With vacation over and the family back across the Atlantic, I began to make my way back to France. I wanted to dig deeper and really get a good grasp on charcuterie. Dominique Chapolard had agreed to take me on as an apprentice at his family’s organic pig farm and charcuterie production facility for a month. It was tough parting with my family.
There is nothing in Texas for you right now, my mother reminded me.
And she was right. Deep down, I think I was really just hankering for one of Lola’s breakfast tacos and a big, sweet iced-tea.
I rented a car in Toulouse with a standard transmission since automatics are twice as expensive to rent. In all my time in Austin selling cars, I never learned how to operate a vehicle with standard transmission. Now I had to learn while driving in France! Let's just say it took me 20 minutes to get out of the parking garage because I didn't know how to shift into reverse. Next, I stalled out at two traffic lights…
Well, you get the picture.
Somehow I made it back to the Kitchen-at-Camont, the culinary retreat and home of Kate Kill. I didn’t dare pull into her driveway because I was still overcome with fear of putting the Volkswagon Polo into reverse.
As usual, Kate had a full house – the two guests of note on this occasion were Camas Davis and Tim Clinch. Camas originally took a course with Kate back in 2009 then went back to the Northeast and started the Portland Meat Collective, a hands-on meat school and community dedicated to whole animal butchery and the slow food movement. Tim is a well-traveled British photographer who now resides in Bulgaria – He and Kate were in the middle of a week-long food photo shoot for their upcoming book Food Stories from Gascony.
Other new faces included Dylan Joyce-Ahearne, an Irish writer who has been remodeling Kate’s barge, and Catherine Manterola, Kate’s social media wiz, foodie, and fellow Texan.
And would you believe it, the menu that day was pulled-pork tacos on fresh, homemade tortillas by Catherine? My Tex-Mex craving was filled!
Later that day, I made my way to Nerac, where I would be staying for the next two months. After inspecting my new digs, I strolled out onto my private balcony and peered out at my incredible view. I realized this is exactly where I needed to be.
Mom was right. Texas can wait - I have the rest of my life to spend in the Lone Star State.