It all started when our pals Sharon and Jimmy Snider called and raved about Blue Apron, the fresh ingredient-and-recipe meal kit service delivered right to your doorstep. Sharon said, “Jimmy is doing all the cooking now, Val, and it’s terrific. I don’t even have to shop. I just sit there, sip my wine and watch him cook.”
Then they sent us a “try me” coupon for two meals. “Let’s do it!” Mr. Wonderful said.
“You’re going to cook, right?” I asked when our first 18x18” carton arrived. My recollection is that he said yes.
His memory is that he agreed to watch me make a few meals. “Once I see what’s involved, how to do things, I’ll take over,” he swore. I swear.
Blue Apron is actually pretty cool. Like Hello Fresh (“We Shop, Plan and Deliver) and HomeChef (“Each meal is $9.95 per serving!”), this appetizing “meals on wheels” company delivers delicious dinners with tested recipes and pre-portioned ingredients you need but might not have in your pantry— from hoisin sauce to black bean mayo which, by the way, I’ve never ever had in my larder.
We started with two meals, General Tao chicken for Thursday and a beef concoction for Friday. Inside the insulated box were the meats and fresh veggies, plus a large colorful recipe card providing step-by-step visual instructions, and a bag of “knickknacks,” small containers of spices, sauces and herbs.
While Mr. W sat there sipping his wine and watching me, I laid everything out on the island — knives, chopping board, frying and sauce pans. I washed and chopped the veggies and cooked the jasmine rice. I almost felt like I was working with a sous chef when I opened the bag of chicken breasts and discovered they had already been diced. Nice!
Meal preparation took about half an hour or longer. Afterwards, my sink was filled with a crusty frying pan, numerous pots, dirty dishes. The stove was splattered with grease. But the meals were delicious even though they were also more time-consuming than I care to spend on a weekday dinner.
But here’s the cruncher: someone who shall NOT remain nameless never cooked! The first few meals, Mr. W was right there with me in the kitchen, watching and offering Julia Child-like tips (“I’d slice that scallion a bit thinner”) and snapping photos of the cooked meal.
The following week, I had to turn off the Golf Channel, nudge him out of the recliner and suggest, strongly, that he might want to join me so he could learn how to mince garlic. “Absolutely!” he said.
The next week he was on a “very important phone call, Honey, and I just can’t get off.”
Blue Apron simplifies the lifestyle of working people who want to eat well at home, don’t have the time to shop and are bored with take-out. The meals are healthy, tasty and varied. They are not overly expensive. We calculated approximately $10 per person, per meal.
It’s just not guaranteed to get your husband to cook.