I'm not a very good cook. I used to think I was, but that dream unraveled on me a few years ago after the fires. If I cook in tandem with someone who knows what their doing I'm fine, but on my own, I am kind of a disaster. I mean, I can do a few things just fine, like mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs, and if it comes out of a box and involves a pound of hamburger meat, I can do that too! I can also bake things, as long as it doesn't require yeast. However, when I cook (I don't very much anymore, poor Steve) my meals don't have very much variation. St. Martha Stewart (genuflect) would definitely be horrified.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, the lovely and wonderful Sara Watson gave me a code so that I could receive a week of free meals from an outfit she is a member of called HelloFresh! It's a kind of food subscription service that sends you the stuff to make three meals a week. I thought it was worth a try, because free, and so I put in my order!
I scheduled the deliveries to be made on Fridays, since that is my day off, and it's lucky that I kept looking out of the window, because the stinking delivery person didn't knock or anything. He just left a (squashed) box on my stoop, in the sun I might add, which is bad because the box had meat in it! I'm glad I was at home! When I opened it, there were three smaller boxes inside (with their corresponding meats) that held what I'd need for each meal. I thought there was a mistake, because it didn't have what I would have thought you'd need to make a meal in it. It just had...ingredients. Like, whole vegetables and leaves and stuff. Also, it didn't look like enough for two people. I don't know what that says about the amount I normally cook, but all I could think of was "What will Steve eat?"
That night I set about making my first meal, which was something called "Honey Dijon Pork Chops." The box had this in it: Pork Chops, Potatoes, Corn, a Tomato, a Yellow Squash, Lima Beans,
Scallions, Garlic, Dijon Mustard, Stock Concentrate, Honey, and Lime. Just FYI, on a regular day, I wouldn't eat at least three of those things at all, but since it was all in the box, I was going to give it a try. I had to cut up all this stuff and it took FOREVER! Cooking with real food-things is a process! I also didn't really have a pan big enough to cook this in (I forgot I had a wok at the time) but I used the biggest one I had and just kept having to put things back into it that fell out as I stirred. The recipe also said that it would take about 40 minutes to make. LIIIIIIIES!!!! I think it took me that long to cut up the vegetables! At any rate, I finally got the vegetable "hash" finished, and I made the pork chops and, surprisingly, it made a ton of food! It was also really good, even if it had squash and tomato pieces in it. I think I cooked the vegetables a bit longer than I was supposed to, but I couldn't stand the thought of eating crunchy vegetables and I needed them to get soft before I could eat them.
At any rate, the food was good and it was cooked correctly! I was excited! Of course, the food boxes come with a recipe card with step-by-step instructions on them. When I say step-by-step, I mean it. It tells you when to cut up stuff and when to start cooking certain things before you do other things. I realize regular recipes tell you some of this stuff, but it helps to know that you need to have an onion cut up before you've got everything else in the pan cooking, so you don't leave the stuff on the stove cooking too long while you're cutting up the onion. Oh, and I've gotten to use my prep bowls for their actual purpose for the first time ever! Nice! I've learned to make marinara sauce, which technically isn't hard, but I didn't know how to do it before! I even went out and got a proper sized pan and a garlic smashy-thing! We haven't wasted near as much food as we used to, because it makes just enough for two people, and that makes me feel better because I hate throwing away food. They also have all kinds of recipes, which means I'm making and eating a much larger variety of food and it all seems to be relatively healthy stuff because it keeps the processed food at a bare (if it's used at all) minimum. As for disasters, I did manage to burn some kind of mutant broccoli they sent for one of our meals, but I am going to put that down to our oven being hotter than the dial says it is, so technically it's not my fault! I even made paella and didn't ruin it! Yay!
As much as I like it, though, I'm not sure we'll keep up the subscription. It's about $70 dollars a week, which isn't terrible, but it seems a lot for only three meals for 2 people a week. However, if you go out and eat at a regular sit down restaurant 3 times a week, you'd probably pay that much, so I have no idea. Also, it makes me nervous to have food with meat delivered to our door, because even though it's packed well (as long as the box stays intact) it's so hot outside right now that I'm afraid something will spoil if I'm not home to bring it in as soon as it's delivered. Not that I have a very active life on my day off, but I might get a hobby or a friend. YOU DON'T KNOW MY LIFE! (ahem) We're still on the fence about it, and I have the subscription on pause while we decide.
So I thought I'd let you know about this fun thing we've been doing. I have a code if you want to try it for free for a week, just let me know, but remember to cancel in time if you don't want to be charged and shipped a new box of food. That's how we ended up with two weeks worth of food! :) I've actually enjoyed cooking everything we've had, so if nothing else, it's been worth it for that and the knowledge that I am actually capable of making something that didn't come out of a box and that I don't always set fires when I'm cooking!