Lockdown Journeys – Recipes from around the World
Exploring the world, learning the traditions of different countries, and building an intercultural dialogue are possible without leaving your home, believes Pick Keobandith, PhD in Art History, expert in art and cultural diplomacy. Creativity brings people together, erases boundaries, and provides us with a powerful emotional charge. Cooking is a kind of art, which is unique and inimitable in each country. In her new book written in the period of pandemic and self-isolation, Pick Keobandith collected unique recipes from all over the world, which make it possible to feel the atmospheres of different cultures while staying in the same kitchen.
PhD in Art History, expert in art and cultural diplomacy, consultant of the Diplomatic World Magazine
Pick Keobandith is one of the constant experts of the Peace 50 community. She is an expert in art and cultural diplomacy having 30 years of experience. She is a person who can’t imagine her life without traveling. Pick Keobandith is in constant movement, she explores the world and people through pieces of art, national traditions, and customs.
During the pandemic period, the whole planet found itself in the forced self-isolation regime. The expert in cultural diplomacy had to invent a new way of establishing intercultural communication. That is how her book titled ‘Lockdown Journeys – Recipes from around the World’ appeared.
– How did the idea to write a book come to you? How did the book's title appear?
– In January, when China announced the spread of COVID-19 throughout their country, I was worried and sad for them but I had no idea of what was about to come on a global scale. In mid-February, when I returned from Sochi, Russia where I attended ‘the Russian Seasons’, I began to understand. My colleagues and partners from around the world – in Asia Europe and the Middle East and then the USA – began to cancel artistic and cultural events one after another.
Mandatory confinement. What could be done? All these efforts and moments to be shared were cancelled? I would not be able to see my friends and colleagues from the cultural world in which I work, even those from Belgium? When meeting and exchanging with one another is at the heart of our activity?
What could I do that would be satisfying, simple and optimistic, as well as accessible to everyone on social media? My first thought was cooking.
‘Culinary art’ is an essential part of every culture. It is what brings us all together. When you explore the world, you also share meals which often bring surprises with unusual but delicious flavors.
Self-isolation became nor only a limitation but also a source of opportunities. Personally, I saw this time of confinement as an opportunity to travel around the world and meditate while cooking. Each day, it is a pleasure for me to cook these dishes from around the world. During these ‘voyages immobiles’ (stationary travels), I discovered new feelings while fulfilling myself emotionally and culturally. Each day, I was inspired by contrasted cultures with their own logic and their own meaning…their flavours and their colours. And I learned how to incarnate the cultures through their cuisine.
Interestingly, almost all of our senses are stimulated while cooking: touch, sight, smell and taste. That’s why we can experience completely unique impressions.
I was so excited by culinary that I decided to share the best recipes with people around me. In my opinion, that was especially important in the pandemic period. Cooking not only helps you get distracted from daily routine but also tunes you to a proper mood. It calms, inspires, and makes you feel comfortable. That is how the idea to write a book appeared. It received an interesting name: ‘Lockdown Journeys - Recipes from around the World’.
I wanted the book to be like a gastronomic poem, delicious flavours in triumph over gloomy thought!
This is not only my book. I was privileged to have many wonderful contributors. From all over the world they sent me inspiration in their recipes for happiness that are not just about food but also about art, culture, and friendship.
– How many countries took part in your action?
– This book very much reflects my world: the places I visited, the places my friends are from or love as well as the countries of origin of the dishes we tasted.
This book brings you to every continent, except Antarctica. I did not actually count the number of countries we visited directly or indirectly. However, the number is quite impressive. From memory I can list, Georgia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Italy, Laos, France, Sri Lanka, Russia, Iran, Korea, Belgium, China, Morocco, Netherlands, Vietnam, India, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Bulgaria, Bhutan, Austria, Argentina, Lebanon, Finland, United States, Estonia, Germany, The Antilles, Slovenia, Spain, Poland, Israel, Iceland, Palau, Australia, Greece, Peru, Switzerland, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Kuwait, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, Philippines, South Africa, Canada, Brazil, Algeria, Mexico, Albania, Cambodia, Nicaragua, and Uzbekistan.
I recommend you to take a ‘culinary trip’ to each of these countries.
– What goal did you have when creating the book?
– I wanted much more than just a recipe book.
These ‘voyages immobiles’ or ‘lockdown journeys’ are real, friendly, living demonstrations of humanity, bringing us together.
I brought also my passion of art and cultural diplomacy. I am particularly interested in intercultural dialogue between nations in order to preserve and strengthen peace.
– What unites the participants of your action?
– Hunger ! What else would you expect from readers of a book of recipes? Hunger and curiosity for all the beautiful things that human being can create around the world.
The second important idea is sharing. What is the value of beauty if you cannot share it?
– Culture unites people erasing the boundaries among states. What role did your book play in that?
– I believe that depends on how many people will read it.
Our world is divided into different countries and cultures. I see borders are an invitation to discover other cultures. The problem is not the border, I am more afraid of close minds than of close borders For every wall, there is a gate. Open the doors and you can discover treasures.
Viktoria Yezhova, Global Women Media news agency
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov