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Karen Coates

When she’s not running up mountains or sweating through a buggy jungle, Karen Coates covers food, environment, science, health and social issues. She is a 2010-2011 Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado, where she is working on a project related to global food security. Generally, she and her husband, photojournalist Jerry Redfern, split their time between the American Southwest and places far-flung (particularly in Asia). Karen is Southeast Asia correspondent for Archaeology magazine and for five years was Asia correspondent for Gourmet until the magazine imploded in 2009. She is author of Cambodia Now: Life in the Wake of War and co-author of the Sharon Sites Adams memoirs, Pacific Lady: The First Woman to Sail Solo across the World’s Largest Ocean. She and Jerry are at work on two forthcoming books: Eternal Harvest: The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos and This Way More Better, a collection of travel essays from Asia’s back roads. Karen writes the award-winning food blog, Rambling Spoon.

Karen Coates Articles
Karen Coates |

Dining with Dioxin

Mrs. Saw had a gravely voice that bugled commands in a grandmotherly way. “Sit down! she insisted. We obeyed, and she shoved steaming plates and bowls of homemade food our way—minced-meat salad, noodle soup, and fresh fish from the river. We ate at Mrs. Saw’s little wooden restaurant near the old more
Karen Coates |

An Insomniac’s Notes on Becoming a Food Writer

I’m awake all night, eyes wide, ears full of my husband’s snoring. After hours of thinking when I want to be dreaming, I finally move to the couch, flip on a light and dive into The Rural Life by Verlyn Klinkenborg. He’s been praised for his “quiet detours” that lend great meaning; and he’s been assailed as possibly “the windiest windbag in newspaper history.” Either I’ll fall fast asleep or indulge in a great read. I can’t go wrong. more
Karen Coates |

New Year’s Breakfast Galettes

Do this. Do yourself a favor and start the year with a big batch of buckwheat galettes. We made them Christmas morning, and still my taste buds linger over the memory of that soft Gruyere melting into the sweet red onion, tempered with the salty taste of prosciutto and a tart bite of apple. more
Karen Coates |

The Climate Change Eggsperiment

This is your egg on climate change. Any questions?

World leaders are meeting this week at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, in a continuing saga of geopolitics. Debate centers on the question of how best to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. The gathering comes on the heels of an important report showing that what goes up also comes down. Carbon dioxide not only pollutes the air, it turns the oceans acidic. When that happens, corals and shellfish die. It’s happening right now to oyster larvae in the Pacific Northwest. more
Karen Coates |

What Will Baby 7Bn Eat?

Today’s the day.

Today, the world’s population hits 7 billion. From here on out, we inhabit a planet of 7 billion mouths attached to 7 billion bodies with 7 billion daily needs to eat. more
Karen Coates |

Hunger Pangs

Lo and behold, a scientist said it. “The problem of hunger in the world does not have anything to do with production.” Farmers can grow more food―but that doesn’t mean everyone will eat. more
Karen Coates |

Bison Times

Long ago, the average Blackfeet man ate 3-7 pounds of bison meat each day. That was back in an age of plentiful game, when up to 60 million buffalo thundered across the open plains. “There was no want, no hunger,” says Woody Kipp, a Blackfeet teacher and journalist. His people supplemented their diet with chokecherries, turnips and berries that grew beneath Montana’s Big Sky. “We didn’t grow any grains. No grains.”

Then everything changed. more
Karen Coates |

Fishing the Mexican Border

Fish don’t know borders. They know the tug of a line or the hold of a net, but they swim with impunity across the boundaries we create in matters of politics, economy and war. Fish don’t know the difference between Texas and Mexico. Only people do. more
Karen Coates |

Don’t Forget the Dip

It’s almost party time, and if you’re like a lot of food-minded folks I know, you’ve already frittered away a few working hours thinking about that menu. Come 4th of July, we Americans tend to emphasize the burgers and brats, chicken and ribs (or tofu). But don’t forget the relish. more
Karen Coates |

Danger Salad

My husband is trying to kill me with worry. But then, I think he thinks I’m trying to kill him with salad. more

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