community, and comfort in those dumplings as well.