About

Welcome to the diplomatickitchen!

Where is the diplomatickitchen?

“Moveable” describes the diplomatickitchen.  It has traveled to China, Europe, Africa–wherever my diplomat husband has been posted.  The diplomatickitchen began publication in August 2011 in Kinshasa, the capital of the Congo:

A morning village chat

A little over a year after the diplomatickitchen went online, the diplomat (my husband) who has guided the course of our travels faithfully and well for many years in this peripatetic life, felt that it was time to step out onto a new road…and so we did:

beach pictureThe diplomatickitchen is now home on a little place outside Arivaca, Arizona we call “Rancho Fortuna” that consists of twenty acres, a straw bale house, and four very lovable horses.

Here are the road…

to Home….

…and one of those horses:

The last diplomatickitchen post was published here on August 23, 2013.  The blog will remain online for the forseeable future, but may eventually be replaced by an ebook.  Cooking is an essential feature of our life in the country but the lion’s share of our day is devoted to our horses and the outdoor work that keeps a small desert ranch up and running.

Why “moveable feasts”?

Moveable feasts” is what this blog is about.  Not in the original sense of the term which described Christian holy days, like Easter, that had no fixed date.  Not quite in the sense Ernest Hemingway used it.  He talked about places that were so wonderful they stayed with you long after you left them, whereas, the diplomatickitchen blog is about occasions that make memories–when you invite people to gather around your dining table at home.  It is about describing menus and recipes for those occasions.

During our years in the diplomatic service, I have met a lot of capable makers of “moveable feasts”.  And they often made them under unusual circumstances…Like the lady who accompanied her husband to China back in the days when even milk was hard to find in the local markets.  (Traditionally, Chinese didn’t go in much for dairy products.)  Undaunted, this woman figured out how to make her own ice cream, then made a ginger ice cream bombe out of it for her dinner party, using the local candied ginger which was plentiful.  The time came to serve it.  She headed into the kitchen–unmoulded it onto a platter, and then–then, somehow, it slipped.  The bombe…bombed.  She confessed to a moment of despair.  Then, she took another look at the scene of the accident and realized all was not lost.  Only a very little of it was actually on the floor–the rest was still pretty much intact…She slivered off her losses, got the rest into bowls…and dessert was served.

This story was told with a smile.  My point in retelling it is that moveable feasts cut two ways.  They are memories you give to other people when you plan and go to the effort to make good things–when you make “an occasion”.  But in the doing, you’re making “moveable feasts” for yourself as well.

What’s more, things don’t have to be perfect or cost a lot to turn into a moveable feast.  First and foremost, a moveable feast is personal and nice.

Menus, recipes and the diplomatickitchen

I hope the diplomatickitchen offers you some menu ideas you can use for your own moveable feasts.  Menus are the focus of the blog and many of the recipe posts fit into suggested lunch or dinner menus.

Please participate

Also, I would like to invite you to share stories of moveable feasts you’ve made (and recipes), sending them here to the diplomatickitchen for readers to enjoy in future posts.

To good memories,

Elizabeth Laeuchli, for the diplomatickitchen

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011

28 thoughts on “About”

  1. clara godfrey said:

    Truly enjoyed,

  2. Cecile Mines said:

    Wonderful web site Elizabeth!!! You are a great cook — I fondly remember the Pots de Creme you made in VA. That is the lunch where my brother said, “And I thought we would just have ham sandwiches.” In other words – it was a lunch to be remembered. Ceciel

  3. This is such a beautiful website.

  4. Having 2 dogs, some birds and a hermit crab – my first thought when reading this was: Who takes care of your horses when you’re gone?

    Doesn’t look like you have a kind neighbor across the street, like we do – when we travel 🙂

    • No we don’t have kind neighbors right across the street, …although there are some out there in the distance, over the horizon…but Arivaca is a friendly little community and we have friends there who look after them.

      • Excellent to have such wonderful friends!

        I have a former student who is serving in Togo, Africa with the Peace Corps. I worry about her – not just a little.

        But, she seems to be doing well and is able to email me from time to time. Funny thing, the stereotypical thought of Africa is grass shacks and no communication with the outside world.

        She says the Africans are very friendly to Americans. That’s nice to know. Do you find it so?

  5. Yes, Americans have been pretty popular in the African countries where we’ve lived..There is truth in the grass hut/isolated idea of Africa as well as the wired-to-the -rest-of-the -world version. Not long ago we drove through the Congo from Kinshasa to Lubumbashi in a four-vehicle convoy….on parts of the journey the people in the lead had to get out to discover where the road was…it was a big and very memorable adventure.

  6. Fascinating. What an adventure – as you say.

    It makes our adventures to the deserts of NM and AZ look mild – compared to yours.

    But, we do love the West. Especially NM. Would love to live there one day.

    Having been through much of Europe as a child, I am glad I don’t feel the urge to return. My husband has never been out of this country – and strangely, has no desire to do so.

    I’ve enjoyed seeing this country – for a change – so it all works out.

    Your lifestyle fascinates me, I must admit. Are you ever frightened in a another country? There must be certain moments when you’ve been concerned about your safety?

  7. Sounds like the making of a new book: The Diplomat’s Wife

    Why not?

    Have you seen how many books have titles like that?

    🙂

  8. Well, hope you like it. But, who knows? I was telling someone the other day, there’s probably never been a song written – that everyone likes… 🙂

    • I listened to ‘Fire and Silk’ and liked it very much–also enjoyed your video to accompany it…and listened as well to ‘Desiderium’ with pleasure…and will be looking forward to relistens and to hearing your other links. Thanks again.

      • Oh, Fire and Silk is my latest. I had so much fun working on that. I had a feeling you’d pick Desiderium, too. Most people do. Not sure why they always pick that one. 🙂

        Glad you liked them.

      • I started with Desiderium because it looked like the first part of a larger work…no? It looks that way on YouTube…My plan was to listen to them in order…is there an order?

        Where do get your musicians?

      • Actually, my music is the result of a very, very high tech program that is being used for movie soundtracks, etc.

        Each note is placed by hand, on the monitor. One note at a time. I assign instruments to play those notes.

        Steinway grands, the highest quality of violins, and all the instruments that have been sampled and digitized into the program. It’s amazing how authentic it sounds. It is authentic – in a way. These sounds are digital samples from actual instruments. But, it is my hand that places each note for them to play.

        The program is called “Finale.” I do believe it is state of the art for movie soundtracking.

        Yes, Desiderium is the first of the symphony. The symphony “Infusion” is a musical portrait of an experience I had in 1999. Each title is in Latin, and amply describes the scenario I am depicting.

        A long answer – to a short question. But, a fascinating process to this type of composition – along with a fascinating story to go with it.

  9. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I am waiting
    for your further post thank you once again.

  10. Cynthia Yav said:

    Hi!!

    I have just stumbled upon your blog by pure chance and I must admit that I am in love!! I am from Kinshasa and I can’t wait to put all these lovely recipes to use!!! This is truly a wonderful website!!!

    • Hi Cynthia,
      I’m glad you like the site. We no longer live in Kinshasa, but enjoyed the years we were there very much…including an overland trip from Kinshasa to Lubumbashi. Are you in Kinshasa now? As you know, it’s is a good city in which to find good food–not only restaurants but great sources for home cooking.

  11. Hi,

    I’ve truly enjoyed every post and appreciated the thoughts that accompony each recipe, your stories, everything! I love to cook generally and blogs have been my main inspiration in the course of the last few years and it’s always a pleasure to come across a new one – like yours. The way you’ve assembled the recipes in occasional menus is another added value. Can’t wait to try them all!

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