Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sharing is Caring

There is a tension between the individual wanting it their way and the natural urge to share food. This post is a little more passive observational than many of my posts. Just throwing an idea out there and seeing if it floats.

In the last few weeks, I have noticed a tension between two different approaches to food consumption. There is a tension between the individual wanting it their way and the natural urge to share food.

On the one hand, you have the Kitchen Library on the Danforth which is an extension of the Toronto Tool Library, both who are a member of the so-called new share economy. It is really an internet version of asking your neighbour to lend you something without the hassle of creating a relationship. Okay, that's a little unfair. It is a way for a group of people to share tools and equipment that are rarely used to ensure maximum economic benefit.

Not Far from the Tree is another organization that helps fruit tree owners collect and share their bounty. Owners get part of the pickings and the rest gets used to generate income for charitable causes.

On the restaurant front, you have the rise of communal tables and small plates for sharing. I had a meal in this fashion at Hopgood's Foodliner recently and the server guided us through the appropriate dishes to greet the table.

A lot of these services have replaced or renewed the idea of community and extended family. Growing up in a small town, the idea of borrowing and lending was common. You often helped your neighbour with picking crops and exchanged pickles, jams and excess produce. The internet seems to be allowing this to occur again. Instead of sitting passively in front of the television screen watching Food Network and mowing down some gourmet takeaway from the local gourmet food shop, we are starting to touch someone through the wires and share food experiences.

Cities makes anonymous easier and allow for carrying privacy like a cloak. Cities make anonymity easier and allow residents to carry privacy like a cloak. With the rise of individual wrappings of stuff, like apples, hummus and veggies, fast food restaurants with individualize menus and the fall of family style servings at restaurants, it seems natural that their would be a push back.  Buffets are giving way to communal tables.

As food issues become more prominent in the industrialized world, I wonder how these tendencies will play on the world stage.

Someone suggested the above edit and made a true wisecrack that I must have been sleepy when writing this. Thanks, Chris...

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