Cooking Lao Food for 40

Fresh, hot chiles THIS is why I love food, communal food: it has the power to turn a gathering of strangers into a collective event. It makes the foreign experience feel less so. It happens every time we travel to Laos, when villagers bring us to their kitchen fires or hand us glasses of Beerlao…Continue readingCooking Lao Food for 40

A Look at Land Rights on World Food Day

Danu tribal family farmers heading to their fields in Shan State, Myanmar It’s World Food Day, an annual celebration marking the establishment of the Food and Agriculture Organization, which was founded  in 1945. This year, the day honors family farmers with the theme of “feeding the world, caring for the earth.” The United Nations named…Continue readingA Look at Land Rights on World Food Day

A Celebration of Lao Food & Farming

  Farming in Laos Khao niaw, sticky rice. It’s the lifeblood of lowland Laos. The Lao phrase “to eat” specifically implies eating glutinous rice. To some, sticky rice is an integral part of national and ethnic identity. Many Laotian meals are designed around glutinous rice, which is taken with the right hand and formed into…Continue readingA Celebration of Lao Food & Farming

A Borneo Food Diary

Lunch, Day 10 I should never write a blog post while hungry! If you’ve been coming ’round here for a while, you might recall a post I did several years ago, A Rural Lao Food Diary. We’d just come off a nine-day trip to the hinterlands in Phongsali, way up near the Lao/China border, where…Continue readingA Borneo Food Diary

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…Continue readingThe Edible Jungle

20 Years of Democracy in Cambodia

1998. A man hangs an English-language banner from poles at the Democracy Square protest in Phnom Penh. Thousands of people gathered in front of the National Assembly Building for weeks to protest the outcome of the 1998 national election. The banners were for international observers and news crews, as most Cambodians could not read English.…Continue reading20 Years of Democracy in Cambodia

The Next Big Things in Books

I’ve been tagged! Jennifer Margulis, author of the forthcoming book The Business of Baby, invited me to participate in a blog meme highlighting authors and their new and forthcoming work. I don’t do a lot of memes—but I’m delighted to take part in this one. I have to break the rules a bit, though. (More…Continue readingThe Next Big Things in Books

Hope and Hard Times in Indian Country

The Blackfeet Reservation, Montana “Life here is very hand to mouth. Out here, we don’t have the finer things. You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. And I’m going to be honest with you, sometimes I don’t eat. I’ve never told anyone this before, not even my mom, but I don’t…Continue readingHope and Hard Times in Indian Country

Book Dates! And an Excerpt

A fisherman on the far eastern edge of East Timor. Read about his community in This Way More Better. Dates are very important. Every writer knows this. Every writer I know waits and worries, frets and fusses in a mixed-bag roller-coaster of celebrated anticipation of THE DATE on which her book is published. We want…Continue readingBook Dates! And an Excerpt

Break[the]fast

Harira, a traditional Moroccan soup to break the fast. To see a gallery of Ramadan photos, click here. Ramadan ends this weekend with the sighting of a new moon, and millions of Muslims worldwide will break their month-long fast through the feast of Eid. It’s not been an easy month. Since Ramadan follows a lunar…Continue readingBreak[the]fast