Refrigerator Matchmaking

“You got a chicken leg?  I’ve got some mashed potatoes.  See ya at seven!”

Photo by semarr

Photo by semarr

I’ve been out of the dating scene for a while now, but I have my share of memories.  My first date was with a dear friend…who just happened to be gay.  Since then I’ve been set up by other friends (whatever happened to that guy who seemingly couldn’t wait to get away as we said goodnight?  Oh yeah, he’s remarried), been offered moonshine at another date’s dwelling (I rather regret declining now; I’ll probably never get another chance), tried a few online services (why do they insist on matching you so contrarily to your stated preferences?), and been temporarily intrigued by the concept of kissing dating goodbye.  I’ve heard tales of woe from friends and coworkers about being stood up and the shortage of good partners, been asked out to lunch by a caller on the helpline where I volunteered (both policy and common sense prompted a kind refusal), and been approached by a widower at least 20 years my senior while walking in my neighborhood, with health problems that included a palsy so severe, I had to write my phone number for him (I was too soft-hearted to turn him down flat just then).  I can’t say I miss the dating scene all that much.

But I’m still occasionally surprised by the methods people employ to meet that special someone…and that includes something I call refrigerator matchmaking.

I was in my car waiting for a red light to change when I heard about “restdejting” (roughly, “leftover dating” in Swedish) on the radio.  My first thought was that this was one for the “Now I really have heard it all and can die” category.  But as more curious trends wander across my path, I’ve had to put off my funeral arrangements in favor of frantically groping for a pen and paper with one hand while the other’s on the steering wheel…and eventually blogging about them.

Pairing people by their leftovers is the brainchild of Swedish farming cooperative Lantmännen, which claims that one-fifth of the country’s food goes to waste.  That’s a whole lotta leftovers – why not share them instead of dumping them?   Let’s face it, cooking for one can be a challenge, not to mention lonely, so environmentally conscious and interested singles can now simply enter up to five ingredients/leftovers found in their kitchens on the Restdejting dating service page, which lists are then posted on Facebook.  Or they can note what they’re looking for and the size of the meal they’re planning to enjoy, and wait for a match.  It’s not unreasonable to think that if you find someone with similar tastes in food, you’ll have other attributes in common.  At the very least it can spark a dose of culinary-themed eloquence: how many people do you know who advertise themselves as a “Large walnut looking for strong cheese”?

Given that the Environmental Protection Agency quotes an annual food wastage of no less than 33 million tons of food in this country, I’d love to see Americans embrace the concept of “restdejting.”  But of course I also wanted to know if it worked.  Apparently it has, for about 600 people as of 2011.  And a quick poll revealed at least one person who would be game.   Said my friend Joyce, “If I weren’t a married woman, I think it would definitely affect my dating choices if I could check their fridge for healthy food leftovers.  Leftovers are more significant to me than what a man buys at the grocery store, because they’re proof of what he actually cooked and ate, not just what he bought.” 

A final “Pro” for successful refrigerator matchmaking, even if it doesn’t lead to a love connection?  Lantmännen spokeswoman Jenny Svederman noted that her cooperative has reaped a bonus of publicity for their cause:  “As a food company, this is where we can be relevant and contribute.”

I’ll eat to that.

* * * * *

How about you?  What do you think of “restdejting”?  Would you be willing to give it a try, looking for a possible partner or in support of World Environment Day on June 5?  Write me and let me know.

Next week I’ll be lightening things up a little with “In Praise of the Rubber Duck.”  (Hint – it’s not just for the tub anymore.)  Hope to see you there!

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