I was raised by a single mom who was excellent at making dinner reservations. We ate out a minimum of five days a week and when she "cooked" it was usually BLT's or grilled cheese sandwiches.
Mom cooked a major meal twice a year, Thanksgiving and Christmas. She always made a turkey with a stuffing recipe passed down from her mother, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn and a cool whip fruit salad. She never deviated from the holiday menu.
I wasn't keen on waking up before sunrise to get that turkey into the oven, so that we could eat at two, so I never got that one cooking lesson that my mom would have given me. As a result, until I moved out on my own, I never learned basic cooking skills.
Fast-forward to now...I'm thirty-seven and I finally feel comfortable in a kitchen. Sure, there is plenty that I still need to master and knives make me nervous, but I have plenty of go-to recipes and I can bake amazing lemon bars.
We've been stuck in a food rut. I've been on a restrictive diet since January and baked fish is getting old. We needed to jazz up our home cooking.
Dan likes tech stuff and he watches Twit TV. On Twit, they sometimes advertise non-tech related products and they give special offers to viewers. One of these offers was for Blue Apron and as we were stuck in a food rut, we decided to give it a shot. They gave us two meals for free with a promo code.
We went to Blueapron.com and registered. We picked three meals- Chicken Piccata, Salmon Burgers and Three Cheese Calzones, and we set our delivery date for a Thursday. On the day of our delivery, the box arrived while I was at the grocery store. It sat in the sun on our porch.
I pulled out all of the ingredients to get them into the refrigerator. The items are packed with enormous, reusable ice packs that kept everything very cold. There was no problem with spoiled food. All of the items were labeled and individually packaged. The meat was vacuumed sealed in plastic. No leaks or issues with anything.
Each recipe comes on its own card with pictures and detailed instructions.
Blue Apron is not for people looking to make quick meals. This is not about convenience. The prep-work for each meal took over thirty minutes. Blue Apron seems to be geared towards people who like to cook or better yet, would like to learn how to cook, but who do not want the hassle of finding a recipe or going to the grocery store.
Blue Apron eliminates the hassle by providing the exact ingredients that you need to make an impressive meal. All three meals were excellent and they turned out pretty much exactly how they appear in the picture. We were so exhausted by all of the prep work, that we forgot to get a snap of the end product. However, we were impressed with ourselves and we enjoyed every meal.
It's pricy, is it worth the cost? Maybe.
On one hand, getting small amounts of spices and other ingredients does cut down on waste and might be economical, if it's not something that you commonly use. However, the cost per-person was about ten dollars, so at twenty for a meal, we could have easily eaten out somewhere inexpensive or paid less to cook it at home.
We came to the conclusion that we would likely try it again in the near future, but that it wouldn't be something that we would have delivered every week. It was fun and we liked that it added diversity to our dinners. We were impressed with the quality of the ingredients and the clarity of the instructions. We didn't like that the calories ran on the high side at around seven hundred a serving. That makes these meals a treat.
Although it's not geared towards the same audience, I'm a huge fan of Dream Dinners, where you go and assemble a months worth of meals that you freeze. The meals tend to have less calories and they are fast to make, yet they still have a homemade quality with no preservatives. I have not done Dream Dinners in a few years, but I'm eager to give them another try.