Op-Ed: App for Half-Eaten Meals Doesn’t Appeal

Shares
Would you like these leftovers from a stranger? New app LeftoverSwap can make that happen. Photo: Flickr/mariacasa

Would you like these leftovers from a stranger? New app LeftoverSwap can make that happen. Photo: Flickr/mariacasa

When I’m going on a trip, I usually check Airbnb alongside the typical hotel options. Renting textbooks as opposed to buying just made good sense as a college student. And although I haven’t yet needed a ride since Lyft came to Seattle, I like the idea of being driven around in a car sporting a pink mustache.

In other words, I believe sharing is caring.

But when it comes to sharing, I do draw the line. And that line resides somewhere between here and the soon-to-be-released app LeftoverSwap.

The idea is this: Your stomach is just saying no to another bite of your spaghetti and meatballs. So, instead of enduring the noodly leftovers for days (oh, the horror), you snap a photo of your uneaten portion and wait for someone who’s hungry to claim it. Someone who’s really hungry and has a smartphone, that is.

I’m not saying people who own smartphones don’t get hungry — I own a smartphone and it’s 10:13 in the morning and I’ve yet to eat anything today, so I would say, yeah, I’m feeling some pangs that could be considered hunger — but most people who really need someone’s leftovers probably aren’t like, “Hmm, I wonder what the new additions are to the App Store today?”

Then there’s the idea of actually eating a stranger’s leftovers. I, for one, am afraid of condiments, and most people don’t seem to share this fear, so the chance that your leftovers contain ketchup or mustard or mayonnaise or something else that freaks me out is high. How long was the food sitting out before it was refrigerated? Do you have a cold? Did you wash your hands prior to digging in?

The San Francisco Health Department is on my side, telling SF Weekly that leftover food is, in fact, a huge source of food-borne illnesses and other pestilence.

Reduce food waste and fossil fuel use while increasing the population of northern spotted owls with LeftoverSwap. Photo: LeftoverSwap.com

Reduce food waste and fossil fuel use while increasing the population of northern spotted owls with LeftoverSwap. Photo: LeftoverSwap.com

I like the ideas that govern LeftoverSwap — wasting less, getting to know your neighbors, saving the northern spotted owl (yes, that’s really one of the selling points) — but I just can’t see myself browsing through photos of partially eaten meals to find one that looks tasty.

What I can see myself doing is putting my leftovers to better use, like turning leftover produce into cookies, taking half-finished bottles of party alcohol and making them into something new or trying out an app that has recipes for leftovers — my own leftovers, that is.

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Haley Shapley

Haley Shapley is based in Seattle, where recycling is just as cool as Macklemore, walking in the rain without an umbrella, and eating locally sourced food. She writes for a wide range of national and regional publications, covering everything from sustainability and health to travel and retail.