There are now tons of meal kit delivery services out there: Blue Apron, Green Chef, Hello Fresh, Plated, Munchery, Terra’s Kitchen, Fresh Direct, Peach Dish, Chef’d, Takeout Kit, Purple Carrot, and probably more, but despite the variety on offer, few of their menu items are appetizing to me.
A selection from this week’s menu: Khao Soi Burmese Curry Noodles? Rainbow quinoa with pickled red beets and crispy bay-spiced sole? Corn and summer squash risotto with basil and gruyere cheese? Wild swordfish with chimichurri, butternut squash and roasted vegetables? Coconut jasmine rice with fried plantains and corn pico de gallo? Sheet pan-roasted chicken with lemon-arugula potato salad? Beef and eggplant stir-fry with roasted shishito peppers? Soba noodles with snow peas and marinated enoki mushrooms? Chickpea-powered Mediterranean couscous with zucchini and heirloom grape tomatoes?
Some (apparently quite a few) people find this type of variety perfect for their lifestyle. I prefer simple: Meatloaf. Sloppy joe’s. Mac & cheese. Pepperoni pizza. There’s no “with quinoa and arugula tahini and açai zucchini sauce” or any of that nonsense. There’s rarely a “with” involved at all, save perhaps a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Now, I also might be willing to go a bit more adventurous on a few things, like the lemon-herb salmon with Greek feta rice, but—problem—this serves two. I highly doubt I could get my wife to eat it. She’s quite satisfied with a grilled cheese sandwich, or even peanut butter and jelly, with a handful of potato chips and a bottle of water.
My life may be getting a bit more complicated. As of this writing I am…let’s just say overweight, but willing to do something about it. Going to a restaurant where the average item is 1200 calories for the entree (with unlimited french fries) certainly doesn’t help matters, even if it is an occasional thing. My wife is wont to box half of it up and eat it the next day. I’ll eat it all. If I were to box it up, it would be in the refrigerator for 1–3 weeks before winding up in the trash anyway.
What I’d love to see is a meal delivery service that caters to people who are, perhaps, less adventurous, with more of a pick-and-choose ideal, along with recipes for one. I’d be more willing and able to expand my palate if my wife can stick with a can of soup. And make the ingredients such that they’ll survive an extra day or two in the fridge, or so that they can be frozen (with appropriate defrosting instructions) because life happens, and schedules change at the last minute. Some people might think a particular dish sounds great, if they just left out the mushrooms. No opting out as it stands, they go in the trash can when they arrive. How about options for the true novice, who wants to practice in the kitchen. They’re in the “how to boil water” category, not the “stir-fry the chicken with the quinoa and shallots” (“What’s quinoa?” “What’s a shallot?” How do I stir-fry something?” “How do I know when it’s done?”) category. Some people have a rice cooker and garlic press, most probably don’t. Some people have an oven, some only have a crock-pot, or even just a hot-plate and/or microwave. These people are left out.
And another thing! These meal kit delivery services, even though most have their own gimmicks, pretty much all go “wild-caught”, “GMO-free”, “certified organic”, “no antibiotics ever” with their ingredients. I call BS. Stuff your “wild-caught” and go for sustainable. Fuck that “GMO-free” and use what’s reasonable. Those promoting “certified organic” are certifiable. While I agree that antibiotics shouldn’t be misused with livestock, “no antibiotics ever” mean that if any animal gets sick, it may as well be killed and left to rot (away from the herd) because it’s of no use to the farmer. If it can be returned to health with appropriate use of antibiotics, put it back with the herd, no problems.