Saturday, October 15, 2005

Look! There's a Package Grinnin' at Me!

Yesterday the letter carrier came to my door with a wonderful surprise.

It only took me a minute to remember that I had signed up for Blogging by Mail 2 at The Samantha File . The concept of reaching out to some unknown person in the bloggesphere with something as tangible and reassuring as homemade goodies sounded like fun when I first learned about the opportunity too late for the first round at bakingsheet . It sounded like even more fun when I got a chance to sign up for the second round on Samantha's blog. Now just guess how much fun it was when a package was right there within reach and smiling at me!

I gotta tell you, it's a little like when you're young and you get your first summer job. You do all the things you're supposed to do and then one day, long after you've gone back to school and forgotten all about it, a tax refund comes in the mail. What joy! Forty years later I still remember that rush of absolute bounty from an unexpected gift from the gods. And this felt just like that. Only this time around the gods have a name and the name is Chris Hanlon from Chicago!

I've always wanted to visit Chicago and have never had the opportunity. This was a nice way to touch base with that wonderful city through Chris' kindness. Chris, you made my day yesterday when the package arrived and you're making my day again today when I get to enjoy all the goodies inside!

So, "what is inside?" you ask. Oooooo! Let's have a look:

Right now I'm enjoying a warm cup of the tea that Chris included. It's from her own pantry (which I think is a great and personal idea) so, without packaging, I'm just guessing a little that it's a peach tea. I know it has a wonderful fruity aroma that I started enjoying even before I brewed it. I don't guess you'd know, Chris, but I just love tea!

I had to pull off a corner of one of those huge walnut brownies to go with my tea. They smelled so richly chocolatey when I opened the package and the bite did NOT disappoint one tiny bit. [Aside to Chris, they travelled beautifully and are as moist and fresh tasting as you could possibly hope while the crust has kept it's lovely bit of crisp flakiness. Well done, kiddo! I wouldn't have guessed brownies were good candidates for a trip sealed up in a box but my son, who's away for his freshman year at college, will be glad to know you showed me the way. ;> Perhaps it's because of the waxed, unsealed bags you used? Smart cookie! ]

I'm going to dig into that chocolate chip cookie later. I'm delighted that it's so large my husband and I will both be able to enjoy it. How nice of Chris to have sent his own brownie for him! He sends his appreciation of your baking skills too.

Then, look, there's candy as well! Feels just like Halloween already and that note of orange paper Chris packed them all in certainly helps seal the deal! There are wonderful hard candies and fruity toffees from Poland and Tootsie Pops. Oh my! See? I said it felt like Halloween. ;> And a BIG Scharffen Berger milk chocolate bar. Halloween in Beverly Hills! ;> And check out that upper lefthand corner where there's a box of toffee squares covered in dark chocolate from Trader Joes. YUM! Dark chocolate and caramelized sugar! What could be better?!

Chris, how wonderful that you have TJs in Chicago. I didn't have any idea that they were also outside of California. Chris is a California girl, she writes, so I know it must have been a nice surprise to find TJs there in the Midwest.

As I mentioned, Chris sent me tea from her own pantry. I love that idea and I actually did it in the package I sent as well. I think it gives you an opportunity to send something that you enjoy yourself but can't find in small packages. And it makes it possible to include more variety in packages without going completely broke doing it.

I hope I did a fair job of conveying what fun this has been. I want to thank Chris for her sensational baking and the great pleasure her package brought me. Then I've got to thank nic for the continuing fun of her excellent concept and Samantha for her efforts to get this all organized. And I totally owe a great thank you to Mia Luosang of The Skinny Epicurean because I really enjoyed myself choosing things and packing up her box (a couple of unintended disasters aside but Mia was much too diplomatic to blog about them...)

If you think this is something you'd like to be part of, I think there's still a little time to get in touch with Cathy at My Little Kitchen for the next round. In case you can't tell, I'd recommend the experience enthusiastically!

UPDATE: I've opened several of what I thought were hard candies. They're not. Some are the fruit-flavored soft toffees that I first tried but what I thought were hard candies are fruit gels encased in a chocolate that could perhaps be described as being like a soft, fudgy toosie roll. Most interesting and yummy too! I've never had anything quite like them. Hard candies would have been great but this is a new experience altogether.


Blogger Mona said...

I am truly amazed at the blogging by mail concept. And love it! It's like a grownup pen pal system but even better! I've always loved getting mail for some weird reason (except bills of course) and probably wouldn't be able to handle the excitement of getting a surprise package full of goodies.

10:51 AM  
Blogger keewee said...

I have just come across your blog and sure am enjoying it. Gardening and cooking are also passions of mine.
I will be checking in frequently.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Rainey said...

Ohmigod, keewee, you can't possibly have seen when I did my last entry! It's humiliating to have soooo little to say but I'm glad you enjoyed this entry. It was fun to do but I guess you can see why it would be. ;>

mona, cummon, babe! Suck it up and get ready to have a little fun! Really, it was great. When I was doing my own packages (I was in two swaps at once), I bought all these things that would have felt entirely too indulgent for just myself. But getting them for others made it possible to feel good about buying them, breaking them up into cute smaller packages and enjoying a bit myself. ...then there's the fun of getting the unexpected and mysterious.

Really, think about trying it if it might be up your alley. ;>

2:38 PM  
Blogger Rainey said...

PS to mona- That's a yummy looking picnic in your icon!

2:39 PM  
Blogger Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I find your blog very interesting!

5:01 PM  
Blogger Nic said...

It certainly sonds like a successful package, Rainey. Those fruity toffees sound great!

11:46 AM  
Blogger Rainey said...

it was a most successful! And I'm really looking forward to the next round. I've got a number of items already picked out and I'm just waiting to get my name and addie!

I'm ever so grateful that you got all this fun started.

1:09 PM  

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