My first guest post! Foodie Penpal Reverse Reveal!

I’m excited.  This post is actually written by my Foodie Penpal. Renée was the recipient of my Foodie Penpal box in April. I’m honored to share with you what she thought, in her own words!  Thanks Renée, I’m so glad you liked everything!  Now, on with her post, complete with her own pictures!  🙂


I loved the idea of Foodie Penpal and was delighted the first couple of months I participated.  My matches were interesting people with generous and intriguing spirits.  I appreciated the boxes of goodies they sent me, the thoughtfulness.  Putting together boxes to send was a pleasure sparked with whimsy and anticipation.  Would they like it, appreciate the offerings, get the jokes?  Would they feel the connection?

Then there were a couple of month when I packed off goodies but received none in return.  Of course you want to believe that something in their lives called for attention, that no harm was meant. But even at my age, that middle-school brain screamed, “They don’t like you.” So I stopped participating.  Occasionally I thought of it and realized that I hadn’t even received the email reminder to sign up. “Told you,” said that insolent little voice.  But the memory of the delight, the pleasure, the intrigue and anticipation were strong.  Maybe just one more time, life happens to all of us.  Not like I hadn’t been late with one box because of other obligations.  So, pull on your big girl panties Brat and dive in, again.


What joy to open a box full of tasty morsels with stories attached and there too a renewal of faith.  Not only had Karen, my April Foodie Penpal sent me local Vermont chocolate (gone within an hour of opening the box) and maple sugar in the iconic and decidedly cute glass maple leaf (resting on the shelf behind the glass panels where the sun just kisses the light amber nectar beckoning thoughts of lazy days with waffles and berries) but she also included from her native Maine, a jar of Stonewall’s Raspberry Peach Jam (savored the next morning with a hurried toast and tea) and her personal secret weapon, garlic and sea salt in a bright orange grinder (proudly a regular in my spice drawer now).  And then finally, there was faith and connection.

In a zip top bag to protect its contents from spillage was a bottle of fish sauce.  The holy grail of a quest I’d been frustrated by when I received Karen’s email introducing herself and asking about my likes and dislikes and what I loved but couldn’t find.

Only a true foodie, a good and kind person would sleuth around to find a bottle of unsweetened fish sauce.  It’s not sexy or gourmet; is actually rather disgusting if you think about it.  But it is as essential as salt and pepper and garlic. Trust me; fish sauce is easy to come by at any ethnic market carrying Asian ingredients.  But all that I’d found were sweetened and so dull the flavor of the dishes.  Or at least that’s what I was told. Second hand; by my sister for whom I’d embarked on the quest because she recalled particular pork curry from a recent trip to Myanmar.  She’d been told to use only unsweetened fish sauce.  She’d looked, I looked.  Fish sauce from Thailand, Vietnam, First-Pressed Extra Virgin Fish Sauce (did they see me coming?) and yet the resultant curries weren’t the answer.  No unsweetened fish sauce anywhere.  Dat Gum!

Enter Karen, my Foodie Penpal.  Next month will be epic!  There’ll be another box to pack and to anticipate.  When my sister comes to visit, there will be pork curry.  It will be made with all the right stuff and it will be soul satisfying.  More please and thank you.


Thank you, Renee,  I enjoyed shopping for you and am thrilled you enjoyed it so much!



Interested in being a foodie penpal?

If you’re from the US or Canada and are interested participating please CLICK HERE  to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 

You must submit your information by  the 4th of the month, as pairings will be emailed on 5th!

*If you’re from Europe, please CLICK HERE to signup.

The Lean Green Bean