I’d heard a lot recently about services where they mailed you the exact ingredients to cook recipes and each week was a different set of things to cook. The idea is to be able to make fancy meals without having to do a lot of the work of planning meals or do the grocery shopping. I was skeptical, but a friend had a coupon for a free week of BlueApron so I signed up to give it a try. The cost for one week of the service is $60 for three meals, which each serve two people. So $10 a serving.
The box arrived and contained enough for three meals: cheeseburgers, three-cheese and kale calzones, and chicken udon noodle soup.
My first impression when I got the heavy box of food and unpacked it was that I was cranky! What if I didn’t want to cook this stuff? But here it was and it was either make it or have it go to waste. They do vacuum seal the meats so you have a little time flexibility, but only a few days.
One thing I’d been concerned about was the amount of packaging. Everything was individually packaged and the box is lined with padding and they have ice packs in the bottom. Their website gives instructions for how to break down and recycle the packaging (and nearly all of it is recyclable), but nonetheless it was a lot more packaging than my groceries would normally require.
The first thing we cooked (my husband was more interested in this service than I was, so he helped cook) were the “juicy lucy burgers,” which are apparently an actual type of burger where the cheese is in the middle. The recipe had very foodie-style language (aioli vs. mayo), but basically it was a burger and a side salad. The burger was large and greasy, a lot more food than either of us were used to, and tasted overwhelmingly of garlic. The salad was quite basic and the dressing was pretty tasteless. The total caloric count for the recipe was 700 per serving, which was quite a bit for us to be eating at home.
Next we made the calzones. Again they were huge and too much for us (again at 700 calories a serving). I had half a calzone and it was more than enough for dinner. The taste was okay — something I’d expect from a cheap sports bar with subpar food.
Last on the list was the udon chicken noodle soup but we were so disenchanted with the first two recipes we didn’t even bother. I froze the chicken to give it new life in a few weeks in a recipe that’s actually good.
Overall, it wasn’t a failure (everything was edible) but it was incredibly disappointing. I think this kind of service would be good if you hate planning meals, don’t wish to keep various ingredients on hand, or if you’re very new to cooking. But if you enjoy cooking, are watching your caloric intake, are concerned about sustainable packaging, or if you want to stay within a food budget I do not recommend it. I ended up with expensive dull food that I still had to cook myself and that wasn’t very good for me. No thanks.