Lockdown Journeys

Pick Keobandith is the founder and international director of the “Inspiring Culture Institute” and a specialist in “cultural diplomacy” with over 30 years of experience. During the coronavirus pandemic, she wrote and published the book “Lockdown Journeys: Recipes from Around the World.” This unique woman from a Lao highly cultured family, as if compensating for the many years of political and cultural isolation of her country, from an early youth with only her natural diplomacy makes friends, implements international cultural projects, connects people from different parts of our planet. A small fragile woman with a great vital energy did not give up when even the most persistent and powerful of this world were confused. On the contrary Pick Keobandith has mobilized all her numerous friendships and business ties and sumptuously illustrated book (300 pages) of recipes from all over the world was born. Designed like a leaflet diary that our grandmothers loved so much in the pre-digital era, it snuggles up on our bookshelves, taking pride of place. 

Like the author, we all love traveling. “Lockdown Journeys” satisfies our hunger for delicious, healthy food and travel. Peak asked each of her many friends around the world to write a recipe for their favorite national dish. Therefore, the main flavoring that each author added to his story is love for his or her native country, its culture and customs, an important part of which  the national cuisine is. And the book of Pick Keobandith turned up to be about love of her friends for their small and large homelands. Declaration of love to their families, tastes and smells of the places where they grew up. As it is fashionable to say now – we are what we eat. “Lockdown Journeys” is a group portrait of friends, associates, and Keobandith’s collaborators, including diplomats, journalists, members of international organizations, and artists. The cultural diplomat maintains long-term friendly relations with everyone. This is witnessed by photographs from different parts of the world, where Pick is seen  with the authors of the recipes. This woman has a rare talent for making friends and appreciating the people who enter her life. “Cultural diplomacy”, which Pick Keobandith has been engaged in all her life, arises  from her own character and life principles. Doctor of Art History, she professionally moderates the “speakers” on the pages of her book, giving them the floor at the right time and in the right place.


“Lockdown Journeys” begins with the badrijani (eggplant with walnuts) recipe by the Georgian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium Natalie Sabanadze. The author quotes the words of the Georgian writer Rusudan Gorgiladze about this dish, which dates back to the 13th century. And an ancient source that “sadness has the color of an eggplant.” The entire book of Pick Keobandith is full  of such culturological quotes, like”badrijani” with   the seeds of the pomegranates. From the stories of the authors, we also learn the history how vegetables and fruits conquered countries and continents, as once the potato conquered the “Old Europe”. Each few pages of the book showcase art objects of the “artists” – like the wooden “artichokes” of Catherine Van Potensberg or jewelry “mushrooms” by Maria Mamkaeva.


The author herself is a wonderful hostess and she perfectly cooks Asian cuisine. The recipes in the book are given in an accessible language and are easy to prepare. We recommend everyone to have fun with “Lockdown Journeys” with Pick Keobandith and her friends. This book will survive all the lockdowns and coronaviruses and, who knows, may inspire you on the journeys  that you never planned, but after reading it, maybe you will!


Ianina Cozari