Monday, August 20, 2012

My First Food Swap

I have been reading food blogs almost as long as I have been reading preppy blogs.  Even if I know I will never make the same foods, I still love reading the recipes and personal stories and travel tales.

Nearly two years ago I stumbled upon the blog Food In Jars.  And fell in love, fast and hard.  I love this blog by sweet Marisa.  Great writing.  Great recipes.  Awesomely creative.  So unique.  So relatable. 

And around that same time, I first learned about food swaps.  In other parts of the country.  And was green with envy and all the fun those cool kids were having. 

For those new to this concept, let me give you the Cliff Notes explanation.  A bunch of strangers gather together and trade food. 

I know, sounds crazy and unsafe. 

But eat food made by strangers all the time.  So really, it's all good.  Actually, it's way better.  Because you get to talk to the person who made the food.  And they tell you every ingredient used.  Most of those ingredients are whole and home-grown. 

Not too long ago, maybe under a year ago, I found out there were swaps happening in my own 'hood, via From Scratch Club.  But I was never brave enough to go.  Or I was busy.  Or out of town.  Or still not brave enough.  Always something. 

Until now.

And what a first swap for me!  Do you know who was at this swap?  Miss Food In Jars herself.  With her awesomesauce cookbook.  And a Q and A session.  I did go up and tell her that I love her blog but I chickened out on asking her to take photo with me. life is just one big perpetual awkward moment and I knew I would be too weird asking.  So I didn't.  As with most moments like that...I regret it. 

I was totally nervous.  And being sick all of last week put a kink in my original plans.  However, as is often the case in life, it all worked out.

On a whim I made almond butter.  More specifically, Vanilla Bean Brown Sugar Almond Butter.  Recipe coming shortly.  Trust me, you NEED to make this!  And to my delight, it was quite the hit.  Whew!  I also brought a few jars of pickled watermelon rinds.

Thankfully my years of reading clued me in that one must always bring samples to share!  I had a little jar of the almond butter and a jar of rinds for folks to sample.  I also made a sign listing ingredients so those with allergies knew what was in my products. 

My little set up with samples.

Now even though my nervousness faded, I was still confused during the swapping portion.  And I'm not sure that will ever fade. 

But I had the best time viewing and tasting such a great variety of homemade goodies.

This gal made popsicles. about thinking creative!

I really wanted (but didn't get) these dehydrated tomatoes.  Maybe another time!

I brought these carrots home!

Not only did I bring this roasted corn salsa home, I opened it up as a snack about four seconds inside the door!  Sooo crazy yummy!

I mean, just look at the variety of goodies!  So impressive.

So here's how it works.  First you set up and chat with people.  Then you sample and take notes on what you are interested in.  Then you go write down your name and proposed swap item on the designated lists.  Then you hope that someone also wants what you are offering.  Then you go back relieved that they do in fact want what you are offering.

Walking around in circles, making wish lists.

Then you get super confused.

Because it's time to actually swap.

And suddenly five people are standing in front of you.  Yay, that makes it easy.  But you now must go seek out the last few to swap.  But you get to their tables and they are doing the same as you, wandering aimlessly.  So you go down your list.  And then decide you don't want the next proposed item so you keep walking.  In circles. 

And in the end, with one jar remaining, I made a random swap with someone not even on my list.  Because I felt like I needed to end my circle walking.  I was dizzy!

But I got in my car completely gleeful.  I survived my first swap.  Better than survived...I had a great time!  I talked to lots of strangers.  I pulled up my big girl britches and was brave.  And came home with all of this! 

I brought all of this home with me!  Yum-o!!

Not too shabby for a Sunday afternoon!

I can't wait until the next swap!  I've been scanning my brain (or as I call it...vintage Pinterest) all night for ideas.  I think they key is to be both tasty and out of the box.  My favorite combination in life!



KatiePerk said...

I love that blog too! That is awesome that you went! Way to go. Can't for your recipe!!

Lexilooo said...

that sounds SO much fun, now I want to join!

3 Peanuts said...

First, I cannot wait for the recipe....but also, I did not know anything about these swaps at all...very fascinating!

Jo said...

Your vanilla bean brown sugar almond butter sounds amazing! I think I'd eat it right out of the jar! Ha! I hope you'll share the recipe with us. I've never heard of a swap but I love the idea.


Kate said...

What a fun idea! I've never heard of this before!

REBrown said...

That sounds like an awesome idea!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pulling up your "big girl britches", being brave, meeting strangers, bringing kick-ass swap loot and having a great time! Next swap 3rd Sunday in September-- WOOOOT! -Chris

Ker said...

SO COOL!! Did you get to meet Christina of From Scratch Club? She and I instragram-stalk each other, haha, and I was sooo jealous seeing her photos of the swap with Marisa from a couple weeks ago! So jealous you actually got to go!!!


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