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….

New Year Peace in a Pot of Peas

Happy New Year, everyone. I wish peace, health and happiness for all in a brand spanking new 2011. I don’t know about you, but 2010 was one heck of a mixed bag for us. Highs and lows that peaked and plummeted all year long. I’ve written a wrap-up for The . . . → Ramble More: New Year Peace in a Pot of Peas

Food Photography: Notes from the Kitchen Studio

A number of readers have commented on the photography here, sometimes with questions about lighting and technique. So we have today a guest post by the photographer himself, my dear husband, Jerry Redfern. As some of you might know, Jerry is a photojournalist with nearly 20 years of experience in an evolving . . . → Ramble More: Food Photography: Notes from the Kitchen Studio

Season of Thanks & Giving

Shu feeds her daughter, Ngoc Chau, at a dinner with her Hmong co-workers and trainees in Sapa, northern Vietnam.

I’m breaking all the rules this week. It’s Thanksgiving, this is a food blog, and I’m not posting a single holiday recipe. Gasp! I know. But the truth is, I’m thinking . . . → Ramble More: Season of Thanks & Giving

From Chez Panisse to Thailand—and Back

Kyle Cornforth, Thai corn

Now in The Faster Times: Kyle Cornforth tells all about her year away from Berkeley’s Edible Schoolyard, her forays into Thai farming and cooking, and her deep worries about the future of Thai food. Read the story.

. . . → Ramble More: From Chez Panisse to Thailand—and Back

Banning the Cluster Bomb

A farmer in Sepon, Laos, stands in his field, which he cleared of ordnance by himself. He said he found many munitions. The small banana behind him grows in a bomb crater.

An international treaty banning the cluster bomb takes effect today. Cluster bombs are large weapons that . . . → Ramble More: Banning the Cluster Bomb

Woman With Meat (And Other Notes From the Road)

Ya carries her basket of beef along the road between Ban Lung and Ou Chum in Cambodia’s Ratanakkiri province.

As some of you know, I’m at work finishing a collection of travel essays to be published next year. In the past few months, I’ve wandered aimlessly (and pointedly) . . . → Ramble More: Woman With Meat (And Other Notes From the Road)

This Garden Is the Bomb

A villager named Haum waters her onions, growing in an American cluster bomb casing in Kunpho, Laos.

Laotians everywhere have turned war scrap into useful tools. The large metal casings from cluster munitions can sell for upwards of $40—a near fortune to many rural villagers. But some gardeners . . . → Ramble More: This Garden Is the Bomb

PIG STORIES: The Last Squeal

WARNING: Some readers might find the following photos offensive. This is the third in a three-part series on the lives and deaths of Asian pigs. Read about a Cambodian pig slaughter in The Faster Times. In much of Asia, butchery is a mundane duty, and the average villager knows precisely . . . → Ramble More: PIG STORIES: The Last Squeal

PIG STORIES: The Spiritual Pork

A few weeks ago, Jerry and I had the remarkable opportunity to witness an animist ceremony honoring the forest gods in a northern Lao village. Read the story in The Faster Times, and take a photographic scroll through that afternoon here. The villagers sacrificed a pig, offered bits of it . . . → Ramble More: PIG STORIES: The Spiritual Pork

PIG STORIES: Free-Range Porkers in a Little Lao Village

A pig wanders freely through Sophoon, Laos.

What do Lao villagers think about free-range vs. industrial farming? Find out in The Faster Times. This is the first in a three-part series on the lives and deaths of Asian pigs.

I wanted to add a P.S. here. . . . → Ramble More: PIG STORIES: Free-Range Porkers in a Little Lao Village