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Become a foodie pen pal

My first foodie pen pal package

My first foodie pen pal package

Remember in college when you used to get care packages from home? Mine were filled to the brim with all kinds of goodies and supplies.

If you ever pine for those cardboard-box surprises, you’ll love the foodie pen pal program. Each month you’ll trade food care packages. How cool is that?

A dietetic intern living in Ohio started the program back in 2011. Since its inception, the number of participants has increased from 30 to over 1000 with separate programs in the US, Canada and the UK. (You can read more about the founder, Lindsay, on her blog The Lean Greenbean.)

Here’s an overview of how the program works:

  • On the 5th of the month, you receive the pen pal pairing list. The person you’re sending a package to will be different from the person sending goodies your way. You have to contact your pen pal within 72 hours of receiving the match list to get a mailing address and information on preferences and allergies.
  • You must mail your care package by the 15th of the month.
  • On the last day of the month you are supposed to post about your surprises if you have a blog (I’m late).
  • The spending limit is $15.
  • The box must include something handwritten, which could be an explanation of the items, a recipe or any kind of note.
  • You must rejoin the list each month to continue to participate.

My first foodie pen pal was Holly Johnson, mother of four, who lives in Alabama and writes the blog Running & Baking, Oh My! She told me she loves chocolate and snack items. I debated about what to send, hoping to choose items that represented both Atlanta and my tastes, while satisfying my pen pal’s chocolate and snacky cravings.

In the end, I settled on a bag of my favorite locally roasted Batdorf & Bronson coffee, a package of gluten-free cheese straws from Marietta-based American Gra-Frutti, and a brownie mix from Virginia Willis’s My Southern Pantry line. (Yes, I cheated and spent more than $15.) You can read what she thought about her care package here.

The care package I received came from a nutrition coach in Ohio. The package was loaded down with goodies like chocolate hazelnut bars, sandwich cookies, Swedish pancake mix and lingonberry preserves. I couldn’t find the handwritten component, so I’m not sure if the items had any significance.

Nevertheless, it was a bountiful box full of surprises — just like mom used to send me in college.

Who plans to join? You can do so here.

–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

13 comments Add your comment

Greg

March 19th, 2013
8:07 am

This is almost as lame as the word ‘foodie’

Become a foodie pen pal | CookingPlanet

March 19th, 2013
8:10 am

[...] Become a foodie pen pal [...]

Edward

March 19th, 2013
8:37 am

I think this sounds fun. Perhaps your pal just forgot the handwritten part, but I would consider that an important inclusion. Though the packages and notes should be geared more for adults, I don’t see any reason that kids, especially teens, couldn’t enjoy participating in the selection of items and, of course, enjoying receiving the surprises.

Road Scholar

March 19th, 2013
8:53 am

Off topic…Today is Everybodies Pizza’s last day of operation. The pizza is still good based on the huge crowds the past week or so. They usually make 3 batches of dough on their old busy days. Sunday, they made…..9 batches…and sold out. Yesterday at lunch, the crowd waiting for Everybodies to open (11:30) filled the restaurant completely (the patio was closed) and then the line was from the door to the street!

The owner is closing the restaurant after 43 years since he could not find a buyer, but the crowds indicate that the food is still good…no…EXCELLENT! I would hope that the new operator (5 Seasons Brewery) hires the present manager and staff, and adopts the EXACT same pizza recipe and the Parmesan dressing for their salads. Anything less would be stupid!

Uli Kunkel

March 19th, 2013
9:11 am

You can have zee lingonberry pancakes.

Anton Chigurh

March 19th, 2013
9:53 am

So, Road Scholar, did he find a buyer or not? If there is a new operator is that not a sale, or are you saying a brewery/restaurant is moving into the space and you want him to make his restaurant exactly like the retiring guy’s old restaurant?

Road Scholar

March 19th, 2013
10:12 am

The buyer bought the building and parking lot. He did not buy the recipes. I did not say make it into the same restaurant. Have you eaten at 5 Seasons Brewery (that is who bought it)? They have pizza on their menu and it is so so. Making it a brew pub and improving their pizza was my point. They would still use their other sandwich and apps and main course menu.

Anton Chigurh

March 19th, 2013
10:43 am

Thanks for clarifying. If he follows through, you should get free pizza for life.

Road Scholar

March 19th, 2013
10:56 am

Anton: There goes my diet! Thanks!

1164mgc

March 19th, 2013
11:27 am

Looks like you might have gotten leftovers from the Ohio guy’s previous month’s care package…

DeepSouthie

March 21st, 2013
11:32 am

You got a box of food from IKEA (distinctive typography & package design.)

Jenny Turknett

March 21st, 2013
12:11 pm

You are correct about IKEA. That’s one way to stay in budget!