Full disclaimer – we are experienced home cooks and definitely qualify for foodie status. So why would we consider a meal kit delivery service? Well, we’d seen commercials and watched some friends try them via Facebook and the only thing I could think is when we are housesitting, it might vary our meals a little more without having to buy a bunch of ingredients we would never use again. But this would only work when we were at a sit long enough and frankly, part of sitting is seeking out local foods and shopping the local markets so we would only want to get a few meals. As luck would have it, we were able to try a meal kit service on two recent sits, courtesy of our awesome homeowners.
On the first sit, the homeowner said they started Blue Apron as they were tired of cooking and the decision making that goes with it. They thought because there were no leftovers and they only got what they needed for that meal, it saved them money in the long run. A recent article about a study done by Dr. Oz and his team supports this. They had an extra meal they wouldn’t use before they left and asked us to eat it so it didn’t go bad. How thoughtful! As it turned out, it was an Alaska rockfish recipe with a kale side – being from Alaska, it was amusing to see the rockfish and kale isn’t Cabana Boy’s favorite but we made it, it was tasty and we really appreciated the trial run.
Then came the real trial at a house sit several weeks later. As we were in the area, we stopped by to visit with the homeowners. In showing us around, we saw boxes and freezer gel packs from Blue Apron in the garage, waiting to be sent back for recycling. I commented how we had been interested in the meal kit service and we’d been fortunate enough to try a meal at our last sit. In confirming details by email later, the homeowners said they wanted to buy us a week of Blue Apron to try while they were gone. So incredibly generous that at first I insisted it was too much but they really wanted to so we agreed and picked our meals from the list they sent us. They confirmed delivery would be the Friday afternoon after they left and we’d need to be home then or soon after to ensure it didn’t get too warm.
We moved into their house on a Wednesday and only purchased enough dinner stuff for a couple days. Friday came and FedEx showed up at the door in the afternoon as promised. The box they left was fairly compact. It readily identified what was inside which I’m not sure I liked. On one hand, you know to scoop it up and get it into the fridge. On the other hand, it advertises there’s a full box of food sitting on the porch just waiting for someone to snatch it. But if someone needs food that bad, I think they are welcome to it.
We immediately opened the box to see what we’d received – honestly, we’d forgotten what we ordered! There was an insulating liner inside the box and two big freezer gel packs. I think the food would have stayed plenty cold even if we hadn’t made it home til late that night – and we were having nice 70ish temperatures in Washington at the time.
There are three meals in each box and a recipe card with pictures and very detailed instructions for each meal is included. The nice thing is if you liked something, you can save the card and replicate it in the future since the ingredients are listed.
Each ingredient is labeled to make it easy to find what you need. In addition, each meal has a small brown bag labeled “Knick-Knacks” that holds all the small bits of things you’ll need for the meal so they don’t get lost in the shuffle. We sorted through everything and put it in a dish to keep it all together in the fridge. We got this idea from a bin used by the last homeowner for their meal kits. On one hand, everything is together and you can just pull the bin/dish out and grab what you need for that night’s meal but if I was doing it at home, I think I’d put my produce in the crisper drawer and my meat in the deli drawer. But I do think I’d try to keep it all a bit separate from the other things.
After popping it all in the fridge, we discussed when we might prepare the meals. This was tough for us as our plans had evolved – as they are wont to do. We had plans for that night’s meal and had family coming the next day so likely wouldn’t start then either. And we knew we’d be hitting the farmer’s market, something we love to do when housesitting, and there would be veggies and fruit from that to consider as well. We decided Sunday would be the day we’d begin and we’d cook through all three in a row rather than interspersing them with other meals. If you had this box coming weekly, I think you’d likely become more adept at integrating it with meals you purchased locally. But with the dish of meal kits staring us in the face every time we opened the fridge, we knew that would be the star of our week’s meals.
Stay tuned for more posts as we cook through the box!