Gourmet Meals in a Box (you’re the chef)

The only time I have ever enjoyed grocery shopping was when my Mom lived nearby and we shopped together. I harbor a strong dislike toward the task, but my Mom can turn anything into a near circus. We would stroll the aisles, catching up on our respective single-lady lives that week, and Mom would be startled by something and give a little “whoop!” (or drop whatever was in her hand), or she would repeatedly remove her bags from the self-scan area before she was allowed to, and inevitably a store associate would come over and sort it out because I am useless when laughing hysterically. Grocery shopping with Mom = good times.

Mom moved back to Wisconsin several years ago, and we all knew this day would come…I have turned to complete strangers to grocery shop for me. Ha!

I tried. I would search for recipes, try to recall what was in the pantry–I was never at home when the inspiration to peruse recipes would strike–and then would go to the store, be shocked at the prices, haul it to the car, haul it up the stairway to heaven my condo, only to find I was missing one or six key ingredients. You know what I would do then? Nothing. I would say to myself, you can get those items tomorrow. And tomorrow became the next day, and by the week’s end, I would toss the rotted food in the trash (except for the fruit; I always ate the fruit).

The ready-to-eat items I purchased would be eaten the same day. As soon as the bags were unloaded, I would stand at the kitchen counter with the orzo salad, olives, snap pea crisps, and 85% dark chocolate and eat until my tummy hurt. Then, for the following five days, I would dine out for lunch and eat cereal for dinner. Rinse and repeat.

Occasionally, I get it together and cook some meals, but for the most part I feel awful about being wasteful with the food I purchase. So, I’ve been thinking about those gourmet meal delivery kits. All of the ingredients for two or three meals are packed in a box and shipped right to your door. Along with the recipes. It sounds too good to be true. A fantasy world. It has me written all over it!

Bowl of long life noodles
One of the ingredients from this week’s Plated box

You know I’m a sampler, so I can’t simply research and choose one. I’m going to try at least three of them. I am preparing the last meal from my first Plated box tonight, and plan to try Blue Apron and Hello Fresh as well. I’ll give you the 411 on each, and thought I would hit these categories:

  • delivery and packaging
  • quality of ingredients
  • ease of preparation
  • TASTE!
  • value/price

Are there any other categories you would like to hear about? Let me know, because Lord knows if you ask me after the fact, there is a snowball’s chance I’ll recall something without it having been on the list. I am a list-keeper for good reason. And let me know if you have used one of these dinner-in-a-box services. I would love to hear your thoughts!