It is that weird time of year in the Foreign Service life, when we diplomats become focused on an important mission:  Finishing Consumables.  In the midst of buying plane tickets and making vacation plans; sorting through pets, kids and old clothes; we all face another anxiety that rears its ugly head every time we open the pantry door.  We must eat this stuff!!  Our diets get funky as we take stock of what’s left, and plan meals around all the ingredients that we shipped halfway across the world because we though we couldn’t live without them.  Some people send around spreadsheets listing what they have to swap, and it is a strangely intimate window into other people’s daily lives.  Like, the people who were looking to trade their 20 one-pound boxes of leftover Morton salt.  I am an open Salt Lover, but did they really need to bring 20 pounds?  And did they really think they wouldn’t be able to buy it here? 

Dinner parties take on a “let’s all work together to rid of this” feel, and there is a respectful desperation not to allow any half-empty liquor bottles go to waste.  Cheers!


People have parties and happy hours and all kinds of events to enlist the help of others.  It is nice to see that we are all so thoughtful about the fate of our foodstuffs.  One of our friends had several cases of Guiness, and for a while he was up to two bottles a night just to get through it.  Another had a party to blow through 6 huge bottles of Bacardi Pina Colada Mix, and there was also a James Bond night that featured martinis containing Tia Maria, Midori, and vermouth. 

The introspection is universal:  “What were we thinking when we ordered this??”


It seems that the lure of comforts from home can cloud even the most refined of judgment.


For our part, we have a lot of yellow mustard, canned tuna, and about 20 extra pounds of crushed tomatoes.  Fortunately, we can take most of it with us to Zambia, and now all Mike and I have to do is focus on finishing our nuts.  Pistachios, almonds, cashews, and still an open jar of peanut butter.   We are committed, but it just may be too many nuts for us. 


My job is to get rid of the baking ingredients, which is really fun.  You can never have too much baking powder!




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