About the Rambler

Welcome to my ramblings on dinner & drink, people & places, our planet’s health & the future of food. I’m a journalist, author and media trainer. My kitchen forever smells of garlic and curry. And much like my mother, I start thinking of dinner long before breakfast….

A Warm Red Curry for a Cool Autumn Night

At times, I feel a bit like I’m living in a glass house here at Chautauqua. If I keep my blinds open, tourists tromping up and down the street can peer inside and see precisely what I’m doing. On warm days, when I read on the screen porch, I can . . . → Ramble More: A Warm Red Curry for a Cool Autumn Night

The Neighborhood Chile Roaster

At night in Colorado, the temperature drops, the wind picks up, and the air smells fresh, like pine. It’s such a lovely scent—and yet, my nose tells me something is missing. This time of year, right now, everything back at home smells of roasted chile.

. . . → Ramble More: The Neighborhood Chile Roaster


A baby Naga chile—the world’s hottest—hangs from a plant in a Wisconsin garden on the edge of Pewaukee Lake.

And so the Boulder life begins. The week passed in a gust of activity—I’ve been packing, planning, meeting and “orientating.” Picking classes, touring the library. Setting up my new . . . → Ramble More: Growth

OMG! So Cute. Little Girls with Soup.

Several girls mix individual bowls of noodle soup at the Sam Neua morning market in Laos.

Greetings from the American Southwest. Jerry and I are home to a house that looks much the same. The herb garden grows again, the pomegranates bloom. And we fight the remnants of jet lag . . . → Ramble More: OMG! So Cute. Little Girls with Soup.

Now, About that Jaeow:

If you’ve read my previous post — a 9-day diary of Lao village food — you’ll fully understand the importance of chile in every Lao meal. And you’ll recognize that chile takes the form of jaeow, a paste that’s pounded with mortar and pestle.

One morning, I follow Huang and Louen, the . . . → Ramble More: Now, About that Jaeow:

A Rural Lao Food Diary

Breakfast, Day 5

Last month, we spent nine days in the field with Jim Harris’s team in rural Phongsali province. We camped at the local dispensary and showered with cold river water, which was piped uphill to the village. The team hired two young women to cook, clean and launder. . . . → Ramble More: A Rural Lao Food Diary

The Long Haul to Phongsali

Dinner in Udomxai: spicy tam maak hung (Lao papaya salad) with padek, and Lao khao soi (noodle soup with pork-tomato-chile sauce and lots of fresh herbs)

It took four days to travel overland from Chiang Mai to Sophoon, in the northern Lao province of Phongsali, where we camped in the . . . → Ramble More: The Long Haul to Phongsali

Happy New Year

Best wishes for a grand new decade! May the new year bring good health, happiness and a life steeped in richness. May you enjoy plenty of fulfilling dinners such as the one pictured above. Lately, we’ve had Hmong food on the brain (and on the tongue), and of course our research involves . . . → Ramble More: Happy New Year

Thanksgiving Nibbles

I’m getting a head start, but I fear I made these pecans a bit too early. They won’t last until Thursday. I do believe these are the liveliest pecans I’ve ever tasted, and I can’t keep them out of my mouth or my husband’s claws.

I came across the recipe for Candied . . . → Ramble More: Thanksgiving Nibbles

The Rosi Recipes #6: Balloons & Posole

We had a thoroughly New Mexican set of days last weekend. That perfectly pellucid sky. Those finger-nipping morning temps, which burn into bright sun-lit afternoons. Sandhill cranes chortling overhead. Enormous balloons. And posole.

Last weekend marked the tail end of the 2009 International Balloon Fiesta, and this year marked our first chance . . . → Ramble More: The Rosi Recipes #6: Balloons & Posole