Feeling hungry? Maybe it’s time to skip Doordash and Grubhub and try a new online service for your all your snack needs: Etsy.
Yes, Etsy. The charming little place most people go to buy trinkets and homemade knockoffs of copyright works—why Disney hasn’t sued Etsy into oblivion, I’ll never know—is also apparently where amateur bakers are going to hock their delicious goods.
I confess, I don’t Etsy that much, but just to make sure I’m not a complete and total newbie, I asked some Lifehacker staffers if they knew this “food on Etsy” thing was a thing. They didn’t, so I’m taking a wild guess that you might not know, either.
Etsy doesn’t have a “baking” category. Indeed, nothing on the site’s homepage gives the slightest impression that you can buy food from it. Pictures of food? Sure. A crocheted corn on the cob? Absolutely. Something yummy you can put in your mouth and swallow to give you the energy you need to go about your day? No.
Do a quick little category search, however, and the buffet opens up:
You probably won’t see anything on Etsy that’s super-perishable or otherwise requires some fancy cooling setup to ship your way. In other words, no homemade ice cream, chicken nuggets, or pizza—the staples of any strong quarantine diet. Delicious homemade breads seem to be the way to go on Etsy, but you can always make your own if you don’t feel like buying someone else’s creation. Get yourself some yeast and let ‘er rip, or buy someone else’s starter and get going. Your call.
Or you could just say the hell with all of that; it’s too much work and I’d rather sink my face into a giant homemade marshmallow or suitable, snacky upgrade. There’s also my favourite: any and all things gummi. If you live a bit more on the wild side, though, there are plenty of delicious hot sauces you can pick up on Etsy, too. (I’ll pass.)
Homemade goods might be delicious, but unsafe
There’s one bit about Etsy shopping for food that’s concerning. As of right now, it doesn’t appear as if Etsy is using any verification method whatsoever—if one even exists—for sellers to prove they’re following their state’s laws about food manufacturing and sales. For example, Californians can make and sell food out of their houses all they want without an inspection, and even do so online. However, the buyer has to pick it up directly from you; you can’t ship it out. If you’re an Oklahoma baker looking to ply your trade on Etsy, well, good luck.
Editor’s Note: You may also have trouble importing some of these goods, given Australia’s strict biosecurity laws. Search for local goods and you may have better luck.
Frankly, I don’t care much about people selling whatever they want out of their homes. But you’ll have no way of knowing what a person’s at-home cooking setup is like: how clean and sanitary it is, whether the food is prepared around other foods that you might be allergic to, how long whatever item has been sitting around before they sold it to you, et cetera. And while that’s sort-of true with any food item you buy online, I’d feel a little better about buying a brownie from a regulated and inspected business than some random person’s kitchen.
And that’s only amplified given the crazy pandemic times we’re living in right now. So, while you might be a little adverse to buying “mum’s delicious chocolate chip cookies” on Etsy right now, this is something you might want to mentally bookmark and revisit once COVID-19 has died down a bit—vaccine or otherwise. But if the concerns about homemade food don’t bother you, and you’re feeling snacky, don’t overlook the arts-and-crafts site’s secret menu.