I’ve come to the realization that I just do not like to cook. Truthfully, I do not know how to cook and I simply do not have the time to learn. As a stay-at-home mom, I often put pressure on myself to do it all, and cooking healthy meals for my family is something I wish I could do on a nightly basis. However, most nights, my husband grills chicken, salmon or steak, and I prepare an easy side dish. On occasion, I make burritos, meatballs, meatloaf, or chicken Cesar salad, the few dishes I can cook well (so embarrassing to share with you all). But, there are also many nights when we eat frozen (albeit organic) pizza or prepared food from Whole Foods.
Last week, my husband was over it and tired of our usual dinners. We decided to sign up for Blue Apron, a food delivery service we had heard a lot about. According to their website, their mission statement is to, “make incredible home cooking accessible to everyone.” I was excited to try the service because I knew the ingredients were high quality and they would all come pre-portioned for me. I was excited to try the service to learn how to cook more meals for my family, and because it seemed so convenient, easy and delicious!
I waited all last Wednesday for our first shipment to arrive. It came to our home around 3pm that afternoon and I immediately opened the box to see what I would be making for dinner. Inside were ingredients for three meals, which came nicely packaged along with their corresponding recipes. I was happy to see ingredients I normally don’t cook with like kale, pork chops, collard greens, shallots, goat cheese, etc. However, my excitement faded as I began to read the recipes.
Immediately, I knew I was in trouble. Let’s go back to my first paragraph, when I admit, I do not know how to cook. Step One, of the recipe I selected, Spiced Pork Chops and Mashed Potatoes, read as follows: “Wash are dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of slated water to boiling on high. Large dice the potatoes. Peel and small dice the shallot. Shell the peas. Peel and mince the garlic. Remove and discard the kale stems; finely chop the leaves.” Wait, what, this is only step one?!
I decided I better start doing the prep work right then and there. It was 3:00, my baby had just woken up from her nap and would be happy to play next to me while I got started in the kitchen. The recipie said total prep time was 15 minutes. So, I started with the peas and quickly grew annoyed. Shelling a whole bag of peas is time consuming, completely inconvenient and totally unnecessary. After what seemed like forever, I put all the shelled peas in a Ziploc and moved onto the potatoes, which were easy enough to dice. I think I managed to small dice the shallot pretty well, even though I had never cooked with shallot before, and same goes for the kale. But, the garlic was another story. I’ve watched plenty of cooking shows where chefs mince garlic, but it was much harder than it looked. Where was the jar of minced garlic? I simply had no idea how to do it, and opted against figuring it out because it was time for me to leave to pick my son up from school; it was now almost 3:45!
So, I had gotten step one out of the way after 45 minutes, which may have taken longer because I was also entertaining a baby, but the rest would have to wait until 7pm when my husband got home. The subsequent instructions seemed easier, but still rather time consuming. First, I boiled and mashed the potatoes with a fork. Then we needed to season and cook the shallots and peas, then in the same pan, cook the pork chops. Once those were cooked and removed from the pan, we cooked the kale (minus the garlic), and finally plated our dish. Total cook time was about 40 minutes, and could only be completed with the help of my husband, who was less than excited to come home from work and cook.
As soon as we finished our meal, which was only good not great, we cancelled the service. There was simply no way I was going to have time to cook like that on a nightly basis. I then took to Facebook to vent my disappointment with Blue Apron, and was shocked to see many others commenting and sharing their similar experiences. Bottom line, if you are a busy mom with only basic cooking skills, Blue Apron and other Food Delivery Services are not an easy and convenient option for you, save your time and money! With that said, the additional recipes looked pretty awesome and if you like to cook and have time to cook, then give it a try and see for yourself if it is worth it. Also, they do offer free online tutorials on mincing garlic, small dicing vs. large dicing, etc. These videos seem helpful, if you have time to watch them, that is.