I was looking through my spice shelf yesterday and realized that most of my favorite spices are gifts. Like the amazing sambar powder that I won in a raffle last year from another blogger's kitchen, or the garam masala that my mother gave me that gives even the most ordinary dal fry a little something something. Getting small gifts (and sending them) in the mail is such a fun surprise and you often end up discovering new favorite things this way.
And so, on a whim, I've decided to organize a small swap where we'll send each other two small gifts: a "spice" and "something nice".
The Spice can be homemade or store-bought. It can be a powder or a paste or indeed a bottled sauce. It can come from any cuisine. It should just be something that you personally love using and want the other person to experience and enjoy. If you want to include a recipe, or a note with suggestions on how best to use the spice, that would be fine too.
Something Nice is just a small treat for the other person- a nice chocolate bar, a book or magazine, perhaps a luxurious soap or hand lotion or lip gloss, scarf or earrings, or your favorite snack or beverage. Just one small treat that you particularly love and want the other person to enjoy. Again, this can be homemade or store-bought.
An important note: This swap is only for those living in the US. Why the geographical restriction? Because shipping stuff from one country to another can be (a) expensive, (b) a hassle because of customs forms and paperwork and (c) can take a long time. I know this from doing lots of international swaps on another website. I'm very sorry if I am disappointing anyone, but keeping it within the US makes it easy and quick and affordable for the participants. If anyone outside the US is excited by the idea of such a swap, I invite them to organize a parallel swap in their own country; please feel free to copy any of these swap guidelines and let me know if I can help you in any way.
Another important note: You do not have to be a blogger to participate. You just need an e-mail address which you check on a regular basis, and you have to be willing to meet the deadlines for shipping.
So, if you want to play, here are the details:
1. Sign up by e-mailing me at onehotstove AT gmail DOT com with the following info: Your name, The US state you live in, and your e-mail address. The deadline for signing up is next Sunday, February 3, 2013. NOTE: Sign ups are now closed.
2. I will e-mail you the name and e-mail ID of your swap partner by Monday, February 4, 2013. Chat with them via e-mail and learn a bit about their likes and dislikes and them put together a small package with two things- a "spice" and "something nice".
3. Mail out your package by Sunday, February 17, 2013. Towards the end of the month, we'll start getting our gifts in the mail!
4. When your gift arrives, take a picture and e-mail it to me- I'll do a round up here so we can ooh and aah over what everyone got.
If you think your friends would like to participate, please spread the word about this swap. The more participants, the merrier! This swap calls for very little commitment and I hope it will be a fun little exercise to brighten up winter for us. Have a great weekend, everyone.