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. […]

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 […]

What a Piti

I’m thinking of piti. I’ve been thinking of piti since the air went cold last week and the temperature slipped to single digits. That’s the sort of weather for piti. But that isn’t how I had my first taste of this sheep-and-chickpea stew. It’s a specialty of Sheki, in Azerbaijan’s mountainous north. It’s a rich […]

Bad Burger Syndrome

Never again. I will not eat a burger against my better judgment. This is not a condemnation of meat, or even burgers in general. It’s a red flag raised against our food system and its inherent dangers. Every year, 3,000 Americans die of foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized and 48 million get sick. I knew […]

Book Dates! And an Excerpt

A fisherman on the far eastern edge of East Timor. Read about his community in This Way More Better. Dates are very important. Every writer knows this. Every writer I know waits and worries, frets and fusses in a mixed-bag roller-coaster of celebrated anticipation of THE DATE on which her book is published. We want […]

The Unexpected

I’ve neglected this space. I started writing a blog post weeks ago, then everything changed. I had plans for many posts, but I put them on hold. I was in Bangkok, Jerry was in Laos. I was preparing for an inaugural trip to Azerbaijan, a surprise twist to our original itinerary, and a welcome expedition. […]

Eating Around: A Visual Food Tour of Phnom Penh

This, my friends, is the market where we used to shop for groceries when we first lived in Phnom Penh oh so many years ago. But I barely recognize the Boeung Keng Kong market today. I remember wooden stalls, mud puddles and mystery stenches. The vendors were generous, and I loved the magnificent arrays of […]

Funkytown

Would you like guacamole with your dim sum? Tortillas with your hotdogs? Apparently, this place has it all. We laughed when we spotted the shop while waiting for a red light. But it shouldn’t surprise us—everywhere we look in Albuquerque, we find funky things. We find little shops (like the Dhaka Bazaar) and eateries (like […]

Insomnia, Nostalgia: Notes on Becoming a Food Writer

A sleepless night recently led to reminiscing about becoming a food writer. That story is now in The Faster Times. It recalls my early proposal for an article on a Phnom Penh coffee shop. Gourmet eventually bought that story, but ran only a fraction of the piece as commissioned—all writers understand the constraints of space. […]