Once upon a time, there was no email, there was no Facebook and there was no iPhone. Before the dawn of the technological age, the people of earth had to use what was known as pen and paper if they wanted to contact anyone who wasn’t within shouting distance. These days, letter-writing is an alien concept to most people under the age of 50 and, while no one can say that this is a wonderful development, the advent of the internet has helped spawn something equally as amazing as writing letters: Foodie Penpals!
The programme was launched back in September 2011 by the bright spark that is trainee dietician Lindsay (who also devotes a lot of time to running her Lean Green Bean blog). The first month saw 30 bloggers take part and this has since grown into something of a phenomenon, with nearly 1,000 people in the US, Canada and the UK signing up to pack up a box of food-related goodies and send it off to their gastronomic correspondent they’ve been paired with.
It’s kept within-country, so you don’t have to worry about spending too much cash sending your box of treats to really far-flung destinations and the spending limit has been capped at $15 (£9) per box so you can’t go too overboard with the whole affair. You’re also required to send something handwritten (just like in the days of yore) – although the rules on this are wide open. From recipe cards to cooking tips, who knows what you’ll come up with?
One eager Foodie Penpal is Lex Smith, who runs Altrincham’s first supper club NomSense. She signed up to it a month ago so she could meet new like-minded people and come across new blogs and bloggers. Her first pairings were with Sarah over at Highland Country Cooking and Becky from Munchies and Munchkins, the latter of whom she sent a bottle of Dunham Massey brewery beer, a wedge of Burt’s blue cheese (handmade by Claire Burt, an Altrincham local), a jar of homemade orange marmalade with some flatbreads and a pot of homemade duck liver parfait.
It wasn’t all Christmas come at once for Becky, though, and Lex did quite alright herself, by all accounts! “The smoked salmon Sarah sent was literally to die for, as was the homemade Szechuan pepper popcorn. I had to hide most of my treats to stop the other half eating them. I used the dried honeycomb she sent me to make honeycomb and lavender ice cream – delicious!” she said.
This month, Lex has been paired with a baker so is sending off some recipe cards and a special recipe for beer, bacon and cheese cupcakes (“bizarre, but so, so good” apparently).
If Lex’s parcels are standard fare, this little scheme seems like a dream come true for foodies. After all, what could be better than receiving homemade marmalade and Dunham Massey brewery beer in the post each month?
Do you have a Foodie Penpal? What goodies have you got so far?
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