When I first heard of meal delivery services like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh, I thought that there was no way in hell I’d need such a thing. My thoughts veered toward food snobbery – first, I know how to cook! I have tried-and-true recipes! I’m a kitchen goddess! (Wishful thinking…) Secondly – I live in Hawaii – they aren’t going to ship that box here! Thirdly – the expense – I can go to the store and buy ingredients for far less! Smug, smug, smug, smuggity smug with a side of “so there”.
Fast forward to Christmas 2014. A very pregnant me received a subscription to Fresh Box from The Sarge. I had pretty much stopped cooking and most of our meals came from boxes, cans, or delivery. I couldn’t go to the grocery store because the mere sight of food made me ill. Fresh Box meal delivery became our saving grace.
Fresh Box is based here in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu, so my shipping argument went out the window. Every week The Sarge and I would visit the Fresh Box website. If we liked the three meals that were available that week, we’d order the box for $72.00. The owners would deliver it to my office for me – though I could have chosen home delivery too. Inside were all the fresh ingredients we – and by “we”, I mean The Sarge – would need to make three health dinners for two adults.
I didn’t think I’d like it…and I didn’t. I LOVED IT. We aren’t getting boxes right now because I’m on maternity leave and am home to cook. But when I get back to work, we’ll be back to our Fresh Box subscription.
Here’s what we learned from our meal delivery experience:
Have higher standards for the ingredients you purchase. The meat and produce we received in our meal deliveries where always very fresh and had excellent shelf life. Everything was organic and was of highest quality. I had gotten used to grabbing whatever was on the shelf at the grocery. Instead I join my local CSA or go to the grocery store that has higher quality produce or if all else fails, am just more selective when selecting produce and meat at my usual grocery store.
Time is money. And it takes a long time to grocery shop. I thought that $72.00 was expensive, but I was wrong. The value we received was so high that my cost argument seemed silly. Trying to grocery shop and then cook after a 12 hour work day was insane. Having everything we needed to cook a healthy meal from scratch plus all the instructions to do it was worth every single dang penny.
There are more cooking techniques than boil and fry. The recipes pushed us to learn new techniques – searing and broiling were added to our slim repertoire and we learned to appreciate how the cooking technique changes the final meal.
Herbs change a meal in ways we never understood. I was never one to shy away from trying herbs and herb blends in my cooking, but I never truly understood how much they could change a dish. One night we forgot to add one of the herbs to our meal and half way through eating we mixed it in. It was like a different dish! So we got in to the habit of trying the meals we made without and then with certain ingredients and learned a lot about how herbs impact a meal.
We weren’t as adventurous as we thought we were. The Sarge and I always thought we were pretty open minded eaters. We aren’t picky and we like trying new things. But that’s mostly at restaurants. When walking through the grocery store we had blinders on to new foods and were stuck in the rut of picking up the ingredients we knew. Meal delivery offered up new types of veggies and cuts of meat that we had never tried and we were pleasantly surprised by what we were introduced to!
Meal delivery is pretty amazing. I guess you could say I’m eating crow but that’s actually not in the box! (Har har! See what I did there?)