Apparently This Matters: Got leftovers? Wanna trade?

A new app lets you share your uneaten food with strangers. What could possibly go wrong?

Story highlights

  • Leftover Swap is an app that will allow users to share, trade away uneaten food
  • Developer: "So much is going to waste"
  • Bellini: It's sort of like Craigslist for your pizza

When I was growing up, to open my parents' refrigerator was to take a magical journey deep into a strange land of Tupperware that ultimately ended in sadness, confusion and some sort of round, congealed blob of food that may or may not have dated to the Carter administration.

"Mom, what is this?"

"Does it look like it might cause infection?"


"It's soup."

Yes, we were a leftovers house. Be it chicken or rice, you were gettin' it twice!

Though, in all fairness, mom has always been a great cook. So, it was definitely tolerable.

Nevertheless, Day 7 of lasagna never quite had the same pizazz as Day 4. And opening that container on Day 60 risked introducing a newly formed, unknown invasive species into the ecosystem.

"Apparently This Matters" Is Jarrett Bellini's weekly (and somewhat random) look at social-media trends.

"What the hell was that?"

"Might've been a raccoon ... might've been a casserole."

But, hey, you just can't let good food go to waste. And that's why developers at a trending new startup are working on an app called Leftover Swap that might just revolutionize what we do with our extra grub.

But probably not.

Essentially, they're creating Craigslist for your unfinished pizza. Yes, Casual Encounters just got even weirder.

Here's how it works: When you have something remaining from your meal, you snap a photo, post it on your profile and then wait for someone nearby to claim it or offer a trade.

"Your chicken salad for my mac-and-cheese?"

"Deal! Meet me in the park at 7. Come alone. I'll be the one with all the open sores."

"Wait. What?"

Bryan Summersett and Dan Newman are the cofounders of Leftover Swap, and they came up with the idea three years ago while roommates at the University of Michigan. Naturally, at the time, even they thought it was a little crazy.

Newman told NPR, "It was an outrageous joke in 2010, but in 2013, it's very plausible and something that people would use today."

Just eat it, kid. It's free.

I swear I'm not trying to sound insensitive -- seriously -- but the only people I can actually see using this would be homeless dudes who happen to have cell phones. Otherwise, there's just too much risk.

And for what? Tater tots?

Actually, that sounds delicious. I'd travel a few blocks for tots.

(Blocks for Tots also sounds like the world's laziest charity walk. Motto: We're here to help, but only for about 10 minutes.)

Of course, Newman and his business partner are well aware that Leftover Swap is going to be a hard sell. He admits, "It's obviously not for everybody. But for as many people who seemingly have a problem with it, there's people who love the idea."

And maybe there will even be an upscale vintage section so my mom can finally get rid of any petrified brisket lurking in the back of the fridge. You know, somewhere on the lower shelf next to the Thanksgiving turkey.

From 1984.

Yet, despite any eager users that may exist, Newman and Summersett also don't have delusions of grandeur. When they release the app at the end of August, it will be available for free download. They're less interested in making money and more concerned about doing something positive.

Newman says, "In the U.S., we produce so much more food than we consume, and so much is going to waste."

On the other hand, some of that food is also presently being enjoyed by an unbathed man who's just emptied his cat's litter box.

Not with his hands, but still ...

And now he can't wait to share his half-eaten burrito!

Yes, Casual Encounters definitely just got even weirder.

Follow Jarrett Bellini on Twitter.

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