Swapmaster Chris lays out the ground rules and sets the swappers loose.
Albany Swap Scoreboard
Brought: Strawberry & Raspberry Infused Tequila, Whey Biscuits with Dill
Scored: Corn salsa, beet hummus from Sarah, samosas from Liz at Brown Betty Farm, lavender tea cookies, hom-a-rah (Syrian red pepper dip) with pita chips and I even snagged Leah the Nosher's sample jar of pickles.
And then we had the Saratoga swap at The Common Thread on Wednesday...
'Toga Swap Scoreboard
Brought: Strawberry-Infused Tequila.
Scored: sweet potato & zucchini muffins, a kombucha SCOBY, asparagus and goat cheese mini-quiche from Ashley (owner of The Common Thread), ginger syrup (for homemade ginger ale!) and pear butter from Jen. Boo yah.
Now that I have a few swaps under my belt, here are some thoughts. In bullet point form, because it's been a long week.
- Label your swap items! It's helpful to write out a list of ingredients so peeps know what's in 'em, but I think it's really nice when items are also labeled with the person's name and blog/twitter/whatever, if applicable. That way when I get home with my goodies, I'll remember exactly who I got things from and how I can track them down to get more.
- Don't be afraid to bring some "weird" stuff. These swaps tend to draw a happy, foodie crowd that loves experimenting. Meals that are ready-to-go are awesome... almost every one of my lunches this week was a swap item. But keep in mind that a lot of people (though not all!) are pretty creative home cooks, so jars of homemade ingredients are also a big sell. Think jams, sauces, dressing, starters etc. Personally, I tend to go after savory stuff versus the sweets. Which is crazy, because I have an insane sweet tooth but even I recognize that it's not a very smart idea for me to come home with a dozen cupcakes, a batch of cookies, three pies and a ray of brownies. I like to stock up my pantry or supplement my planned meals for the week.
- Finish strong and don't give up. Even if it seems like the swapping has wrapped up, I guarantee there are people out there with some swap items yet. Maybe they'd like to take them back home, but maybe they are looking for a swap buddy! Stick around, chit chat and scope out the scene for closing call swaps. And if you aren't able to trade all of your items, that's actually pretty great because you get to take them home and enjoy the fruits of your labor! I couldn't get rid of my last set of biscuits at the Albany swap but they happened to be delicious so I didn't mind bringing them back with me.
- It's ok to bring a lot of different things. I haven't done this, but I love when one person lays out this crazy spread of things. Also, it seems to be easier to swap when you have some variety rather than 40 jars of jam. Then again, if your jam is crazy awesome or you have a famous recipe for something, go ahead and bring 'em all.
Phew, what an insane few days it's been. Meetings before work, meetings after work, swap prep, kitchen voting, my Facebook giveaway and to top it off, we're rocking near-100 degree temps here. I will admit to hiding out at the mall last night for a bit of heat relief and walking away with four or five new dresses. They were on super-sale! Couldn't help it! Blame it on the heat.
I've shared a few tips for surviving a tiny kitchen over at From Scratch Club today so if you are also lacking some cooking space, check it out. If you are so inclined, you can vote for my 40 square foot kitchen at the Small, Cool Kitchens contest! It would mean so much to me. Chris has been away on a little trip and I'm excited to surprise him this weekend by welcoming him back to a now nationally-famous kitchen! Ha. "Ta-da! Strangers everywhere have seen inside our apartment! You're welcome." I think it would be a better surprise if I could announce that we were at the top of the Rental category... we shall see :)