Framing the Picture

We’ve been back in Southeast Asia for a month now, and I’ve been thinking a lot about framing—how we convey and interpret pieces of the world around us. A couple weeks ago, we visited the Cambodian coast. We hadn’t traveled to Sihanoukville in years, and we’d heard how much has changed. My first memories of […]

Last Suppers

The summer before my last semester of Journalism School (a long, long time ago), I had a fellowship at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla. My roommates and I lived in a sprawling apartment complex with a pool and hibiscus bushes in a tropical neighborhood surrounded by damp forests and dark lagoons. I kept […]

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. […]

‘Tis the Season for a Giveaway

“It begins in the wild, in the tangled rainforests of Central America, where leopards roam and parrots screech. The world is wet, the air is thick and the ground is mud. My boots sink into the sucking, slurping bog, and all around it’s green. Everywhere, everything: a chaotic maze of vegetation in every shade of […]

A Recipe for Roseburg Peace

The North Umpqua River near Roseburg Jerry and I lived for several years in Roseburg. He worked at the local paper, The News-Review, while I went to graduate school up the road in Eugene. It’s sickening to hear what happened yesterday. That is not the Roseburg I knew. Some of the best friends in life […]

Mouhot’s Cambodia: Tasting Notes

There are always stories behind stories. When we write an article for publication, there are characters we edit out, anecdotes we omit, details we cut for brevity or clarity. Much is left in the notebook for another day, another place… or never at all and nowhere to be seen. Only a smidgen of all we […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Olives & Everything.

It’s the little stuff, life’s petty displeasures—muddy floors, email glitches, lost time, lack of sleep, bikes with flat tires just when I want to ride—that ruffle me and make me that person I don’t want to be. The person who lacks perspective. But it’s also the little stuff that does just the opposite: makes me […]