CorbonsDelivers Meal Kit
Here in food-world, the Blue Apron phenomena has been intense. If you're not familiar, that's where you sign up and one company or another mails you the ingredients to make dinner. Fair enough. Please note the lovely Steph March covered the topic fairly comprehensively last year, if you need more detail. My favorite of the services has been from Aleks Till at Homegrown Foods. It has occurred to me a few times that grocery stores could quite easily get in on this market—what if you walked in the door and there was a produce aisle end-cap where you could grab a box that held everything, and a recipe, for eggplant parmigiana? Someone's doing it: CobornsDelivers. They asked me to try it out. I did, and what I liked about it most was sort of shocking.
But first, the how. On the website, they have a whole section just for meal kits. Click, scroll through the recipes, and pick one. They will bring you everything you need to make that recipe, plus everything you might want to make it a meal, like a side vegetable or bread, and present it with an extremely simple step-by-step instruction guide. Of course, it's still a grocery delivery site, so if you order a meal, you can order other things that grocery stores have, from potato chips to coffee to dog chow. This already, I think, makes it more convenient for me than Blue Apron, because is Blue Apron bringing heavy bags of dog chow? No, they are not. Anyhoo, I tried a few of the meals, a chicken with broccolini and a fresh chunky tomato sauce, a beef stew, and pork chops with a sweet-hot raspberry pepper sauce.
Now, one caveat. People, I know how to cook. It's not something I can put aside just because I'm looking at a meal kit. So I made my eight-year-old the leader on these projects. I put aside an hour, we unpacked the box. We discovered pre-cut beef, a box of mushrooms, a container of pre-cut onions, a can of soup, a pint of sour cream, a packet of onion-soup mix. There was also a salad kit, and a bag of egg noodles. We had a good time slicing mushrooms, we dumped everything into a pot and put it in the oven, with 45 minutes of our hour left to read books together. When the stew came out of the oven my eight-year-old was beyond thrilled because she'd made dinner. She then declared dibs on all the leftovers and told everyone she knows that she has now mastered stew. It was literally easier—and more successful!—than anything she ever made in her Easy Bake Oven. I made the other dishes myself, and wish I hadn't—it was all kind of boring for me, the experienced home cook, though the chicken with broccolini was the tastiest dish, and my kids judged the pork chops to be the worst thing food can be, "too spicy."
Still, I've been thinking for months it would be Good Parenting and teach Important Self Sufficiency if I taught the kids to cook. I had been thinking about getting them to pick out a recipe from a cookbook once a month, that we'd do it together ... but this CobornsDelivers would be way easier! They can scroll through the pictures, see what they'd like to eat, and leap right into a beginner-level recipe that guarantees a good dinner at the end. And isn't that the dream of all home cooks? Let me know how it goes.