On Sunday, I attended my second food swap held in collaboration with From Scratch Club (a blog and food community I write for - amazing stuff!). I have to laugh sometimes - where I grew up, food swapping wasn't a thing, it was something you just did. I think it's funny that many of the principles I grew up with are now en vogue. It's something I've grappled with, and I'll admit, I have had a bit of a chip on my shoulder about the whole thing until recently. The foodie and local/farming/homesteading movements that have become popular over the past several years adhere to the old-timey practices I was raised on. Sometimes I still get upset when people take an old notion and act like it's totally revolutionary. I definitely fit into the "First Adopter" role in many of these cases (to through some fancy marketing terms around), and sometimes I want to hop on my high-horse and say, "Listen, idiot, that's something people where I grew up have done for generations. Just because you're doing it while wearing skinny jeans doesn't make your method new, better, or hip." Instead, I've learned to embrace a different role. I'd be putting my parents, my aunts and uncles, my grandparents, my great-grandparents, and the rest of my ancestors to shame if I didn't take my knowledge and try to help others with it. Instead of competing over each other, it's my job to offer ways of collaboration so that these roots of my exsistence carry on for future generations. I'm trying to bolster what other people are doing, because I believe that what they are doing (well, most of them) is the right thing to do. Besides, I'd rather be seen as a becon of knowledge rather than a bully of originality.
Okay, enough ranting already!
Where was I? Oh yes, food swap. So, the food swap was held at All Good Bakers and organized by Christine (yes, that Christine, the one I'm forever raving about - she's awesome!!) and Chris with From Scatch Club. I was late (as per usual), but I was so excited to see all the new faces in the crowd and watch them get jazzed for their first food swap. Food swapping is quick and dirty: First, you set out what you brought (samples are always a good idea), and fill out a handy little swap card detailing your item. Second, everyone goes around and takes notes on what they like. Next, we all write our names, as well as what we can swap for, on the card of the item(s) we desire. Finally, we look at our own cards to determine who wants to swap with us, and if we want to swap with them. Swapping is based on a 1:1 ratio. For every one item you bring, you swap for one item. For more on how food swapping works, check out this handy recap.
via the FSCSwappers Facebook page
I made a Herbal Digestif for my swap item. Great on its own or in a cocktail, it is easy to make and can be used in many ways (recipe to follow). I included a recipe card in the form of a "Cootie Catcher," because who doesn't love alcohol paired with silly games? I made four jars of the digestif and swapped it for garlicky pesto (which we paired with bacon and linguine for a tasty pasta dinner), a jar of corn relish, a jar of salsa, and a bar of rosemary soap (yep, soap is techincally allowed at a food swap, the main rule being you have to swap something you made/grew yourself. No store bought items!!).
I had a great time at the swap, and look forward to the next one soon (and here's the recap of my first food swap). If you are in the Albany area, contact me for more information about the whys and whatnots of our next swap! Food swapping is a great way to lead a sustainable lifestyle because it keeps food production local and helps create a community of like-minded individuals. I hope you will give it a try!