We’ve been so knee-deep in painting and texturing and all of the other joys of home ownership, that we’ve neglected eating good meals. At first, it was because we were in a house that no longer had a fridge, so we didn’t have anything outside a cooler to store some drinks and hummus. That meant we ate out, ALOT. And not the good, go to a restaurant and eat out type of eating out, but the drive through eating out. I swear we were eating so much crap I had a zit pattern in the shape of the big dipper – not cool. Then, once we decided on a fridge and had it delivered, we stuffed it with Amy’s frozen meals and some CPK pizzas. That, while better than fast food, got old quick as well.
As we got closer to ‘official move in date’, I was beyond craving some meals where we actually cooked. Realistically, I knew that menu planning and grocery shopping every few days to accomplish this was something I couldn’t quite muster up.
I remembered a conversation several months back on my work food talk Slack channel. There, several people were extremely happy about food delivery services and several were using Blue Apron. 6 months after those conversations, I asked in the channel if there were still positive comments. Not only was that a yes, but one co-worker used it enough to have a free week giveaways. I gladly decided to try it out.
I decided on Tuesday deliveries and the package arrived at our doorstep mid afternoon. I read some complaints about food sitting outside even with it packed well with ice. One of the many benefits of working from home, is as soon as it was delivered, I got to unpack it into the fridge.
My first thought was, what a lot of packaging (and waste!). Since what is shipped is only what you need to accomplish the recipe, there are a lot of tubs and bottles that are shipped. On the plus side, all of the BA packaging is recyclable and even if you don’t live in a community that heavily recycles, every few shipments you can ship back all the packaging to them and they will recycle.
So with 3 recipes to make, we dove right into the first one – Sauteed Shrimp sandwiches with saffron aioli and celery-parmesan salad. The only thing that was a real drawback for me was the shrimp sandwich was served on a hotdog bug – which didn’t hold up at all to the weight of the shrimp and sauce. That quibble aside, the flavors were quite good and I was happy to have eaten non frozen, non takeout food.
The next day, we decided to make the Cumin-Sichuan Beef and Noodles. Even after dumping all the of ‘spicy’ sauce, this wasn’t nearly as spicy and flavorful as we would have liked. The beef wasn’t the quality we use for our stirfrys (we tend to get better cuts even when we are doing stews or stirfrys) but the portions were huge.
Finally we cooked up the last recipe on Thursday – Chicken Cacciatore with creamy grits and basil. This was by far our favorite and one of the few times I’ve cooked grits that I really enjoyed. It was also the first meal we’ve eaten on non-Corelle dishes since we hit the road 4 years ago. Exciting!
What I like:
- No thinking or menu planning, and the recipes were straightforward and easy to make
- Pre-measured everything makes prep go quickly – it’s mostly chopping veggies
- Inventive enough recipes
- It’s fast, but not fast food or frozen meals
What I don’t like:
- The produce isn’t organic (or if it is, it’s not advertised as such)
- I have no access to ingredient lists, so I can’t tell if the bun for example had corn syrup, which I try to avoid.
We decided that while we slug through our home improvement hell, this will be a welcome addition to our meals. We hope to eat Blue Apron Tues, Wed and Thurs. That leaves Friday and Saturday for more of the challenging and ‘fussy’ cooking we like to do, with Sunday and Monday as our eat out days as we love those days without wait times and crowds.
I know there are other food services like Blue Apron out there – have you tried any? Any recommendations?