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Would You Eat a Restaurant Meal Made from Trash?

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Eating leftovers for dinner is no big deal when they come out of your own fridge, but we all assume we're indulging in a freshly made meal when we’re paying to eat out. And most restaurants deliver on that expectation—but often at the expense of tossing perfectly good grub at the end of the night.

Now, a popup in New York is turning that expectation on its head. WastED is taking the ingredients that normally get tossed—bruised produce, fish bones, scraps of meat—and creating economical and innovative entrees for diners. They're partnering with local farmers, fishermen, distributors, restaurants, and retailers to collect the “waste” that occurs every day. (6 Secrets to Make Fresh Foods Last Longer.)

And they’re putting their thriftless intention on full display: WastED's menu boasts specialties like "dumpster dive salad with damaged apples and whipped chickpea water" and "dog food" meat loaf with "unfit potatoes and gravy." Hey, it seems a lot less creepy to serve scraps when you’re upfront about it. (Don't let restaurants pull one over on you with 12 Ways to Decode a Restaurant Menu.)

Even if you appreciate the novel idea, you may wonder if the intrigue stops there. But reviews of the food report that it’s actually delicious. We shouldn’t be surprised: WastED’s popup has taken over the renowned farm-to-table Blue Hill Restaurant for the last half of March, so they have big shoes to fill for a few weeks.

And while the sustainable message is important, this is not a lecture series, WastED mastermind and chef Dan Barber told Tasting Table. "This is about hedonism and pleasure. If the food isn't delicious, it shouldn't be on the menu."

As long as thrift doesn’t compromise taste, let’s eat!

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