Lao Sabai

? I remember the very first trip. It was August, which meant sticky days and a heat that swelled until the skies opened with a gush of rain. The rice paddies sparkled in a light I still can’t adequately describe. Radiant. Brilliant. Electric. Cliché. They were the very definition of green. It was our first […]

Still Living in Action

Mekong River, Vientiane, Laos, the evening we met Lee I haven’t posted here in a long time. Quite a long time—but I’m back to the blog. In the weeks to come, I’ll talk about where I’ve been and why you haven’t seen me, but right now I want to tell you about Lee. I met […]

Camp Food, Laos

Earlier this spring, we followed a bomb clearance team working high in the mountains near the Lao/Vietnam border. We all camped in tents pitched inside a village schoolhouse that offered shelter from the wind, rain, cold, and critters outside. One rudimentary room with a stellar view served as the camp kitchen. Cooking took place over […]

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. […]

On Boston and the Eternal Tragedy of Bombs

SCARS OF BOMBARDMENT: an aerial view of the countryside around Phonsavanh, Laos, showing the ubiquitous bomb craters that remain throughout the province, 40 years after US bombs fell across the country. This week, our nation grieves for lives lost, bodies broken, futures ripped to bits. We mourn the blood splattered on sidewalks of innocents. It […]

Dining with Dioxin

A fried fish served at a restaurant in Sepon, Laos, near the old Ho Chi Minh Trail, in a region that was sprayed with herbicides during war. In the past seven years of research on unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos, we’ve often wondered about the safety of foods we’ve eaten and encountered along the way—the […]

Up in Smoke

New Mexico sky, Arizona smoke. We’re choking here. As Arizona next door burns in one of the fiercest fires in state history, we’re smothered in smoke plumes visible from space. A white film dusts the air. It’s as though we’re living in the folds of a lacy veil. We wake to kitchen counters sprinkled in […]

Food Miles, Southeast Asian Style

Buses stop at the Nam Ou River in Muang Khua, Laos. Tiny town it is, but it sits on a major trade route linking Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. I’ve been thinking a lot about the journeys my dinners endure. The more I read, the more I learn, the more trouble I have shaking the numbers: […]

Big Soup, Big Love

I post this picture today in honor of Valentine’s Day, my husband and the animated life we have created together. I know he’s missing travel as much as I am right now, so here’s a little reminder. This is about the biggest noodle soup we’ve ever encountered, anywhere. It’s served with a smile at the […]

Bombs Threaten Lao Food Security

Members of a Phoenix Clearance Ltd. bomb clearance group, led by American Jim Harris, search for unexploded ordnance (UXO) in a dry rice field in the northern province of Phongsali. Laos is having its 15 minutes this week. As hundreds of foreigners gather in the capital for the First Meeting of States Parties to the […]