I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
Yesterday I made something in my kitchen and then I did something I wish I’d done years ago.
I took that item and traded it for a three year old this weekend.
Pretty crazy, right?
You see I came across on Instagram the mention of PDX food swap. I think it found it because back in December I took part in a huge fundraiser for IRCO (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization) called the Bake America Great Again Sale.
This was a phenomenal event I’d brought these to
and when I saw the mention of this upcoming PDX Food Swap, I thought it involved some of the same people. I immediately wanted to sign up and see what it was all about.
This time about thirty people (all but two were women) gathered in the back of Baerlic Brewery , a hopping brew pub on SE 11th Avenue (the owners were gracious enough to let us use their back room for the event).
This is how it worked.
At this free event, invitees were to bring any homemade item (most turned out to be edible with a few bath products thrown in) in any amount. However many you brought with you is how many things you’ll come home with (although I gave one of mine to someone who only had sauerkraut which I dislike hence I didn’t ask for reciprocity) but someone gave me granola even though I’d run out of my salad. See how karma works sometimes?
Everyone spread their items out in neat little rows, and then everyone was given twenty minutes or so to check out the whole selection and offer up suggested trades with one of the items they brought.
Say you saw these amazing duck eggs and you started drooling thinking about the egg sandwiches you could make. On the piece of paper alongside you were to write your name and what food item you proposed swapping for them (darnit– I didn’t get these).
Maybe you brought these tinctures so you could offer one of those bottles for those beguiling eggs.
Or these homemade pretzels and cookies.
Everyone was wearing a name tag so after that looky honeymoon you start making trades, either starting with the people who are interested in your item or just walking up to people with a certain item and suggesting a trade.
Here’s what I brought to the swap.
I’d never been to one of food swaps before but I figured that there’d be a lot of sweet offerings so I went the opposite route– I went savory.
I spent yesterday afternoon roasting eight kinds of vegetables, making a giant pot of quinoa and a cilantro tahini dressing and then boxing all these composed salads up.
So when it came to swapping time, I had twelve items to trade — and I was ready for action (and no, there was one other person who brought a tablecloth, too).
Because Portland is a town of incredible makers and very stylish people, there were a lot of interesting and beautiful things that were available to swap.
These jars were so pretty.
And look at some of the other lovelies, too.
I tried to stay away from too many sweets (I’d just baked up a batch of ginger cookies) but the woman who made these French cakes really wanted to trade for my salad, so why not?
It felt like bad form to say no to anyone who wanted to trade, so I may have ended up with a couple more jams and homemade ketchup than I could use, but what the hell?
I had a blast, and I came home with so many interesting things (the delicious cake was devoured pre-photo shoot).
I’m really excited about what I brought home.
Take a closer look at some of them.
I make a version of this sauce sometimes too but never with avocado oil so I’m curious about that.
And a big fat yes to this.
And the woman who made all the shrubs traded with me and talked me through the simple process of making them so I’m excited about that, too.
Most of my trades will go into my freezer for later use, but the granola and one other item will be put to immediate use.
Which brings me to the three-and-a-half year old I told you about earlier — the one I adopted and brought home last night.
This sourdough bread starter is that old, and I’m going to try to remember to feed it and take care of it so that next time I make pizza dough, focaccia or bread it’ll be waiting for me.
We’ll see if I’m up to the task, and if I’m successful with that, maybe next time I will take home the other DIY project I’ve been curious about.
A Kambucha Scoby (starter).
So thanks so much to the lovely Bethany Rydmark and Lindsay Strannigan who gave up so much of their time and energy to pull this off. I’m sure it was a lot of work on your part and I really appreciate you for doing it.
I can’t wait for the next swap (sometime in April) and in the meantime, I may even host another smaller version of a swap amongst some of my favorite bakers and cooks.
Who’s local and up for a little trading action?
(Gluttonous minds want to know.)