Sunday, April 20, 2008

Blogging By Mail: Little Things Mean A Lot

When I got back to blogging last year, the first thing I did was to check if the international food swap Blogging By Mail (BBM) is still ongoing. I had joined the previous rounds before I set aside blogging for more than a year to concentrate on management studies.

Now I'm so happy to learn that BBM still exists, and is now organized by the tireless party hostess Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness. I was too late for the swap last year, but I made sure to join the next one.

This round's theme is Little Things Mean A Lot, but the package I received, from Mrs. L of Pages, Puck and Pantry, was fully loaded, containing things BIG, and obviously assembled with a big heart.

The package represented her blog, which is about her favorites - scrapping, hockey, and food - and Mrs. L and her husband's activities two months before the package came to me. But more than that - for me - what I received represented Mrs. L's generosity and thoughtfulness, because right upon opening it, it became quite apparent that she trawled my blog endlessly to be able to come up with things I like or would most likely make me happy.

Chocolates are a staple in the swap, and Mrs. L's choices are heart-stopping. I've written before that most American chocolates are available here, so she chose those which she hoped are not sold here. And I'm the luckiest girl, for that.

The Lindt chocolates from my aunt in New York are all but a distant memory now, so the Lindt Gold Bunny that Mrs. L included for Easter is such a welcome treat. Then I have fine Belgian chocolates for pleasure (73% dark), vigor (73% dark with coffee), and tranquility (milk chocolate with lavender). A large bar of Scharffen Berger chocolate for baking, a real heavy Brix wine lover's chocolate, and a Creole Bar - 70% flavored with New Orleans style chicory coffee and studded with cacao nibs. With these, I just love to brag about the chocolates I receive!

The last two are pieces right out of our childhood - Tootsie Rolls from mine, and Goo Goo Supreme from Mrs. L's (it is a bit like the choco mallows of my childhood, so I can identify with it, too).

From a trip to San Francisco Mrs. L bought for me a kitchen towel and a magnet from the Boudin Bakery. A "San Francisco style" sourdough starter that was bought, and made, in her hometown (which is not San Francisco), and a dainty little teaspoon with a teacup head for my tea addiction.

The food section of Mrs. L's local newspaper, headlined by the "Top Chef" competition, and a Cirque du Soleil journal. An asparagus cookbook from the Asparagus Festival, which is so greatly appreciated since, like Mrs. L, I also love that spear-headed vegetable. I'm planning to make her current comfort food, roasted asparagus with parmesan, soon.

With the inclusion of seeds of the California poppy, Mrs. L gave me quite a tall order. I must confess I have such a potently black thumb that, even though I love plants, I have murdered a lot of them in the past. Even just cacti. But there is a community garden right where I live, and I have asked the gardener to grow the poppies for me. I hope the Cavite sun slants the same as the California one!

San Jose Sharks pin, and a grow-it-yourself bunny whose ears have been pulled out by my kids (I think they wanted to grow the ears on their own head, silly children).

Thank you so much, Mrs. L, for the package that was clearly assembled with so much care and warmth (stemming from your Filipino heart? ;-) ), and for giving me a taste of California.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Here is an account of my swap partner's reaction to the Filipino goodies that I sent.


Anonymous said...

My daughter, Mrs. L. sent you some nice stuff. I was checking out your recipes to see what I might like. Unfortunately, I do not like fish of any kind. I make my own version of pancit, adobo, lumpia, menudo, and mongo beans. I love gagong with sinigang but I can't cook it because of the smell and neighbors. Everyone who has married into my varied family (men and women) loves the Filipino food. Mrs. L. and I are keeping a lookout as to what we might like to try. I have not been back to Manila since 1945. Long time! Mabuhay (not sure of spelling).

Anonymous said...

I meant to say bagong not gagong! Sorry Roz

Kai said...

Yes, that's a long time to be away. I hope someday the family comes for a visit. Let me know when that time comes, I'll spread you a showcase of Filipino food, without fish. My aunt in NY also can't cook anything Pinoy because of the smell.

You got it right - mabuhay to you, too, and the rest of the family!