Cooking Adventures With Blue Apron

Paul Morrone |

Jill and I face the same problem that most people face: deciding what to have for dinner and planning meals for the week. For us, this ritual occurs on Sunday when Jill takes out her phone to make a shopping list for the week and asks the inevitable question “What do you want to eat this week?”  Now at this point in time food for the week is arguably the last thing on my mind (shocking, I know) as it’s likely somewhere around 3:30pm when the 4th quarter of all the 1 o’clock football games is beginning. With a touchdown nearly every 3 minutes, I’m utterly useless and can only manage some halfhearted yes’s and no’s while my eyes stayed glued to NFL RedZone.  We’ve scanned through Pinterest and got creative on our own, but we finally hit our breaking point and needed to try something new. With the help of a $30 coupon, we dove head first into the world of Blue Apron and decided to give it a shot.

If you’re not familiar with Blue Apron, the concept is actually pretty novel. You get your choice of 3 meals from a total of 6 for the upcoming week and they are delivered to your door (in a very well packaged box I might add) with all of the ingredients premeasured for each meal and neatly packaged and labeled, along with detailed instructions on how to cook each meal. The ingredients are really of top quality and I’d say better than anything I could find at our local Stop & Shop. But beware, you’re not signing up to cook the average grilled chicken dinner. What I didn’t realize was that you need to have the skills of a James Beard award winning chef to actually make these dishes. I’m cooking with catfish and farro on Monday, coconut milk and Shokichi squash on Tuesday and collard greens and vermicelli noodles on Thursday. Needless to say I’ve never even seen some of these things before and definitely have never cooked with them.

My advice: do all the prep work first. Cut up every last vegetable (and place in its own separate bowl, ready to be cooked), premeasure all of the liquids and make sure you have all of the necessary pots, pans and utensils within an arm’s reach. Once the cooking begins, all hell breaks loose. Stuff starts flying everywhere and you need to be moving with the speed and precision of a German assembly line to ensure each step gets completed and nothing gets over/under cooked. Once the dust settles and the smoke alarm stops going off, the end result is truly a delicious meal.  You may have used your entire set of cutlery, pots and pans in the process, but the reward is a restaurant quality meal cooked right in your own home.