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….

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 . . . → Ramble More: The Unexpected

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 . . . → Ramble More: Eating Around: A Visual Food Tour of Phnom Penh

One Day Along the Coast

We drove west as far as we could, then turned south to Carmel. We parked the car, braced for the wind, and set our feet into the warm, white sand.

I took pictures of patterns on the beach,

lines and space,

. . . → Ramble More: One Day Along the Coast

In Transit

Making preserved lemons (more than a month ago) with fruits from the California yard that grew the tree from which these beauties came.

Folks -

Just a quick post to let you know we are in transit. It’s been a long haul, these past few months, . . . → Ramble More: In Transit

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 . . . → Ramble More: Insomnia, Nostalgia: Notes on Becoming a Food Writer

The Pineapple Lady

It’s amazing the space certain people occupy in our minds and memories. It’s remarkable how our thoughts can capture those same people so vividly, though we don’t even know their names or stories.

This is The Pineapple Lady at Phnom Penh’s Boeung Keng Kong Market, circa 1998. We bought a pineapple from her just . . . → Ramble More: The Pineapple Lady

Morning Coffee, Winter Dark

Cold kitchen, hot kettle, northern light.

I move with the light. December slows me down, and I feel like the distant sun: barely rising on these short, dim days before falling out of view again. I haven’t spent the 12th month so far north in such a long time. The alarm pries . . . → Ramble More: Morning Coffee, Winter Dark

Food of the Rio Grande Ancestors

We camped one night at Seminole Canyon State Park, a high and dry spot atop a deep gouge shaped by millennia of river runoff gushing across the land. We were the only campers that hot July night, when temperatures rose to 108 degrees by day and barely dipped with darkness. We took a breezy . . . → Ramble More: Food of the Rio Grande Ancestors

Bringing the Burmese to Montana

Singing, strumming and dancing at the Burmese farewell party.

It’s over, and now I can talk.

Perhaps you wondered where I went for the past few weeks. Perhaps I seemed a little aloof. I was—with good reason. Something amazing happened here in Missoula, Montana. Something historic. . . . → Ramble More: Bringing the Burmese to Montana

15 Tacos

One order of Texas sirloin tacos.

When we first moved to Cambodia in 1998, Jerry took a stroll through the neighborhood and came upon a vendor beside her hot, oily wok. She was selling fritters. He didn’t know exactly what they were or what they were called, but he was . . . → Ramble More: 15 Tacos