Latest Trend in Potlucks Is Revolting

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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

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62 Comments

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Pnukey Pnukey

It will not be the "future of food" for me. We don't even double-dip within our same family here. Ew.

1swee... 1sweetmommma

Any time you go out to eat, you place yourself at the mercyof the cleanliness of others. And at a buffet, on a MUCH larger scale. I mean, really, how many ppl do you see at a buffet go wash before they handle all of the serving utensils? Do you even pay attention? So then, on the note of unbeknownst levels of cleanliness, I suppose you don't eat out...EVER....

Kristy Hinojosa

I wouldn't eat at any buffet if someone paid me to, it's horrible.  I personally don't like eating at someone's home unless I know them pretty well but I'm like the author and am very clean in my kitchen.

Kris Gamble

Growing up in Asia we shared plates of food cooked in poor people's outdoor kitchens with our HANDS so... I'm guessing you won't be experiencing other cultures much.

AllTh... AllThatBabyJazz

When you can't afford things, you've gotta do what you've gotta do 

prinz... prinzesa_edith

It sounds fun and I wish we shared more positive things within the community

GlowW... GlowWorm889

Meh. My friends and I pick off each other's plates all the time. I wouldn't do it with people I don't know, but among family and friends I don't see the harm.

babyg... babygirlsofmine

You're uptight. .  I loved the first sunday of the month when my church would host a potluck after worship service. It's was and has always been a fond memory of my childhood.  About restaurants, just because their are rules doesn't mean people follow them. A waiter or cook could likewise go to the bathroom and not wash his hands or pick his nose without anyone the wiser.  So you'll be taking the same risk when you go to a restuarant.   And you'll probably go hungry if you visit a foreign country since you don't know how sanitary they can be.  Food raves aren't for everyone. At least they won't go hungry and the food might taste pretty good as long as they don't get sick..LOL

momav... momavanessa

We love trying different foods and when we travel we love trying different cultures and the ways they eat food. Growing up our community would get together once a month to have potlucks.


I guess some people here need to loosen up. I am ServSafe Certified So I have gone through classes and I know you can get sick from restaurants to your own cooking. So to act so stuck up and assume that sharing foods is the worst is a bit much! Put a little more trust in other people.

Victoria Goins

I don't think the people who do these food raves are worried about petty stuff like who hand-made their pie. They're worried more about community and getting more out of their food dollar. And since it isn't obligatory (like those annoying potlucks at work and school) I don't think people would serve tainted food. The likelihood of getting sick from a potluck is the same as getting sick at home or a restaurant. This is how humans used to do it, and there's nothing wrong with it. 

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