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 Directions

We pulled into the driveway for the first time in five months, and we found a yard dressed in full regalia—budding pomegranates, blooming sage, plump cacti with new paddles spreading in every direction. And most notably: dozens of fuzzy little peaches on a tree we had planted three summers ago. These are . . . → Ramble More: New Directions

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

Pepper of the Earth, Salt of the Sea

Boating through Kampot

Happy Earth Day. In honor of the occasion, I’m taking you back to Cambodia, to a place I won’t see this trip, though I’ve thought of it often. It’s a place where salt and pepper meet on the edge of land and sea:

It’s just about this . . . → Ramble More: Pepper of the Earth, Salt of the Sea

A Rural Lao Food Diary

Breakfast, Day 5

Last month, we spent nine days in the field with Jim Harris’s team in rural Phongsali province. We camped at the local dispensary and showered with cold river water, which was piped uphill to the village. The team hired two young women to cook, clean and launder. . . . → Ramble More: A Rural Lao Food Diary

Remembering the Tsunami: Part II

Seaside view from the Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, before the tsunami

Exactly five years ago, on the morning after Christmas, an earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra. With a magnitude surpassing 9.1, it was one of the mightiest quakes on record. It spurred a series of tsunamis . . . → Ramble More: Remembering the Tsunami: Part II

Remembering the Tsunami: Part I

Khao Lak, Thailand, January 2005

Exactly five years ago, on the morning after Christmas, an earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra. With a magnitude surpassing 9.1, it was one of the mightiest quakes on record. It spurred a series of tsunamis that devastated parts of Asia and Africa, . . . → Ramble More: Remembering the Tsunami: Part I

These Old Waters that Feed

Ever hear a sandhill crane directly overhead? The voice is a warble with a prehistoric ring, the wings a primordial whooosh. These are sounds in evidence of lifecycles that have endured far longer than we.

The birds visit New Mexico each year in an ancient ritual that maps their lives from the . . . → Ramble More: These Old Waters that Feed

32 Hours in Derbyshire

A cool afternoon tea in a remodeled stone home at Castleton, Derbyshire.

When Condé Nast shuttered Gourmet last month, the move actually opened a drawerful of opportunity for me—entire files and folders of material left undone, unpublished, unseen by readers. As with any magazine, articles and ideas get stashed in . . . → Ramble More: 32 Hours in Derbyshire

One Tent, Two Bikes, a Basket of Blackberries and Lots of Fun

Our week has ended, the group has returned home to Yangon, and here I sit in the Denver airport. I’m bringing my parents to New Mexico for a few days, but we ended up on separate flights, and mine is delayed. They should be touching down in ABQ as I wait another . . . → Ramble More: One Tent, Two Bikes, a Basket of Blackberries and Lots of Fun

The Many Faces of Arenal

This has nothing to do with food but everything to do with majesty, the sort of grandeur we find when faced with nature at its most powerful. Gaze upon an active volcano, and you will feel it.

After 400 years of dormancy, Arenal awoke on July 29, 1968, in a . . . → Ramble More: The Many Faces of Arenal