Nostalgia and the Comfort of Home

Nostalgia and the Comfort of Home

July 13th, 2017  |  Published in Media & Film

By Christina Tia

I grew up watching the food network and being my mother’s sous chef (not particularly by choice). I didn’t love cooking, but I sure loved to eat! When I had the opportunity to freestyle in the kitchen, my favorite dish to make was hamburger helper, since it was the gateway to American cuisine, which I didn’t get too often. After purchasing my first home, I realized that I loved to entertain and found reasons to host everything from pumpkin carving parties to seafood boils to all sorts of family gatherings. My house became a revolving door to anyone that loved to eat! I made everything from khao poon (curry noodles) to prime rib to hand cut pasta, always experimenting and actually enjoying it. But my real interests never strayed too far from Lao Food, because the ingredients, tastes and technique came so naturally from my upbringing.

I posted photos on Facebook and would immediately get flooded with questions from friends asking for recipes and instructions. I found myself responding to the same questions week after week, even to strangers that saw my photos through tags/sharing. When Googled Lao recipes, I couldn’t believe how limited the information was. I found ‘Cooking with Nana’ videos and became inspired to share what I felt was missing from the media world: an accessible and relatable resource for cooking Lao Food. What I appreciated most was the visual aspect. I learn better when I am watching others, so I filmed five popular dishes, thus ‘House of X Tia’ was born. I was married at the time and adopted my ex-husband’s last name, “Tia” and my friends nicknamed me “X” (shortened from Xtina). I wanted to incorporate all things that I loved into building my brand: food, fashion, fitness, travel, family & friends, all under one roof, hence the “House” reference.

Once my five videos were posted, I left it for a year. In 2014, I was ready for a change in my career. I was feeling unfulfilled in what I was doing 9-5, so I decided to leave my job and spend the rest of my summer committed to building my passion project. By the end of summer, my YouTube channel was reborn and thriving. I decided to spend the rest of the year focused on marketing myself. I invested everything I had into creating what I felt missing for so long, but this time it became a personal venture — a need to bring back the flavors of nostalgia and the comfort of home. This October will mark 4 years of doing this, with about 70 videos to date.

I was born in 1983 in Binghamton, New York and grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My mother is from southern Laos (Saphay, near Pakse) and my father is from northern Laos (Xam Neua). My mother’s last name is Phitsanoukanh and my father’s last name is Phiphak. I attended the Minnesota School of Business and worked in corporate finance for nine years. I have no special technical training other than being internet/social media-savvy from my days of being on Asian Avenue!

My video production started very basic and it hasn’t gotten much more complicated than that. I purchased a DSLR along with tripods and lighting, but find that my iPhone does just a good of a job and is more portable. During my journey I have connected with so many like-minded people, who have helped me learn and grow everyday. I will be in California for the rest of the summer learning new skills and meeting new people who can help bring my original vision of a whole home curation into fruition. I am attending YouTube Spaces in LA this month for classes and workshops.

The most challenging thing for me is not always being able to see the path in front of me because I don’t always know what I’m doing or where I am going next, but I have a lot of amazing people that surround me and support me, and a heart filled with love that carries me through. My goal is to travel the world meeting other Laotian creatives, in the restaurant/food industries and beyond. Social media has been a great tool to bridge generations and bring our community together, so I would love to spotlight that on my YouTube channel. Please contact me if you or someone you know would like to be featured. You can contact me at: houseofxtia@gmail.com

Here are some of my favorite videos:

Nam Khao: https://youtu.be/2r-HKPf0BBc

Yum Salad: https://youtu.be/Ss8a0D0JKlU

Khao Poon: https://youtu.be/flBVlIINkEY

Thom Kem: https://youtu.be/EXn9vWp1Miw


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