Sunday, April 9, 2017

We tried Blue Apron, and the verdict is...

So many meal service choices out there these days! Scot and I joke about them, and he's often said, "Are we going to try Blue Bucket?" Just sounds funny -- we ran that joke for quite some time in the car one afternoon.

It just so happened that a friend and ex-neighbor who uses Blue Apron had some "first box free" offers to share. We'd considered trying a meal service, mainly to broaden our horizons and get out of a very carb-heavy rut. I was happy to be able to give it a try.

When the first box arrived, the unboxing left me feeling... it's hard to describe, perhaps just a little TOO first-world. Spoiled is perhaps the word. Removing the contents from the silver thermal bubble bag results in a small pile of groceries, compared to the size of the box. At the bottom are two large, reusable freezer packs.

Items are separately packaged and marked. Every item is separate. Lots of little thin plastic bags... like the one that contained one single scallion.

Small components, everything from vinegars to one-ounce bits of butter to small bags of shred cheese, etc. come in a little bag titled "nick nacks," separated for each recipe.

The produce was without exception, picture perfect. Items are well packed, with instructions and info.

This first box had three recipes that were light and incorporated no meat.

I admit that looking at solely the cost of the materials... I estimated at most $16-20 in actual groceries and considering the packaging waste, I was not a fan and didn't anticipate staying signed on. (Other reviews I read since came to similar cost estimates.)

It arrived on Thursday, and the cost plus the packaging drove my decision to cancel. Logged into the site, easily found how to cancel and carried that out... but received a confirmation stating that my membership would end after the next shipment; it was too late to cancel for my next delivery. Be aware of this with their "free box." If you don't cancel essentially the day you get the box... you'll be getting another one and paying for it.

I was able to work this out quickly with a very friendly customer service rep. Our next box contained three recipes that are light but meat based.

But then...

I entered the kitchen and set about fixing the Mixed Mushroom Bucattini with Collard Greens. This was on a Saturday afternoon, but it was refreshing to just walk in, follow directions, and end up with a great meal. And, one that had me eating a hearty green that I would never, frankly, have chosen myself. The thought of having a few of those types of no-thought-needed healthy meals in the fridge on weeknights... I could appreciate that.

The dish was DELISH, and I learned a thing or two along the way (using the water added to dried porchini mushrooms in a sauce; plus using some retained pasta cooking water to thin the sauce).

We're going to consider maybe doing a box or two a month, to give us some new recipes to try, and some breaks of the mind for healthier dinners than what we default to when left to our own devices.

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