I admit it, I derive a good amount of pride whenever I go to the farmers market or grocery store, see what’s in season, get inspired, and whip up something delicious. Not all experiments are winners, but whenever I strike culinary gold, the feeling (and compliments I make my husband shower me with) is pretty great. So when my friends started raving about this “meal-kit” delivery service called Blue Apron, I didn’t give it much thought until this Groupon for Blue Apron showed up – that made it pretty compelling to at least give it a shot.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with “meal-kit” services, it’s essentially a weekly subscription where you can get a 2 or 4 person “refrigerated” meal-kit delivered to your house. The kit for 2 people ($59.94 / week) will include: 3 unique step-by-step recipes (you get to choose 3 out of 6 options), all the pre-portioned fresh ingredients and pre-measured seasonings to create the meal, and the companion app with instructional videos etc.
While I feel like I have a pretty decent Rolodex of dishes in my head (see “pride” reference in paragraph 1), there ARE weeks when lugging pounds of groceries on the subway is literally a drag or when I simply run out of recipe ideas, so here goes… It’s pretty simple to get started, go to Blue Apron’s website to sign up (or buy the Groupon first , if available), create taste profile, select dates for delivery, don’t forget to pay!), cook away, and show off your creation! BAM!
As you can see, the box is pretty huge and contains everything I outlined above, even an insert highlighting their corn farmer – cool beans, or rather, cool corns! The recipes themselves have a short description highlighting the star / unusual component of the dish, have beautiful graphics, and easy to follow, step-by-step photos. In this week’s box, we got: Southern Shrimps & Grits with Zucchini, Corn, Cherry Tomatoes, Tomato Basil Burger with Olive Aioli and Green Bean Tomato Salad (I forgot to “uncheck” the beef box, we don’t eat beef often but it was tasty), and Taiwanese 3 Cup Chicken (台灣三杯雞) with Jasmine Rice and Choy Sum.
How did I like Blue Apron you ask?
- I was impressed by the recipes – everything tasted as good as it looks
- I tried something we wouldn’t normally make (burgers, grits)
- The price tag wasn’t too painful (especially compared NY groceries / take out), and
- The ordering & delivery process was a breeze.
All in all, this service solves probably 90% of the challenges of cooking (not knowing what to cook, can’t / lazy to go to store, don’t know how to cook, don’t want to buy a bunch of spices you might only use once) – pretty genius.
- While locally and responsibly sourced, not all meats and veggies are organic (Blue Apron has this answer in their FAQ)
- The amount of packaging is overwhelming (most recyclable, rest is trash; according to the EPA, the recycling rate in America 2013 was 34.3%)
Blue Apron is a pretty nifty service and I like their recipe database a lot (you can access their cookbook for free). I enjoyed the delivery service while it lasted and I think the pros are pretty compelling than the cons in most cases. For now, I am going to stick with what we normally do and keep the deliveries as a supplementary service when we know we are going to have a super busy week, or the dreaded -20F days, or if I see recipes that are super compelling for the coming week! But who knows, I might get withdrawal next week…
Have you tried a meal-kit service like Blue Apron? Would love to hear your thoughts!