Should Bread be Repurposed? brings the bread menu holder to our attention. Le Pain Quotidien, a Belgian chain with franchises in N.Y. and L.A, uses bread with slices to store menus.

“Cool idea” is the prevailing sentiment in the commentary below Jason Kottke’s photo of the menu holder on flickr. I have to disagree. While it’s by no means the most flagrant wasting I’ve seen, it sets a bad example. Food shouldn’t be furniture or a play thing. The menu holders may get hard, but at one point they could have gone to better use.

Le Pain Quotidien’s publicist Lauren Goldblatt said that all U.S. stores employ these doughy decorations.  I called up a couple of New York stores. One employee said they make the holders by cutting fresh bread every other morning and another said they use old loaves from the end of the day. The store doesn’t sell day-old bread, but they do donate excess food to City Harvest

Bread is near the bottom of the informal donated foods hierarchy, because it’s so readily available. That doesn’t mean we should start making bread sculptures. But the bread menu holder is better than one made out of something like a pot roast.

I’m curious to hear your take on the bread menu holder. If nothing else, I guess it shows that food waste has become….quotidian.

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