Hosting a food swap is a great way to try new recipes and enjoy a get-together with like minded folks — old friends or new ones! With a little planning, you can have a great food swap come together in no time at all, and the rewards are well worth the effort. One of my favorite food swap events is a vegan soup exchange hosted by Rebelle, a local yarn shop run by friends of mine. We’ll use their event as our example.
Devil in the Details: Nail down the specifics
As with anything involving multiple people, the more you can plan out in advance, the less room there is for error. Answer the usual questions of who/what/where/when/why/how and you’ll be set.
Who/When/Where: The Easy Ones
Rebelle had an open invite, anyone who wanted to come could. As a business, that was easy for them, but if you’re hosting in your own home, you might want to be more selective. Whatever you decide, be clear and firm about it in your invitations so that nothing takes you by surprise. Walk through the event in your mind and figure out any concerns ahead of time. Be specific with yourself and again in your instructions. Say “2:00 p.m.” instead of “afternoon.” If you need things wrapped up by 7 p.m., say so. Don’t park in front of neighbor’s house, no kids, anything at all. If you’re confused, your guests will be too, so address everything and anything you think you need to. Everyone will be happier if you, including you. No need to have little stresses get in the way of your good time.
What/Why/How: The Not-so-easy Ones
These are a little more ambiguous. Again, specifics will be your friend. Rebelle specified their event to be a soup swap, with vegan ingredients, made ahead of time and brought in freezable containers. Guests were invited to bring as many or as few containers as they liked; however much you brought is what you left with. Some guidelines were more important than others, and you’ll need to decide that in advance too. For Rebelle, the vegan part was non-negotiable, but the soup part was more flexible. One guest brought homemade blood orange marmalade, and no one minded one bit.
Get the word out
With all the important questions answered, it’s time to get the word out! Use social media that let’s you set up events, like Facebook, or go old school and send out paper invites. Do whatever makes you happy and fits the scope of your swap. Rebelle had plenty of space for their event, so they even printed up posters to put around town. Be sure to include things like contact information, whether or not to RSVP, directions and all those specifics you worked out before hand. The hard part is now done! Sit back, relax, and enjoy your food swap.