Poll: Reduce, Reuse, Rebread?

Recycling is a great idea, but when it comes to food, I’m not so sure. By that, I mean food that another person has touched. Let me explain…

Although the Atkins and South Beach diets helped to effectively diminish the trend of U.S. restaurants automatically providing clients with a bread basket before their meal, the practice is still alive and well in Paris. Mmmm mmm mmm I love me some crusty, chewy, freshly baked bread. Scarfing countless loaves of the French staple has been one of my simple pleasures while spending the summer in Paris. But something has stopped me in my tracks…

I’ve been noticing some restaurants — usually those that don’t put a significant focus on providing high quality bread — reusing baskets of bread. I’ve watched as waiters clear bread baskets from diners’ tables, put them in a stack off to the side, and then reuse that same bread for a future customer. An American I talked to said she had even broken a piece of bread in half, unconsciously played with some of it while talking, and put it back in the basket… only to have a waiter take that very basket and put it on the next table.
Bread in a Parisian restaurant

One the one hand, I love the idea of not letting food go to waste. Food waste is a huge problem, especially in Western cultures, so it’s good to see an effort to combat the issue (particularly in a place like Paris where food waste is pretty high because doggy bags largely are not a thing). But on the other hand, I find it really gross to reuse bread. It seems really unhealthy to transfer from one person to another a product that could be harboring germs and will go into another person’s mouth. I’m genuinely torn.

What do you think, dear readers? Is reusing baskets of bread (or other foods) revolutionary or repugnant? Vote below and feel free to elaborate in the comments section.

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