Monday, August 10, 2009

...and another weekend rolls to a close!

Here it is, midnight on a Sunday. The grocery shopping is done, as is the banking, mailing, errand running and service going. I now have enough clean clothing and unmentionables washed, dried, and ready for another work week. I also spent the last five or so hours preparing food for the week.

Let me explain how this works. I participate in an event, held every other Monday at the local micro-winery that I frequent. This little soiree is called the Swap Meat. No, it is not a typo.

Every other Sunday night, all the participants spend some quality time making a wonderful main dinner dish. The trick is to make enough for 10 people. When you are finished, you hold back two portions for your own use. Then you package up the other eight portions for the Swap Meat.

On Monday, right after the working day is over, we all meet at the winery (which is otherwise closed to the public on Mondays) and each of us brings our eight servings. All the food is arranged on a long table, tagged with descriptors, and sometimes with reheating instructions. If 13 people show up with an offering, then the numbers 1 through 13 are placed in a hat. The proprietor walks around with the hat and each participant pulls a number.

Whoever is number one gets first dibbs on the food table. They go up, peruse and choose two items made by other participants. We run through the number order four times, and each time, each person picks two items brought in by someone else. At the end of the choosing, each person goes home with eight servings, the equivalent of what they brought in, only they have eight servings of stuff they didn’t make themselves. With the servings they held back of their own, they have enough servings to feed the participating couple for the entire week with no additional cooking (other than the pop into the nuker).

So, say I make 10 portions of lasagna, I take eight servings to the Swap Meat, and come home with two servings each of Quiche Lorraine, and Cornish hens, and Popover Chicken Tarragon, and homemade beef stew, or any number of other choices. The variety is phenomenal. Anyone can do this. Get together with a minimum of four other couples and just swap off. It’s a really great way to cook just once and eat all week with a wide variety of offerings! A side benefit is that it turns into a bit of a social event as well. We swappers agree that a good time is had by all.

Tonight I made slow roasted chicken thighs on a bed of my signature rye stuffing. I’m hoping for rave reviews!