The food blogosphere is a generous community, I've discovered.
You can hardly meet a fellow blogger without being given something to eat.
I've even observed competitive giving in social settings, but what's wrong with that? A little potlatch behavior is fine if it doesn't go too far.
Some of us use our food bounties as an excuse for getting together. A friend invited me and Cranky for lunch recently to help harvest her apple tree. I had a group of pals over to strip my pear tree in August, and we all turned it into a potluck, potlatch party with homemade (and gifted, by a guest) pear brandy.
Sometimes the food offerings are of a less gardeny variety. On at least two occasions, the Rev. Dr. Biggles has schlepped meat (and charcoaled wood) over to my house to dazzle me with fire and animal flesh.
I was recently the grateful recipient of wild mushrooms from the friend of a friend.
Some of my food gifts to bloggers have been simple, regional foragings of wild fennel pollen and seeds.
But the other day, one of my pals brought lunch. Oh, he didn't stay around to actually eat it. It was a tub of frozen soup. For later.
The Sourdough Monkey Wrangler says this recipe for minestrone has been handed down in his family for 150 years. He told me how to cook it (add a little water; some egg tagliarini would be nice) and he even included a cute little cube of Romano cheese to grate over the soup.
Oh, and he brought some apple/pear cider made, in part, with pears from my tree. Plus a sack of produce gleaned from his in-laws' property.
Well, what could we do in return?
I had already put aside a jar of pickled serrano chiles from my yard, commingled with jalapeños from Meathenge Labs. What a wimpy offering.
So we traipsed out into the yard and, with a knife, hacked off a vivid bunch of celery, two leeks, one eggplant, and tossed them into a bag, dirt and all.
On top of that went a huge handful of Smarties, the Canadian candies left over in a big metal bowl from Halloween. (Wrapped in cellophane! Come on!)
Best I could do.
Anyway. The soup? Wow. It tasted like Not My Cooking. Other People's Food.
Strange new flavors. Deep, texture-y, potent.
What a fun life we've stumbled into.