Last month, a fellow Booth-mate left a comment on one of my posts that saved me a lot of time, some real money, gave me time with friends, and packed lunches for me. She wished to "find other families who eat the same way [she does] and create a supper club (4 families cooking bigger portions so we can share the work and cook less)."
JessTrev was on to something. With all this talk about the Depression, it makes sense to look back at how our grandparents and great grandparents survived and even thrived in hard times. I recently skimmed through Little Heathens, a Depression-era memoir, and one of the things that stood out was that, while there was a lot of work to be done, the burden was usually shared making the task much more pleasurable.
Sometimes, that meant that people got together and built a house, planted a garden or made jam together. Having done the latter with my green moms group, I can attest that it is a lot more fun than jamming on your own.
Other times, that meant trading items. Swapping biscuits for jam, eggs for milk, radish seeds for seed potatoes.
I decided to take JessTrev's supper club idea and turn it into reality. Eighteen months ago, I started a book club focused on green books by sending out a few emails on the mothers' club board. Over the months, we've morphed into a general green moms group. We still read plenty. But we also watch eco-movies, go on retreats to organic wineries, pick berries, plan gardens and, now, after a couple emails on the topic, do swap snacks.
Last weekend, we exchanged what one friend would later call "$1000 dollars worth of baked goods" considering the time that went into them and what some of the bakers are paid for their day jobs. There were soft pretzels, saltines, graham crackers, oatmeal raisin cookies, carrots mini muffins, raisin bran muffins, shredded carrots packaged in saved salsa containers, and dried fruit.
By trading snacks with our friends, we each walked away with a month's worth of healthy, homemade food, made by people we know and trust without preservatives or other scary ingredients. The swap also forced many of us to expand not just our baking repertoire but our eating one as well. We saved money with all those "made from scratch" goods and, because we packaged everything in our own reusable containers, we skipped the plastic and packaging that comes with buying ready made snacks. There was even a little social time involved in the drop off and pick up -a glass of wine traded, school fundraising ideas or gardening plans exchanged and borrowed items returned.The following night, I slapped together three lunches in under three minutes. A piece of fruit, some made from scratch goodie or two in each box, a cup of shredded carrots, a Kleen Kanteen full of filtered water, and they were good to go.
Our snack swap - which we will continue each month - proves true another one of those Depression-era adages. Many hands do make light work . . . or at least an easily packed, waste-free lunch.
*Thanks to snack swapping sistah, Elaine, for the top photo.