Thursday, May 28, 2015

Blue Apron

ZOMG.

Have you all heard of Blue Apron?

No, this is not an affiliate link.  I’m not getting any perks to advertise it.  I just seriously love it THAT much.  Enough to come out of blog semi-retirement.

So, here’s the thing.  I’m lazy.  You all know that.  But more than that, I HATE shopping.  Like.  Seriously.  Hate.  Not only do I hate shopping, I’m not especially good at it.  Also, I hate leftovers.  I mean, the concept doesn’t bug me, but the reality is - if I don’t re-imagine the leftovers into something new(ish), they don’t get eaten.  So sure, I can make leftover chicken and dumplings into chicken pot pies, but day 2 of chicken and dumplings falls flat.  And what about those ingredients you buy that get wasted because you only need a tiny bit?  When I buy basil, I tend to use a few leaves, not the whole BUNCH (which is why I started growing my own herbs), so the rest end up turning brown and slimy.  Yuck.

Blue Apron (and other food services like it) save that hassle.  No leftovers.  Jen and I get exactly two portion sizes with exactly enough stuff to make two servings.  We signed up for the 3X a week deal, too, since we’re generally on our own 3X a week.  (Sometimes more… but guaranteed those three days.)  It’s so perfect.  Plus, I get to still teach her how to prep and cook real meals.  No more eating fast food because we’re too lazy.

And did I mention?  No freaking shopping!

It’s awesome!

Mostly.

There are some downsides.  It IS fairly cost prohibitive.  The first week we got $20 off.  After that, though, it runs just shy of $60/week.  (At the time of this writing, anyway.)  Now, $60 a week is definitely not cheap.  That’s $10 per person per meal.  While I could say, “Yes, but… it’s cheaper than eating out…” we don’t really eat out 3X a week, so, you know… that.  And while it is cheaper than cooking classes, it’s still sort of a halfass way of excusing the cost.

Another downside is not really getting to pick your meals.  Yeah, you do get to set up preferences - you can eliminate fish, beef, lamb, shellfish, poultry or pork in any combination, or you can sign up for the vegetarian package, but in the end, you’re still getting whatever recipes and ingredients the company decides to send you.  Don’t like Japanese cuisine?  Too bad.  Can’t tolerate Italian spices?  So sad.  This isn’t really much of an issue for Jenica and I - we’re not picky eaters and we’ve (mostly) enjoyed every recipe we’ve gotten, but I won’t lie, there have been a couple of recipes that left us saying, “Meh…” simply because of our own tastes and preferences.  Again: the counter to this is that you can see the menus in advance and skip shipment or change up the menu (if it’s a beef dish you don’t like, remove that as your preference, for example) but I could see pickier eaters having a heck of a time with this type of service.

Lastly, and this is sort of minor, if you find yourself in a busy week where you just aren’t able to find the time to cook - or worse - you find yourself with extra table guests where two servings aren’t going to cut it - well, you’re kinda screwed.  The food is all fresh (a good thing!) which means it’s not going to last forever and needs to be used sooner than later.  It’s a little frustrating trying to juggle how to either make a meal stretch for three (or 4 or more…) or how much longer it’ll last because you didn’t get around to prepping it.  Since we’re (mostly) on a fairly fixed schedule, this doesn’t effect us too much (except for people dropping by wanting food… yeesh!) but I could see these meals getting shoved to the back of the fridge and forgotten if unexpected stuff came up during a week.  Yes, you can skip a delivery, but you have to give a week’s notice for that to happen, which isn’t always feasible.

The recipe cards we get are super nice, full color, great instructions… ah… but here’s another complaint.  There are certain things that come with the recipes that if we wanted to, we couldn’t duplicate.  Tonight’s dinner, for example, came with a “demi glaze sauce”. Yes, sure, I could make some demi glaze, but geeze, we only used about a tablespoon of the stuff (maybe two?) - it seems like a LOT of work to go to for two tablespoons, you know?  And also included was a “spice mix” - and to my knowledge, nowhere did it include what exactly was in the spice mix.  We could smell garlic powder, but the rest was definitely a mystery to our inexperienced noses - and even if we could accurately guess which spices, it’d be hard to know which proportions.  Now does this matter?  Well.  Only in the sense that it’d be nice to duplicate these recipes, or even double/triple them for guests.

I am hoping some of these issues are addressed in the future with the service, but for now, we’ll just be grateful for the convenience and ease of use.  We may not subscribe forever, but I foresee keeping up with it for awhile in order to maintain a healthier diet and some awesome time in the kitchen cooking together.

Posted by Liberty at 01:25 AM

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