#GivingTuesday – A Few Suggestions

People want to help. Always. This is the message we get every time we return from a trip overseas: people sincerely care, they want to help, they want to make a difference, but they don’t know where to begin. Today, on the international day of giving, we’d like to offer a few friendly suggestions based […]

Time to Harvest — Part 3: Simple Tomato Sauce

Welcome! If you’re just coming aboard now, I’ve been doing a three-part series on end-of-summer harvest recipes. This is the third installment, and perhaps the easiest. But it’s my annual staple. It’s the one item I aim to make every late summer because, come January, nothing rivals the summery freshness locked into a simple garden […]

Time to Harvest – Part 1: Ratatouille

Time—it’s fleeing! And I can’t catch it. That’s the way I feel lately. And I’ve been thinking a lot about this, about the way time expands and contracts depending on who we are, where we are and what we’re doing. Our perceptions of time depend on all the factors that define us as individuals. (There’s […]

When Slow Food Isn’t Simple: A Borneo Story

The first time we traveled to Bario, there were no roads in or out. We flew into this remote little outpost in the Kelabit Highlands of Malaysian Borneo. The only other option at that time (2006) was a terribly long trek (weeks) through the mountains over difficult, possibly dangerous terrain. Things change. There is a […]

Farming with Trees in Belize

This is Eladio Pop, shielding his head from the rain on his farm in southern Belize. His farm? This looks more like a forest, right? It is. It is both. It’s a few dozen acres of dense and diverse tropical growth in the hills along the San Pedro Columbia River, where the early Maya made […]

An International Women’s Day Tribute to Farmers

This is Peace. She lives in a packed-earth home in Kashunika Village, Nyagatare District, in the far northeastern corner of Rwanda*…. … and these are some of Peace’s bananas. They’re important. These bananas have given her new hope. A while back, Peace was ill with a condition that cost her both time and money. She […]

Freezing Lemongrass for the Winter

We’re leaving. Got a 6 a.m. plane to catch. But unlike so many times before, this time we are taking a vacation—true vacation, no work, 7 days, Hawaii. Bliss. It’s been a painfully long time since we have booked time away with no obligations (that’s the trouble with a career that centers on travel… every […]

Garden Herb Vinegar

In the past seven years, I’ve watched a patch of hard earth turn to rich, fertile soil. It started with just a few plants—parsley, sage, oregano and rosemary. Mint and Egyptian walking onions, too. The rosemary grew, then died. I replaced it. I replaced it again. I added thyme and basil (each year), then a […]

New Dish!

Chile in bowl, Phnom Penh Things are looking different around here. If you’re new to Rambling Spoon, welcome! If you’re a repeat visitor, you’ll notice the shift in design. Perhaps you’ve also noticed the recent lack of activity here. That will change, starting now. Greetings from a revamped Rambling Spoon. The new design should make […]

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 […]