Best When Used By

Best When Used By: Reactions

Since I started working on Best When Used By, I’ve gotten two distinct reactions from people to the idea of a website for tracking food-related information:

  1. “That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.”
  2. “That’s a neat idea; I’d definitely use it.”

Both opinions have merit, but I think it boils down to how ubiquitous you allow computing and the Internet to be in your life. If you’re like me and you already have a computer in your kitchen and/or a mobile computing device on your person, it’s not a stretch to think of uses for them in the aspects of your life that are not traditionally digitally affected. If you only go online on the computer in your den to check your e-mail and read a few blogs, it might seem ridiculous to spend time cataloging the contents of your refrigerator.

Time will tell, I suppose. But I don’t think that this guy needs to worry; I doubt that Google is interested.

Best When Used By, Lifehacker, Project X

Best When Used By

So my side project that I’ve been working on is now in something of a public beta, as it got linked from Lifehacker earlier today.

It’s called Best When Used By, and it’s a site for tracking the expiration dates of your perishable foods. You put in a food and its “use by” date, and then the site e-mails you a few days before that date to remind you to use the food. That reminder e-mail will also link to recipes that use the food as an ingredient.

I started the site after realizing that I tend to forget about food in the fridge until it’s too late, and I have to throw it away. Countless jars of spaghetti sauce, partial loaves of bread, and blocks of cheese have met their moldy demise because I just wasn’t keeping track of their lifespan.

I’m maintaining a blog for the site over here, so if you’re interested in the project, you can subscribe to the RSS feed to stay updated on any new developments.