potluckI'm all for a hot new food trend (give me a food truck or pop-up restaurant any day), but here's one I won't rave about -- food raves. Inspired at least in name by the acid raves of the 1980s, these food raves encourage communal sharing of food. Nice in philosophy, but in actual practice, it's one of the most unappetizing trends imaginable.

Basically, a food rave means a whole bunch of strangers coming together and sharing food. Whether they come together through neighborhoods or social media, they gather to break bread and save money on said bread. According to The Telegraph, they are the future of food

The paper quoted Petra Barran, co-founder of eat.st, a London-based street food collective, who described the beauty of such a future:

It is a collective thing. There is a sense of people coming together from the DIY culture, maybe in a big society way, to have a bit of a party and engage with the community. I definitely think there is a void left by rave culture, when people were all together having a really good time.

That sounds all peace, light, and shades of the rainbow wonderful ... until someone gets food poisoning. School, family, and baseball team potlucks are bad enough; you just never know what people do or don't do when they're alone in their kitchen. But when you bring in a bunch of strangers you haven't ever met or watched cook, it seems like a risky and revolting proposition.

I'm meticulous in my kitchen when it comes to washing my hands between poultry and anything else, not even going close to expiration dates on food, and making sure things are cooked to proper temperatures. I know not everyone is; and, call me uptight, but what if they sneeze on the food, don't wash their hands after using the restroom ... or worse? I don't want to eat something with so many, many unknowns. And yes, I've heard plenty of horror stories about restaurant kitchens, but at least there are rules and regulations in place they're supposed to follow. A personal kitchen is an unregulated minefield.

Plus, you know that after you put all that work into a beautiful homemade pie, the one next to you is totally from the supermarket bakery -- that fancy plate isn't fooling anyone. That's just infuriating.

I suppose if you're the risky type or have a stomach of steel, food raves could be your meal ticket. I, however, think I'll stick to food prepared by people I know and trust ... or at least those that have to answer to a health inspector.

Would you eat at a food rave?


Image via theogeo/Flickr