Well, that was an interesting month. Back to work.
Recently I received an offer from Blue Apron in the mail, a discount on my first order, to entice me to try the meal delivery service. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for the blog for a while, so I placed my first order, assigning the cooking duties to The Husband, so I could evaluate the whole shebang from the point of view of someone who does not cook as often as I do.
My take: the recipes are not for the novice cook, or the minimally equipped cook. You need to know to read the recipe all the way through before you begin. You do need to be comfortable with a knife, and own a few pans. You need to be comfortable with some common techniques (sauté, pan-fry, bake, roast, boil). You need to have olive oil, salt, and pepper in your own pantry. But the recipes are well-written, with step-by-step photos, and the meals leave the kitchen remarkably tidy, considering their complexity.
The website is easy to use, and you can even read the recipes before you order to decide if you will like them. The two-person subscription really does feed two people well, but leaves no leftovers. I switched to the family subscription, for four people, after the first order, so The Boy could partake as well. The family plan features fewer recipe choices each week (4 as opposed to 8 in the couples plan), but there is still variety in the flavor profiles, and a vegetarian option each week. You can skip a week by simply checking a box before the deadline each week, without any kind of penalty.
All in all, I’d say Blue Apron does exactly what they say it does; makes it easy for very busy people to have a few home-cooked meals each week that they don’t have to plan or shop for. The price for the meals is lower than any comparable takeout meals, which is presumably what they are replacing. My favorite part, though, is the recipes are yours forever, and unlike recipes you pull from a magazine or website that you think sound good but never get around to cooking, you’ve already cooked these once, so are perhaps more likely to cook them again.
Yes, the packaging is a whole different discussion, but they have worked very hard at minimizing it.
This is Ancho Beef Tacos and Cheesy Sweet Potato, with Pickled Jalapeño and Lime Sour Cream. It was quite spicy and sloppy, and quite tasty. I can definitely see us eating this again.
This is Crispy Potato and Kale Hash, with Baked Eggs and Aged Alpine Cheese. The recipe made two very generous portions, and was also very tasty. The cooking technique was a bit tricky though, and the hash stuck to the pan a bit, which I remedied by covering the pan off the heat for a minute or two, allowing the stuck bits to soften and loosen from the pan.
If you’ve been trying to eat more home-cooked meals and have been curious about Blue Apron, it’s worth giving a try. There is absolutely no minimum obligation, you can cancel at anytime, and it’s kind of a cool no-risk way to get you, and some new recipes, into your kitchen.