What Are Your Leftovers Worth?

The recipe made four servings but there are just three of you.
All over town there are working singles tucking into their yogurt and takeout burritos.
Could the solution be more obvious?

Book of Cooks is an online marketplace for home cooked meals.
Home cooks (and professionals) post dishes and full meals for sale—it can be something already in the works or planned for a later date. They can include pictures or video and cite licenses, ingredients, and other pertinent details, including customer reviews and ratings.

Users who lack the time, skills, or inclination can have home-cooked meals that are generally cheaper and healthier than restaurant food. Visitors to an area can use the service to sample a local cuisine or to find foods that suit specific dietary requirements like vegan or gluten-free, halal or kosher.

Is this an idea whose time has come?
It’s recession friendly; it earns a little income for the cook and represents a savings to the consumer.
It reduces food waste, which we are increasingly recognizing as an environmental issue.
It suits our interest in alternative dining—the wave of food trucks, pop-up restaurants, and underground food markets that’s been gaining steam in recent years.
It dovetails with the DIY movement, providing a showcase for cooks and a platform for food entrepreneurs to build their customer base.

Is it safe? is it legal?
Last year’s so-called pie-gate incident brought attention to the often arbitrary and wrong-headed nature of health code enforcement.
It was the traditional St. Cecilia’s fish fry, the Pennsylvania Catholic church’s annual fund-raiser marking the first Friday of Lent. Pies baked by parishioners Mary Pratte (coconut cream), Louise Humbert (raisin), and Marge Murtha (apple) were declared contraband and removed by a state inspector. The harassment of three elderly, pie-baking church ladies raised some hard questions about food safety and licensing issues for alternative food producers.

Book Of Cooks has addressed this by requesting that its cooks respect their local food laws. The site provides relevant links and resources but no oversight. Its cooks tend to be a mix of passionate, committed amateurs and professionals; Book of Cooks is betting that the personal nature of the interactions between producers and consumers provides the necessary reassurance and guarantee of quality.

Would you eat a stranger’s leftovers?

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One Response to What Are Your Leftovers Worth?

  1. We eat all our leftovers so this is not for us. In fact, when we cook, we deliberately cook more just to have leftovers. And no, I can’t say I am really inclined to eat anyone else’s leftovers.

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