What happens when three food bloggers get together and post directly from their kitchens? A kitchen of ideas develops, in which hundreds of casual chefs can collaborate, in order to exchange the most wonderful delicacies in the offline world.
It all began with a bar of chocolate. Clara, the food blogger behind tastesheriff, created the dessert, described it and posted it online. Two other bloggers, Rike and Jeanny, couldn’t ignore it. They wanted more than just photos and descriptions, more even than the recipe to make it – they wanted the chocolate bar itself. And they were willing to offer something in exchange: cake, pralines, cheese pretzels, anything.
And so a food exchange was born. The idea was very simple. Each person posted a package to the others and got to sample their food in turn. The spontaneous shipments led, after about a year, to their first in-person meeting in Hamburg. That really got the ball rolling. In a matter of hours, they had cooked up Post aus meiner Küche (Post From My Kitchen) and designed a website for it. And thus the three individual bloggers became part of a greater community project.
On top of this undertaking, of course, the three avid bloggers, bakers and cooks also have day jobs: Clara is an interior designer, Rike a PR consultant, and Jeanny a brand manager.
On the Net and In the Kitchen
Hand-mixed, hand-backed, hand-packed and hand-delivered: Anything created with so much love has to be delicious.
Post From My Kitchen is an impressive idea. Every few months the bloggers will announce a theme, such as “chocolate” or “picnic.” Other food bloggers, readers, and miscellaneous enthusiasts register for the theme, after which they are allocated an exchange partner and apply themselves to the task. The resulting homemade jams, pralines, cakes, sauces or chocolates are then beautifully packed and sent by mail. Afterward the tense waiting begins, as everyone looks out for the post from another kitchen and for the recipient’s exclamations of joy.
The enthusiasm from the online foodie community could be seen from day one. “When we announced the very first theme, we thought that maybe 20 people would want to take part,” remembers Jeanny. But when over a hundred people registered, the three founders flipped out. By now, Post aus meiner Küche can count approximately 1,200 members all feverishly and impatiently waiting for each theme. These hard working tasters, creators and packaging artists are also flanked by over 4,000 Facebook fans.
The three original bloggers are continuously impressed by the creativity of their exchangers.
“We’ve seen so many beautiful things – preserves, pastries, soups,” says Rike. “There are also many super combinations we’d never heard of. The theme ‘Very Berry’ gave us berry ketchups!”
This creativity isn’t just limited to the choosing of recipes. After creators wade through heavy cookbooks, the final result should also be beautiful to look at and to eat…even after travelling a hundred kilometers through the mail.
“Cream cakes are delicious but unsuitable,” Clara states. “A Linzer torte, on the other hand, matures after three days and still looks good when it arrives.”
As far as packaging goes, the kitchen artists must think not only of safety during transport, but also of good presentation. Here too do many of the casual chefs – from across Germany, Austria and Switzerland – excel themselves, as Clara says:
“A lot of the packaging is ridiculously complex, with bows and ribbons. I once got a package with a lighting installation. It lit up when I opened it.”
So Who Cooks?
Wrapping, unwrapping, finding recipes, thinking how to approach the theme: it’s hard to say which part of the challenge is the most fun.
“Of course everyone enjoys the packaging. I always get so anxious when I’m waiting to hear what my exchange partner will say once they unwrap it,” says Rike.
“It’s because it’s bringing joy to someone else, to a stranger,” adds Jeanny.
The founders of Post aus meiner Küche visit Coca-Cola in Berlin.
Cooking for someone you don’t personally know is always exciting, first and foremost because fans of Post aus meiner Küche are a colorful lot. There are of course other food bloggers, but there are also mother-daughter teams, grandmothers, a few men, and casual chefs. Sometimes you can even meet up with your exchange partner, if you want to, in order to deliver the food.
“With the ‘Picnic’ theme we paired people up according to their locations, and many of the met up in person. So we’re bringing Web 2.0 back into real life,” the three founders explain.
After that success, it remained to be seen just how many kitchen-mailmen will be convinced in the next round to meet up and eat with strangers. Coming up next was a Coke-inspired theme: “It Tastes Better Together.”
A Slice of Luck
Everyone knows that we eat alone far too often, and that food tastes so much better when you’re with friends, family or neighbors. And it also tastes better when you’re exchanging delicious gifts with another person. Therefore the Coke theme’s full title was “It Tastes Better Together – Have a Slice of Delicious Luck.”
And since we all also know that food makes friends, this past Friendship Day (July 30), Post aus meiner Küche renamed the date “Exchanging Delicious Treats Day,” a day for sending joy-bringing delicacies to others. This day wasn’t just a solo PAMK project, but (as the theme name suggests) a collaboration with Coca-Cola and the online magazine sisterMAG. As an extra special incentive, the exchange participants were entered into a chance to win a Coke-red KitchenAid mixer. More information on this special event can be found on sisterMAG’s July blog entry, in English here.
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