Beyond Terror

Happy Thanksgiving week. As some of you know, we recently returned to the US after a month of reporting in Timor-Leste, followed by a week of working in Singapore. A few nights ago, I awoke sleepless and jetlagged 3 a.m. I grabbed a pen and notebook, went to the living room and started writing about […]

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 […]

Big Tamale on Market Day, Belize

We spent the weeks before the holidays in the far southern tip of Belize. The little town of Punta Gorda sits on the water, and every day travelers and migrants arrive by boat from Honduras and Guatemala. PG, as it is called, is the capital of the country’s wettest region, known as Toledo. It’s also […]

Happy Anniversary, King Sihamoni

This week, the Cambodian people celebrate King Sihamoni’s 10th year on the throne. Ten years! I can’t believe so much time has passed. Here, I share a story I wrote (included in This Way More Better) about Sihamoni’s coronation. It’s not really about food. It’s about the character of a country.  ***** It’s the tail […]

Back Story: Chicken

Shortly before we left for Asia in spring, I got a call from Denise Landis, founding editor of The Cook’s Cook. She asked me to write a story—on anything I wanted, any length, any style, but reflecting my food experiences. A story written with an anthropological eye (as we both share a background in anthropology). […]

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 […]

Hungry Farmers Are Losing Land

Meet Chhek Sambo. She lives in a village not too far from Siem Reap, a burgeoning town of tourists who flock to the ancient Angkor temples. It’s a hip place to be, routinely noted as such on lists of the world’s top tourist cities. You can get a $2 hour-long foot massage, drink $2 happy […]

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 […]

What is Rain?

A woman gazes through a window at the Bario Asal Longhouse as rain pummels the area. I started this post a few days ago, before this and this and this. Before nature smacked Colorado with a torrent of “biblical” proportions, a storm of the century, possibly the millennium. Here in New Mexico, too, we are […]

The Edible Jungle

There is a place in the hills where domestic meets wild, where humans meet jungle. Where the fertile valleys between forested mountains shelter villagers who plant fruit trees and rice and kitchen gardens across the acres they tame. But the wild – the jungle – also harbors a biodiversity that has long supplied the people’s […]