Dinner by Chance

So it happens like this: you’re wandering the street in a country you just entered in a town where you’ve just arrived, marveling at how this place has grown in the years since you’ve last seen it. You barely recognize a thing. You come to a corner café, and you see the hair, familiar hair. […]

New Mexican Posole with Red Chile: Holiday Fare for Good Luck

Here in New Mexico, posole is the centerpiece of many holiday meals. This hearty hominy stew is ubiquitous on Christmas and New Year’s, shared with family and friends, eaten for good luck in the upcoming year. Key to the dish are large dried corn kernels, simmered for hours until they pop and split, imparting rich […]

Cooking Lao Food for 40

Fresh, hot chiles THIS is why I love food, communal food: it has the power to turn a gathering of strangers into a collective event. It makes the foreign experience feel less so. It happens every time we travel to Laos, when villagers bring us to their kitchen fires or hand us glasses of Beerlao […]

A Celebration of Lao Food & Farming

  Farming in Laos Khao niaw, sticky rice. It’s the lifeblood of lowland Laos. The Lao phrase “to eat” specifically implies eating glutinous rice. To some, sticky rice is an integral part of national and ethnic identity. Many Laotian meals are designed around glutinous rice, which is taken with the right hand and formed into […]

Hot Naga Chile-Chocolate Sauce, Oh My

Hello readers, I’m here! (Some of you have asked.) I haven’t abandoned you, or this site, or my commitment to food. But the year so far has kicked me in the pants with deadlines, book promotions, travel prep and plans for a little shake-up here at Rambling Spoon. The next time you come around, we […]

Happy Holidays, With Chile Jam

Above, a view from Christmas past: Wisconsin 2012. From all reports, something similar is happening there this year. Meanwhile, we’re at home in New Mexico now, beneath bright blue skies with a bit of snow on the mountains and luminarias to light the streets at night. Wherever in the world you are, may the season […]

Lessons & Recipes from a Holiday Kitchen

This year, we decided to spend Thanksgiving at home, alone. Just the two of us. We don’t hate our families, we’re not anti-social. We’ve just had months and months of travels hither and yon, with multiple visits to relatives east and west, and more planned for Christmas. We were tired. Still are. But we had […]

Introducing: A Farm, a Website, a Recipe for Grilled Padróns

  ACKKK! Confession: every time I look at this site lately, I’m socked with guilt. Guilt, because I see the expansive gaps between my posts. Guilt, because I miss my time with food and words, words and food. We’ve been busy. We’ve had a gazillion things going on in life – as everyone does – […]

Lao Jaeow Night (with Deviations)

Maybe you’ve had a night like this: You head to a friend’s with plans to cook. You bring recipes and garlic, chiles and limes, an ungodly heavy mortar and pestle—all stuffed into a pack. And when you walk through her door, you begin to unwind. Wine is poured and music played. Cheese and olives are […]

Ancient Chocolate

Aztec Warrior Chocolate, Kakawa Chocolate House, Santa Fe It’s amazing what the palate can forget. The Aztecs and Mayans drank their chocolate rich and frothy; mixed with chile, flowers and achiote to give it a distinct red hue. It resembled nothing of the solid uniform rectangles sold today. Mesoamerican cacao was an elixir, a status […]