The term “pen pal” seems a bit antiquated in our world of instant electronic correspondence. It’s a term that I more associate with school children and prisoners than anything else. However, my thoughts on it changed when a friend introduced me to “Foodie Pen Pals,” a very ambitious venture that was started last September by Lindsay of “The Lean Green Bean.” She started with a few dozen people and now organizes a list of over 600 bloggers and readers in Canada, The U.S. and U.K.. She truly deserves a gold star for organizing such a large project and it’s bound to only get larger as time goes on and word spreads.
The rules are simple and require a quick sign up and then you wait to get your match to send to and who will be sending to you. Then, all you have to do is make the connection, write a little note and send off a lovely care package by the 15th of the month and, if you’re a blogger, you post at the end of the month. Easy peasy.
This month, I was paired up with Stephanie, writer of The Dairy Free Omnivore, who, outside of her dairy aversion, has pretty similar tastes to mine. Once we discussed any allergies I had (none) and what types of food I liked (I told her I was interested to see what types of treats were local to her in Virginia), I waited with anticipation for the mail. I have to say, I was truly touched and overwhelmed by both her generosity and thoughtfulness with her letter and items she shipped.
There was a bit of everything in the box. A lovely unfiltered honey from an apiary not far from her (honey has been my latest addiction over the past year and my cabinet houses around seven varieties at any given time), some uber-buttery Virgina made shortbread cookies, some lovely sea salted peanuts, a magnet from the Outer Banks (OBX) and some coffee from Front Porch Cafe in Kill Devil Hills, NC. She also included an extremely lovely note and one of her favorite recipes for Cappuccino Spice Cookies.
The coffee, dubbed ‘Kill Devil Quatro,” was exactly as describes on the website, a beautifully balanced, low acidic blend that made me wish they were located in town, instead of over a thousand miles away. The bag was thoroughly enjoyed and was a great way to start our mornings.
I made the cookies just over a week ago and, between snacking on them at home and having The Missus bring some into work, they didn’t last long. I did tweak the recipe, subbing butter for the margarine and making an espresso syrup, using the Kill Devil Blend, instead of instant coffee. They came out like the perfect chocolate chip cookie, with a little splash of spice and caffeine. Which, of course, makes it pretty damn close to being the ultimate cookie in my book.
It was a pleasure to meet Stephanie and I was more than humbled by her generosity and thoughtfulness. I hope that I get chosen to be her pen pal in the coming months so that I can return the favor and send her off a box of delightly delicious–and dairy free–Maine treats.