I have been sending mail since I was a kid. Even despite changes in technology, I still have a drawer full of notecards in my desk, address labels printed at the ready and often a sheet of stamps, so that I can get a thank you, get well or birthday card in the mail as soon as possible.
It’s old-fashioned, I know, but I love the act of sending something through the mail and not quite knowing when it’s going to arrive. Of course, the biggest thrill is surprising the person on the other side.
Discovering Foodie Pen Pals allowed me to indulge in my love of mail and of course, of food.
The way it works is you put your name into a pool and then you get paired with 2 people – 1 of whom you’ll send stuff to and the other will send you food and/or food-related items. There are rules (spending limit – $15) and deadlines (have it in the mail by a certain date, contact the person you’re sending to, to find out about dietary restrictions by another date), but otherwise, it’s just a whack of fun! Then you all write about your experiences on the same day – today.
I sent off my package to Patricia of Our Quirky, Tree-Hugging, MMO Playing Family, who is a vegan and lives in Stratford where I know there’s an extremely good health food store (my friend Darren worked there for years), so I was feeling the pressure to get her not only the right stuff, but stuff she wouldn’t know so well. We’ll both have to read her post to see how I did (fingers crossed).
Vesna of Lipstick & Lemondrops was paired with me, and I bet she felt the pressure too. Anytime someone has to feed me, they freak out because I review restaurants and write about food for a living. Most people think I have high fallutin tastes because of it, but I really don’t – I’m just as happy with diner fare as I am with haute cuisine.
Vesna, however, said she “had fun trying to figure out what to send.” She had sent me a list of questions about what kind of food I like/dislike and really took that into consideration when selecting products. Vesna is a holistic health counselor who also does guided detoxes and cleanses as well as cooking classes, and that was also reflected in the items she chose for me – there was no junk food or “bad for you” items to be found, just really immensely thoughtful items. And insanely healthy too.
Her sweet card outlined the contents:
Homemade Vegan Thumbprint Cookies (she posted the recipe yesterday)
Raw Salad Sprinkle
Panda All Natural Raspberry Licorice
The homemade cookies were the aspect that floored me the most. It never occurred to me to do something like that for this exchange, so I was really touched. The fresh, chewy cookies with peach jam in the middle were a delicious, yet healthy treat that were obviously made with a lot of love. It’s hard to express the depth of what that kind of thoughtfulness means to me, but you can imagine that I was and am, extremely touched by such a giving gesture.
Vesna chose Raw Salad Sprinkle & Hemp Hearts because she had asked about my favourite foods. I had responded that I love salads, but rarely get to indulge in them at restaurants, so she kept that in mind when seeking out healthy products for me. This illustrates what a great listener she is – often people give what they like, not the other way around.
Panda Black Licorice is one of my great loves, but I don’t know that I’d ever tried the Raspberry – I just always reach for the black. What a nice surprise. I loved it. It’s now one of my go-to snacks for satiating my immense salt tooth.
If only everyone were so lucky to get paired with Vesna.
Thank you to Vesna, Patricia & Lindsay, Creator of Foodie Pen Pals for allowing me to take part in this extraordinary experience. I highly recommend it.
Huge hugs of gratitude,