It’s been over a week, and I am finally getting around to writing about my first food swapping experience. And hopefully it won’t be the last!
So I’ve tried to go before, I signed up for one in Albany, but they had held it in such a small space… and by the time I got there the place was PACKED. And I made a whole bunch of cupcakes from scratch and I didn’t even go. The size and intimidation factor, I tell ya. And then I tried to be swap curious, but that always conflicted with my volunteering at Honest Weight (which I no longer do… sob).
I am really trying to connect with my new city… be social and friendly and conversive. Yes, it’s a made up word. I like it… I’m keeping it. Anywho, I got an email about the June food swap and I immediately signed up. I had no clue what I was bringing but I figured I’d come up with something. It only took until the night before to decide on what to make – filipino food. Should have been a no-brainer, but eh. I finally chose to make pandesal, which seemed simple enough, but it’s bread. And I have yeast issues. As in it never works for me.
But it worked, and you can see the finished result. Mini pandesals that tasted pretty good! My test batch was regular white APF, and the following batches were a mix of the APF and organic whole wheat from a local business. I divvied the rolls into packs of eight and packed them up into paper bags and slapped on stickers M made for me. Nothing too fancy.
The swap was held at the Oakwood Community Center, which is at the corner of Hoosick Street and Oakwood Avenue in Troy. What I didn't know was which door to use to get in. It only took me catching someone leaving to finally find the open door. Which I had tried opening before, but I guess I didn't try hard enough.
Once inside I signed in and was shown my little area to display my wares. Thankfully I brought a serving dish and knife to cut up the samples. Filled out my little form, and went around the room, checking out what everyone one else brought it.
After sampling, there was a review of the swapping process and then we were off to sign up for the goodies. So you look around, sample the stuff and keep a mental note of what you like. Later, you go back to the ones you liked and get your name on the list for said likes and what you're willing to swap for it. I'm pretty sure how it goes - it was a bit confusing at the time. While I was signing up for items I looked back to see if anyone was signing up for mine. Thankfully, there were. Definitely made me feel good.
After the silent sign up came the mad swap dash. Once again, not really knowing what to do, I kind of just stood there and waited for people to come up to me. And there were... there were! I swapped more than half of it before I started going around to trade the rest. Once I had swapped the last bag of bread, I packed my things and went home. They sped this swap up along due to the humidity.
This is what I ended up with:
- Ruby Port & Balsamic Sauce with Cherries and Strawberries - the lady at the table said it would go well with pound cake
- Ginger Shrub - no, not a plant... a cordial of sorts made with vinegar. I'm thinking mixing the shrub with some seltzer and maybe... a splash of gin? On the rocks?
- Lavender Black Tea & Almond Earl Grey Apple Syrup - The tea will definitely be used to make iced tea. Way too hot for hot beverages.
- Currant Jelly - I've always wanted to try currant jelly and the sample I tried was so tasty! Fancy ideas include swirling it into an ice cream, or just spreading it on some toasted pandesal.
- Maple Milk - I ended up using this on my last batch of pandesal that I made for my parents. Definitely sweetened the bread up, and not too excessively.
- Water Kefir - So excited I got this! I tried (and sort of succeeded and then failed) making milk kefir before, and I figured water kefir would be more fail proof. I'll have to let you know about that. Actually, I lost the instructions the lady gave me.
It was a good experience and I'll definitely sign up again. But next time I'll make sure to get there earlier, and not make my stuff last minute. Also, maybe have a little variety in what I offer, but once again... need to plan and make things ahead of time. And for samples, maybe put more effort into it, pre-cut the food and have them in little disposable cups. And a better display.