A New Way To Experience Thanksgiving
MealSharing.com allows hosts to share their culture and food with strangers around the world
Sharing Meals With Strangers While Traveling
By Luke Dowley
In the past few years the concept of sharing ones belongings with strangers has become a global trend. Car sharing companies like Uber and Lyft allow every day people to use their vehicles as makeshift taxis and cart users around for a fraction of the usual price. Airbnb and Flipkey turn any apartment, house, or vacation home into a hotel for anyone to rent for weeks on end.
Everywhere people are tossing out the old conventions of keeping what you have to yourself and sharing their personal belongings with others.
More than a Tool
For many however, the sharing of property is more than just a tool for making some extra money on the side. “I love meeting and talking to all the people that get in my car” explains Rob, an Uber driver in the Boston area. “Yea the money is great, but what’s better is I drive around making friends and listening to ridiculous stories. It’s not like getting into a cab, when people use Uber they’re much more open with the driver.”
I have found the same thing while using Airbnb across the country in the world. In New Orleans I stayed right in the French Quarter (for a fraction of the price of a hotel) with a lovely woman who went out of her way to make sure I was having a good time in the city and directed me to all the best places for seafood. While in Spain a few friends and I stayed at in a beautiful beachfront condo with a couple that helped us with our Spanish and pointed out the best place to get tapas. These people were genuinely happy to have people share their space.
So why Not Share your Dinner Table?
Recently I discovered MealSharing.com, a website that takes the sharing of personal belongings to the next level. In a nutshell, the website allows users to either “share” a meal or “request” a meal online in over 450 cities around the world. However, what the website really does is connect people across the globe for a night of good food, conversation, and making new friends and connections.
Similar to the other forms of sharing, whether it be rides or rooms, there is a rating system of users in order to make sure everyone has a great experience. Guests can “chip in” to their hosts a monetary contribution to offset the costs of the ingredients for the meal, or bring food of their own for a pot-luck style meal.
New friends in the Boston area enjoying their first meal sharing experience
MealSharing.com takes the social aspect of the other sharing websites and brings it to the forefront.
If you want a good cheap meal where you can sit in peace than this isn’t the way to do it. Stories are shared with drinks and laughter, and in many cases, people are opened up to new experiences and cultures.
In the “how it works” section of the website, this concept of openness is strongly encouraged. “Be open. You're likely to encounter food, customs, and experiences that you don't fully understand. Take on an attitude of curiosity and be willing to participate.”
This isn’t to say that as a user you blindly show up to a meal and, whether you like it or not, have to eat what is put in front of you in the spirit of being ‘open’. Hosts posting their meals they wish to share list what they plan on cooking that evening, and what a guest could contribute if they wish.
If you don’t like what’s being cooked, you don’t have to sign up. Additionally, hosts have their own page with a brief bio on who they are. The only surprise you will receive in the experience will be how many new friends you will make.
The first thing I thought of when searching the various cities available was how perfect this was going to be for my next traveling adventure. Many times when you get to a new place all you want is a real home cooked meal with authentic cuisine from the area. What better way to get that then sitting down in a home for a meal cooked by a local living there?
A new way to experience Thanksgiving
A home-made Moroccan meal in San Francisco
As we creep further and further into the Fall, MealSharing.com is announcing its second annual “ThanksSharing” to promote food and togetherness for the classic American holiday. Introducing the concept of sharing this traditional holiday meal, usually centered around family and friends, with strangers brings us back to what the holiday was originally about.
Very often, people find themselves alone on thanksgiving. However, in many cities they are almost certainly not the only person on their own block in that same situation, or even in their same building. Why not share the iconic American meal with new friends and recipes?
Of course, ThanksSharing is not only for those who are alone on the holiday. Many users last year used MealSharing.com on thanks giving just looking for a new experience. Thanks giving is a holiday surrounded around eating and sharing, and this is just about the best way to do it.
BBQ from boston, a favorite in the world of home cooking
In addition to all the obvious benefits of ThankSharing, hosts will also be able to raise money for local food banks through the website. Now, it feels even better making new friends knowing that others in need will be able to celebrate as you can.
Signing up for MealSharing.com is very simple, and the website is very user friendly. Reviews are readily available to aid in your choice of host, and meals are served nearly every day. For those interested in cooking, becoming a host is just as easy, and you will be sure to find guests to attend your meals in no time.
For more information be sure to check out MealSharing.com
Luke Dowley is a former editorial assistant for GoNOMAD.com and is currently entering his final year as an undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Read more stories about sharing meals on GoNOMAD