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Thread: Meal Kit Services

  1. #1
    Night Owl GypsyLayla's Avatar
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    Meal Kit Services

    Don't stake me through the heart. My husband and I are both excellent cooks, but we are busy and it gets so tiring to plan meals and figure out what to eat that we were eating out too often. So I thought I'd give this a try. First one we tried Home Chef was not good. Then we tried Plated and I've been happier. But... I miss grocery shopping. And honestly, my husband and I are excellent at cooking good meals with minimum "standing in the kitchen" time. And the kits require more 'standing in the kitchen time' than we are used to. I cut it back to two times a week of meals and we're still a week behind as a result. I don't want to cancel, but I'm not sure its working out.

    Does anyone have any thoughts or experiences or just want to tell me how much they hate these services....

  2. #2
    Barricade AW Moderator regdog's Avatar
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    I got my sister a week of Hello Fresh from Groupon and she really liked it. She said the meals were good and they had a nice selection. My one complaint was some meals are "Premium" and you have to pay extra for those meals and Hello Fresh isn't cheap to begin with.
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  3. #3
    Moderator AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    My sister-in-law does one of these, I think Hello Fresh but I'm not sure. She, however, does not cook well and struggles with meal planning.

    If both of you already cook well, I would think that gradually putting together a list of meals you can make, main course and sides that go nicely, along with a shopping list for each, would allow you to grocery shop, eat well with similar prep time, and spend a whole lot less money than eating out.

    It would be a big chore to do all at once, but if you were to add one meal to a list/spreadsheet/database each week, by the end of the year you'd have a week's worth, and by Valentine's Day, thirteen meals listed. Keep going and by the end of March 2018, which isn't all that distant, you'd have twenty meals you know how to make together and a shopping list of all the ingredients needed.

    I don't know about you, but when I eat at a restaurant, I am too often tempted to make less healthy choices, find almost no place uses reduced-fat or lower-sodium ingredients like I do at home, and that I'm more likely to have alcohol. Not to mention the cost being at least three times what it would cost me to make the same meal at home, only healthier.

    Something to consider, anyway.

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  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GypsyLayla View Post
    Don't stake me through the heart. My husband and I are both excellent cooks, but we are busy and it gets so tiring to plan meals and figure out what to eat that we were eating out too often. So I thought I'd give this a try. First one we tried Home Chef was not good. Then we tried Plated and I've been happier. But... I miss grocery shopping. And honestly, my husband and I are excellent at cooking good meals with minimum "standing in the kitchen" time. And the kits require more 'standing in the kitchen time' than we are used to. I cut it back to two times a week of meals and we're still a week behind as a result. I don't want to cancel, but I'm not sure its working out.

    Does anyone have any thoughts or experiences or just want to tell me how much they hate these services....
    I've never tried one because I ... like to cook and can cook.

    I don't get them, save for people who don't really cook.

    I was once accosted by a salesperson for Hello Fresh on the street, touting some deal they were offering. I said I could cook. He said but you wouldn't have to go to the store! I was holding two bags from the market, and he was standing outside the other market I was about to enter. I like picking out stuff myself.

    There are people who like the boxes but I get the sense they're people who don't generally cook, don't have a pantry of spices, don't know how to put stuff together well, so it makes sense to have it all laid out, not have to buy a knob of ginger or a jar when they just want a spoon for one recipe -- but if you do cook, you either own ginger or will use it, you know?

    Honestly, maybe you just need to like, sit down and do a meal plan sheet, if you're having trouble figuring what to make, or if you like lots of new things, devote a weekend day to trying a bunch of new recipes or doing bulk prep and cooking stuff you can use in other stuff during the week.

  5. #5
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    There are a lot of people who never learned to cook, and I know several who are learning via boxed meals.

    I also have friends who can't drive and so boxed meals are a real time saver.

    There are similar programs where you assemble the meals yourself at a special kitchen, then freeze them.

  6. #6
    Three of a perfect pair. AW Moderator amergina's Avatar
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    I get meals from Terra's Kitchen on occasion.

    I can cook and cook well. And I do quite frequently.

    But sometimes it's worth the cost, in terms of planning and time and prep, to get a delivery. I don't have to think too much, and I can have a meal in 30 minutes, plus lunch or dinner the next day. (I live alone.)
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  7. #7
    Resist. Love. Go outside. Marlys's Avatar
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    I haven't used any of the services (yet), but I see their appeal. I can and do cook, but even when I try to plan ahead I don't always use up what I buy--and I hate throwing away dried up knobs of ginger.
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  8. #8
    Making Einstein cry since 1994 Maggie Maxwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AW Admin View Post
    There are a lot of people who never learned to cook, and I know several who are learning via boxed meals.
    This is me. I've used Home Chef two times a week since February, minus a few weeks, and I love it, because it's teaching me to cook things I've never made before. I mean, my repertoire before this was pretty much "Spaghetti with meat sauce" and a few desserts. No vegetables that weren't frozen or salads that weren't bagged. With Home Chef, I'm eating new things, more well-rounded meals, good portion sizes, and I've been able to apply a lot of the things I've done to non-HC dishes. It's gotten me cooking, and the fact that it saves on shopping time also helps.
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  9. #9
    No, you're the grease monkey. Fruitbat's Avatar
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    A friend showed me a boxed meal of hers (and the details online). I was surprised because she's older, has raised a family and entertains a lot so I can't imagine she needs help cooking. But she said she gets a couple a week just for kicks and something different. There are some unusual ingredients. She says it costs $10-12 per meal with shipping. So the one she gets (I don't remember which company) is not budget cooking but it's cheaper than buying comparable meals out.
    Last edited by Fruitbat; 11-12-2017 at 02:14 AM.
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  10. #10
    Night Owl GypsyLayla's Avatar
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    I really do think they are fantastic tools for teaching people to cook. I've been cooking since I was ten, am adventurous and I stretch myself to try new things (same with husband) and I've still learned a few things. Not a ton, but definitely some. One of the meals we ate had a fantastic pan sauce I am adding to my files, for example.

    I've skipped a week coming up, so I will hopefully be able to catch up.

    Fruitbat, I am like your friend. I haven't raised a family but I've been a foodie all my life, entertain (and cook elaborate meals when I do), host holidays for extended family, etc. But it is fun to have new complete meals arrive and then cook then. And it is a break. I think I am going to try skipping every third or fourth week. They aren't cheap though, especially if you do only two meals a week because Plated does free shipping for 3 meals a week but paid shipping for 2 meals a week.

    I am allergic to spreadsheets (too many years in corporate America), but I do have a list of meals I use as references and things like that.

    It was helpful to talk about this. Thanks everyone.
    Last edited by GypsyLayla; 11-12-2017 at 05:35 AM.

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW
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    i have a free trial that i can send out for Blue Apron. I've been using them for over a year now. and my family LOVES LOVES LOVES it!

  12. #12
    Sophipygian AW Moderator Alessandra Kelley's Avatar
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    Rhik Samadder, the Guardian’s rather hangdog food critic, recently tested and compared several (UK) ingredient subscription services:

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeands...-uks-top-boxes

    His summation:
    I have struggled over the finish line, not in good shape. I suspect myself to be in the early stages of gout. While recipe boxes use less gratuitous packaging than a supermarket shop, I’m collapsing cardboard boxes so frequently my recycling must look like a cubist montage. More than that, an element of creativity has gone astray. Starved of human interaction, I’ve started to find precise instruction very comforting, and I am reminded of the film Synecdoche, New York, in which Philip Seymour Hoffman wanders an apocalyptic landscape in isolation, while an earpiece issues short, affectless commands. Get up. Go into the kitchen. Prep the veggies. Fall face-first into cherry tomatoes. Recipe-kit living will be a game changer for some; for me, this is just too much convenience. Time to break out of the box.

  13. #13
    Night Owl GypsyLayla's Avatar
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    That was amusing Alessandra, I totally get their POV. Especially about the packaging, the boxes, and the human interaction. I'm an introvert, grocery shopping is one of the few types of (arguably) social activities I enjoy.
    Last edited by GypsyLayla; 11-13-2017 at 10:44 AM.

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