Author Topic: Blue Apron  (Read 16867 times)

HydroJim

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Blue Apron
« on: October 21, 2016, 08:05:44 AM »
I've noticed my roommate often gets these refrigerated packages from blueapron.com.

I looked up the pricing on their website and found that he pays $60 for a total of what looks like 6 "servings" spread out over 3 different recipes. That means he pays minimum $10 per meal and he still has to cook everything. I don't really understand why anyone would do this when you can just go to the store and buy the ingredients yourself...

I only spend $25/week on groceries and I eat a ton of food.

J_Stache

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2016, 08:09:27 AM »
I could see doing a once per week thing to experiment with new ingredients, but anymore than that is ridiculous.  Might as well live on take out at that point.

thecrazydoglady

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2016, 08:22:11 AM »
I tried both Blue Apron and Hello Fresh since I had 50% off the first week for both. I ended up cancelling because I thought it was a bit expensive and most of all, it was way too much prep work.

I do understand the appeal though. Not everyone lives somewhere you can spend $25 on a week's worth of food. $25 won't even buy you the ingredients to make a decent salad where I live. I agree, Blue Apron is not cheapest way to eat but I think it is a decent option for people who eat out a lot. We spend $60 between my boyfriend and I if we go out to dinner and each get a drink. We can get 3 meals each with Blue Apron for that price and buy a $10 bottle of wine instead. Like I said, it's a better option than eating out but just going grocery shopping will give you three meals each and at least give you leftovers to have for lunch.

frugalnacho

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2016, 09:38:43 AM »
We've done both blue apron and hello fresh because we were referred by a friend and it was nearly free for a trial of it.  The ingredients we got were far higher quality than the stuff we would normally purchase.  I have tried to recreate a couple of the meals with cheaply purchased ingredients, and it was just not as good.  They were still good, but I could definitely notice the quality of ingredients.

We stopped after the free trials though because we can't justify the ridiculous expense.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2016, 09:54:40 AM »
These services are promoted endlessly on several of the blogs I read, so I looked into them. They don't ship to Hawaii (where I live), so that was that. I probably would have ordered a meal or two just to try it out, because it sounds yummy.

However...I actually think Blue Apron is a fascinating commentary on contemporary American culture. People don't have life skills and they are paying through the nose for it. The idea is--"We don't know how to cook so we are spending a fortune on takeout. Look at this amazing product/service that will teach us how to cook AND be cheaper than takeout! What a great idea!"

Except an MMMer would say...um, maybe compare it to the cost of groceries instead? I live in a place that probably has the highest cost of groceries in the country, and I can still cook for quite a bit cheaper than Blue Apron.

What would be far more cost effective would be a subscription to Cook's Illustrated and/or maybe one of those meal planning services online, and some quality kitchen equipment. And then a dedicated, intentional plan to cook for oneself consistently and build those skills. Meal planning, refrigerator tending, and cooking and storing food all take practice, but it sure pays off in savings.

Moonwaves

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2016, 10:18:21 AM »
I have a couple of friends who use similar services where we live. In one case, it was a woman who was sick and tired of always having to maintain house, work parttime, look after two teenagers with lots of extracurricular activities, and a (since-divorced) husband who tended towards the traditional dinner must be on the table when I get home from work idea. Ok, there was a lot going on that had nothing to do with food but this service turned out to be a huge help for her. She was tired of trying to come up with things to satisfy everyone and had gotten to the stage of resenting (I think cooking became the thing that all the resentment from the fairly toxic relationship was diverted to) the constant pressure to have something substantial and interesting on the table every day. She used to complain that she hated cooking but at some stage realised that actually she always used to love cooking, when it meant spending some time in the kitchen, chatting with whoever was there while preparing the meal. It was the "have to", "no support" aspect that was the problem. But that was alleviated to some extent by this delivery service as, even though she did still have to do the cooking, she at least didn't have to invest so much time and energy into deciding what to serve or shopping for it.

The other friend, also with older teenage sons, as well as a very ill husband, and two jobs simply found it convenient. Everything delivered, no need to think.

For both of them, an unexpected benefit came from the kids finding it all kind of cool and actually sometimes taking over the cooking because they wanted to have a go.

I was always inclined to scoff at the idea but there a lot of people who could have situations where it's a handy service to have. There are lots of people who just don't know how to cook and this can be a stepping stone towards getting there.  I know when I first started having to cook for myself, I had an extremely limited repertoire (stepmother banned me from the kitchen, so I rarely got to do anything at home). Jars of Ragu for making bolognese were standard. Then I started to look at the list of ingredients and eventually realised that I could just buy a tin of tomatoes and a bit of this and a bit of that. It took a while but eventually I got there. Similarly, the first time I went to a Mongolian Barbeque type of restaurant, where you can assemble your own ingredients and they cook it for you, it was a huge eye-opener for me. They had some suggested combinations printed out so I actually had some pretty good dishes and it sort of showed me how to mix spices to create something delicious. And opened up a whole new range of cooking for me, too, where stirfries now featured every week.

If these services had been around when I was in my twenties, I'm pretty sure I would have ended up using them. Of course, the really sad cases will be when we start to hear of people paying for these services and then still going out to eat or ordering takeaways anyway. That's when they'll really belong on the Antimustachian Wall of Shame!




ketchup

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2016, 10:26:26 AM »
Yeah, it's really quite silly.  I hear ads for them on a lot of podcasts.

$10/meal/person?  That's about 75% our typical cost per head if we eat out.  If I'm cooking at home, it's not going to cost anywhere close to that.  If I'm paying that kind of money for food, I better not be the one cooking it.

ariapluscat

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2016, 10:29:03 AM »
my twice late on the rent roommate has blue apron. i consistently smell her burning food while trying their recipes since she "doesn't really cook until now"
but she got it free and before i saw the blue apron arriving i didn't see any food in her part of the fridge
this is hardly a rousing review, but i do peek at the recipes and they look pretty yummy.

geekette

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2016, 10:41:30 AM »
I got both Hello Fresh and Blue Apron free trials from friends.  All meals were fine, but some were quite good, and a couple were things I would never have thought to try.  I also liked that I could download recipes from Hello Fresh's site, some of which I've cooked since with locally purchased food.

I didn't see the point (for me) in continuing beyond the freebies, but I do think it's a good teaching tool for someone who wants to learn how to cook, but never got any instruction.  All the ingredients for a full meal (no going to the grocery store for a bottle of red wine vinegar when you need 2 tablespoons) along with the order and timing for everything.  Something like this would have really helped me just out of college (my mom hated cooking and it showed).

Goldielocks

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2016, 11:33:28 AM »
Before fresh flown to you meals, and before the meal planning  / kitchen service (where you went one night and made up meals for the month, from food bought and prepped by someone else, for your freezer)...  there were


"Skillet Sensations".   

The ad was all about the single mom who had not "cooked" in years, and actually made a meal.   
These food items still exist, and are about $4 for a meal...  veg, starch, chicken, sauce.    Zero prep.

Like most prepped sauces, a bit too much salt and additives, but not too bad.


https://www.madewithnestle.ca/stouffers-saute-sensations

Why aren't these a thing and Blue apron is?

zephyr911

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2016, 11:36:40 AM »
I noticed a box from one of those services by the curb at my new neighbors' house, next to their clown trucks. Correlates well to paying $900 in rent on a house with a $500 mortgage.


https://www.madewithnestle.ca/stouffers-saute-sensations

Why aren't these a thing and Blue apron is?
Because euww, I'd have to set foot in a grocery store with the commoners.
Isn't that what most modern consumer sensations boil down to? Buy this or that bit of luxury so you can feel special?

galliver

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2016, 12:01:12 PM »
I haven't tried these, I think some of my friends have, but I don't think it's fair to compare them to buying groceries, or to eating out. I think it's more like a mail-order cooking class, with a touch of convenience service thrown in. It's about the experience as well as the product. I expect their curated recipe catalog reduces "analysis paralysis" and paradox of choice that looking on the internet can give you (ever found five totally different recipes for the same dish?) The prepackaged ingredients offer convenience but also lower the risk of trying new ingredients, especially spices/sauces. And perhaps more importantly (for the service) they offer quality control. A guy at a grocery store once asked me how/why I was picking out grapes (to get the most good grapes and fewer soft/wrinkly/leaky ones?) Let someone like that pick out their tomatoes and they'll make the dish with unripe ones, then complain loudly that the service sucks. Not to mention it might be an intimidating experience in that case, too.

For anyone who finds any step in meal preparation except the actual cooking very burdensome, annoying, intimidating, etc, this might be a great service to reduce friction and allow them to start or continue cooking at home. If you don't, it might not be for you. Of course, like most conveniences, it is a luxury, so I'm not sure it's a great idea for the late-on-rent roomie. Though if she's learning to cook to reduce her food spending, might help in the long run.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk


Goldielocks

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2016, 12:13:39 PM »
I noticed a box from one of those services by the curb at my new neighbors' house, next to their clown trucks. Correlates well to paying $900 in rent on a house with a $500 mortgage.


https://www.madewithnestle.ca/stouffers-saute-sensations

Why aren't these a thing and Blue apron is?
Because euww, I'd have to set foot in a grocery store with the commoners.
Isn't that what most modern consumer sensations boil down to? Buy this or that bit of luxury so you can feel special?

Ha!

Except, groceries can be delivered now, or ordered online, and you sit in the car while they hand them to you....

dfields

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2016, 12:22:45 PM »
My roommate received one of the meals to try from a coworker. The recipe was interesting and the food was alright, but so much packaging! Every item was individually wrapped in plastic. And the quality of the produce was lackluster.

To me, it's so much easier to cook in large batches and freeze/save the leftovers. You spend less time on cooking than trying to cook these recipes every night.

MandalayVA

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2016, 12:24:28 PM »
Consumer Reports just had an article on these services.  Hello Fresh got a better rating than Blue Apron but Blue Apron is the cheapest.  I've been tempted to try a service out; if I do I'd probably try Plated or Green Chef since I've heard raves about the meals which CR backs up.

cats

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2016, 12:41:33 PM »
We have tried a few of these with free trials.  The food is tasty, but not so much that I would repeat order.  As someone up thread mentioned, cooking in batches and freezing is much more convenient.

One of my HS friends was posting about Blue Apron on FB recently and mentioned that some weeks it was better value than others, so she skipped weeks that were low value and only ordered on the better value weeks. Which I guess is one way of making it less of a clown move, though I can't imagine it gets the price per serving down to something I'd want to pay on a regular basis. Similarly, I know folks who will stretch each meal to 2x the stated servings by adding more veggies or some kind of cheap side dish.

thecrazydoglady

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2016, 01:10:27 PM »
I couldn't help but feel jipped when i did my trial of blue apron. Two of my three dinners were a burger and a sandwich. I wouldn't have renewed it anyway because of the price and prep work but i sure am happy i didn't pay full price. All of the meals with Hello Fresh are amazing meals I never would have thought of myself.

Roasted pork tenderloin and snap peas with potato cauliflower mash and caramelized apple pan sauce
Coffee rubbed steak tacos with black beans and lime crema
Honey and orange chicken jambalaya with tomato rice.

« Last Edit: October 21, 2016, 01:12:30 PM by thecrazydoglady »

Cpa Cat

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2016, 01:26:36 PM »
We did Hello Fresh during tax season last year. I am the person who does 100% of the grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking. I just couldn't deal with it on top of my work. Even thinking about menu planning was a burden. Trying to get my husband to take over was a non-starter.

But being able to walk to the fridge and take the silly little box out and start cooking was workable. Even my husband succeeded at cooking a few meals this way.

We liked some of the meals, but ultimately found many of them too bland, too basic (we did the vegetarian package). Since all of their recipes were available online, I downloaded anything that sounded interesting and put it in a file for next year. I figured I could pick a few at random and order groceries for delivery for the same basic effect.

But my husband said last week that he thought we should try one of those companies again so that he could cook during busy season. I'm not going to pooh-pooh the idea if it means I don't have to think about how dinner is going to make to the table.

geekette

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2016, 01:45:55 PM »
I couldn't help but feel jipped when i did my trial of blue apron. Two of my three dinners were a burger and a sandwich. I wouldn't have renewed it anyway because of the price and prep work but i sure am happy i didn't pay full price. All of the meals with Hello Fresh are amazing meals I never would have thought of myself.

Roasted pork tenderloin and snap peas with potato cauliflower mash and caramelized apple pan sauce
Coffee rubbed steak tacos with black beans and lime crema
Honey and orange chicken jambalaya with tomato rice.
Now you made me go download those three to try myself!  Do you know if the coffee rub was just finely ground coffee? Instant coffee?
« Last Edit: October 21, 2016, 05:36:06 PM by geekette »

MilesTeg

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2016, 04:56:26 PM »
I've noticed my roommate often gets these refrigerated packages from blueapron.com.

I looked up the pricing on their website and found that he pays $60 for a total of what looks like 6 "servings" spread out over 3 different recipes. That means he pays minimum $10 per meal and he still has to cook everything. I don't really understand why anyone would do this when you can just go to the store and buy the ingredients yourself...

I only spend $25/week on groceries and I eat a ton of food.

It's a terrible meal plan, but not a totally terrible way way to learn some cooking/recipes/etc.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2016, 11:59:10 PM »
I've noticed my roommate often gets these refrigerated packages from blueapron.com.

I looked up the pricing on their website and found that he pays $60 for a total of what looks like 6 "servings" spread out over 3 different recipes. That means he pays minimum $10 per meal and he still has to cook everything. I don't really understand why anyone would do this when you can just go to the store and buy the ingredients yourself...

I only spend $25/week on groceries and I eat a ton of food.

It's a terrible meal plan, but not a totally terrible way way to learn some cooking/recipes/etc.

This mirrors my feeligns on the matter.

babystache89

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2016, 07:17:22 AM »
I think Blue Apron can be considered mustachian in a sense. I grew up on Pop Tarts, Coco Puffs, takeout Chinese, etc. No one in my family ever cooked and I'd lived in dorm rooms without kitchens for most of my young adult life, so I had no idea how to cook and ordered takeout for every meal besides breakfast or the occasional PB&J. Once I graduated and moved into my first apartment with a kitchen, Blue Apron acted as a bridge between ordering takeout all the time and cooking at home all the time.  It not only provided ingredients I'd never seen/used before, but also relatively affordable pseudo cooking classes to go along with them that helped me build up my cooking confidence.  Now I go grocery shopping and cook my own recipes or those I find on Budget Bytes. Could I have figured out how to cook from Google? Sure. But I found Blue Apron to be a much easier transition for a young person who legitimately had no idea how to boil water a few years ago.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2016, 07:18:56 AM by babystache89 »

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2016, 08:23:19 AM »
At a wild guess I'm going to suppose this service is available in Australia (googled it just then - it is!).  Yeah, I can see the appeal.  No having to think about dinner, no grocery shopping, just pick up the box.  I suspect my SO would do something like this if he lived alone because he often won't think about dinner until it's dinner time and too late to organise something.

That said, it's not hard to find slightly-more-convenient-than-cooking-from-scratch convenience food these days.  At the local shops you can buy meal bases for practically anything.  Burritos?  Of course.  Thai green curry?  Yep.  Pasta?  Every kind of pasta!  There's entire shelves of this stuff.  While it might not be on par with food cooked from scratch, it can get pretty close.  Especially meals with uncommon ingredients.

I keep some of these ready sauces and meal kits about so when we've got a busy week we can cook something with minimal ingredients and hassle.  And failing that we can always buy a pizza from the supermarket to toss in the oven. 

But yeah, this looks like a great bridge for people who perhaps realise they should cook at home more often, but might not necessarily have the organisational/cooking skills to pull it off on their own.

Ocinfo

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2016, 10:18:49 AM »
I've used both Blue Apron and Hello Fresh and like Hello Fresh better. I think the value proposition really depends on where you live. My wife and I live in an expensive area of DC so it's not so bad. We've recreated many of the meals on weeks that we don't get a box and it usually costs around $15+ so paying the extra $5 to have it dropped at our front door is not a bad deal. A fast casual meal usually ends up being over $20 so again not a bad value. With all that said, we are looking to reduce our rather outrageous spending on food.

Cyrddin

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #24 on: October 23, 2016, 10:35:41 AM »
I tried Blue Apron with an almost free trial and found it to be unimpressive.  As someone mentioned previously, there was a lot of packaging and the recipes available at the time were pretty lackluster.  However, I did try another company, called Fresh Artistry, which worked pretty much the same, but had better ingredients and better recipes.  My husband had really weak cooking skills and he enjoyed the ease of use and learned quite a bit.  However, after we had amassed some good recipes and got the "experience" from it he wanted, we canceled the service because, of course, cooking from scratch is much more frugal for us.

lhamo

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #25 on: October 23, 2016, 12:11:51 PM »
Someone in my old building used to get Blue Apron weekly.   I snagged one of the boxes before I moved and used that to ferry kitchen stuff to my new place.  It was a  nice box for that purpose, and I have kept it.  That is probably as close as I will get to a Blue Apron order!  The meals look nice, but it is too much to pay on a regular basis.  And I don't want to give them my cc info for the trial packages and then forget to cancel the orders.   DS would probably like the food, but I doubt DD would.  I do enjoy cooking when I get around to it -- just too lazy most of the time. 

ooeei

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2016, 07:22:52 AM »
We've done both blue apron and hello fresh because we were referred by a friend and it was nearly free for a trial of it.  The ingredients we got were far higher quality than the stuff we would normally purchase.  I have tried to recreate a couple of the meals with cheaply purchased ingredients, and it was just not as good.  They were still good, but I could definitely notice the quality of ingredients.

We stopped after the free trials though because we can't justify the ridiculous expense.

What ingredients were higher quality?  I'm just curious, as I can't imagine the produce was any better than a decent grocery store since you have to ship it.  I could see spices being better than somewhere with little/no turnover on obscure things.

frugalnacho

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #27 on: October 24, 2016, 07:58:18 AM »
We've done both blue apron and hello fresh because we were referred by a friend and it was nearly free for a trial of it.  The ingredients we got were far higher quality than the stuff we would normally purchase.  I have tried to recreate a couple of the meals with cheaply purchased ingredients, and it was just not as good.  They were still good, but I could definitely notice the quality of ingredients.

We stopped after the free trials though because we can't justify the ridiculous expense.

What ingredients were higher quality?  I'm just curious, as I can't imagine the produce was any better than a decent grocery store since you have to ship it.  I could see spices being better than somewhere with little/no turnover on obscure things.

I would say nearly all of the ingredients even the produce.  We have decent quality at the grocery stores I shop at, but there are a few grocery stores nearby where nearly everything is just better quality.  The vegetables taste better, the fruit tastes better, the bread tastes better, etc, but the prices are also about twice as high, so we can't shop there on a regular basis.  I would equate the quality of the blue apron meals to the high end grocery store. 

So the blue apron meal costs like $30, and when I compare it to my regular grocery store it's more like $10 worth of stuff.  But if I compare it to the high end grocery store that would have more comparable quality it's more like $20 worth of stuff.

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #28 on: October 24, 2016, 08:09:11 AM »
I tried Blue Apron this summer.  I did enjoy it, but I canceled it because of time and money constraints.  Everyone really liked the meals, and I have a teenage daughter who enjoyed helping me prep them, so in that sense it was a win.  The ingredient quality was also very good.  What you notice after about a month is that certain side dishes and ingredients are often repeated.  I did learn a few skills that I didn't have before.  I could see doing this again during the summers or when the kids leave the house. 

Making Cookies

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #29 on: October 24, 2016, 08:11:22 AM »
The meal planning is what my DW seems to dislike. I'll do the shopping and would even do some of the cooking if she'd guide me b/c frankly I could burn water. We're both working and both equally spent at the end of the day.

What I have been procrastinating about is looking to see if any of the recipe websites offer some sort of meal plan. Just something to follow along so we don't get in a rut. I've seen meal plans with a price tag attached.

"Make this tonight!" - - and actually suggest something that is reasonably healthy i.e. not made up of highly processed name brand ingredients would be nice.

What would make that even better would be for the mechanism to be smart enough to remember what we made last night so we could use up any leftover ingredients.

I know someone who went with a delivered food service. Bought a $4K+ commercial fridge specially for the deliveries from the company too.

cats

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #30 on: October 24, 2016, 09:52:54 AM »
The meal planning is what my DW seems to dislike. I'll do the shopping and would even do some of the cooking if she'd guide me b/c frankly I could burn water. We're both working and both equally spent at the end of the day.

What I have been procrastinating about is looking to see if any of the recipe websites offer some sort of meal plan. Just something to follow along so we don't get in a rut. I've seen meal plans with a price tag attached.

"Make this tonight!" - - and actually suggest something that is reasonably healthy i.e. not made up of highly processed name brand ingredients would be nice.

What would make that even better would be for the mechanism to be smart enough to remember what we made last night so we could use up any leftover ingredients.

I know someone who went with a delivered food service. Bought a $4K+ commercial fridge specially for the deliveries from the company too.

I have not tried it myself, but I have heard great things about the cooksmarts meal planning service.  You subscribe by the month and they give you a meal plan for each week.  Apparently the recipes are good at re-using ingredients so you don't have a bunch of half used stuff at the end of the week.  Might be something to look into for a couple of months if you need some help getting started with meal planning.  It's not free but if it got you a 2-3 month rotation of meals that you liked it and could repeat, seems it would be worth the $20 or so.

In terms of making meals/cooking work when you have two people working, what is key for us is setting aside time on the weekend to do a lot of the prep and cooking, so during the week "making dinner" is mostly reheating or perhaps 10-15 minutes of cooking prepped ingredients.  We also LOVE our food processor for weekend food prep...my husband will plug in the slicing attachment and blitz through most of our vegetables in very little time.  WAY more efficient than prepping each night's veggies individually.

AvisJinx

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #31 on: October 24, 2016, 01:55:15 PM »
I'm signed up with Blue Apron, but I skip most of the weekly deliveries and just to do one maybe once a month or every other month. It's worked pretty well for me so far; I've tried a lot of recipes and ingredients I never would have before due to the fact that I didn't want to waste food on failures. In that respect it's cost effective for those who want to expand their cooking repertoire without having to track down and buy expensive ingredients that may go to waste or never be used again.

Also In the beginning their packaging was a little excessive, but they've improved on that somewhat and started a packaging returns program. 

 

Digital Dogma

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #32 on: October 24, 2016, 01:59:47 PM »
I feel bad enough ordering something off Amazon due to all the trash/cardboard it generates, I can't imagine eating a meal like this several times a month. It reminds me of a "grown up" version of the "lunchables" pre-packaged assemble yourself meals for kids.

A friend of mine ordered a free Blue Apron trial last year, it happened to arrive just after they left for a 3 day long trip. We got a call later that weekend asking us if fish should smell bad when its cooking.... uuh no, no it should not. Ok, did the fish also smelled bad before cooking it?
STOP COOKING THE 3 DAY OLD FISH!

Making Cookies

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #33 on: October 24, 2016, 02:37:55 PM »
The meal planning is what my DW seems to dislike. I'll do the shopping and would even do some of the cooking if she'd guide me b/c frankly I could burn water. We're both working and both equally spent at the end of the day.

What I have been procrastinating about is looking to see if any of the recipe websites offer some sort of meal plan. Just something to follow along so we don't get in a rut. I've seen meal plans with a price tag attached.

"Make this tonight!" - - and actually suggest something that is reasonably healthy i.e. not made up of highly processed name brand ingredients would be nice.

What would make that even better would be for the mechanism to be smart enough to remember what we made last night so we could use up any leftover ingredients.

I know someone who went with a delivered food service. Bought a $4K+ commercial fridge specially for the deliveries from the company too.

I have not tried it myself, but I have heard great things about the cooksmarts meal planning service.  You subscribe by the month and they give you a meal plan for each week.  Apparently the recipes are good at re-using ingredients so you don't have a bunch of half used stuff at the end of the week.  Might be something to look into for a couple of months if you need some help getting started with meal planning.  It's not free but if it got you a 2-3 month rotation of meals that you liked it and could repeat, seems it would be worth the $20 or so.

In terms of making meals/cooking work when you have two people working, what is key for us is setting aside time on the weekend to do a lot of the prep and cooking, so during the week "making dinner" is mostly reheating or perhaps 10-15 minutes of cooking prepped ingredients.  We also LOVE our food processor for weekend food prep...my husband will plug in the slicing attachment and blitz through most of our vegetables in very little time.  WAY more efficient than prepping each night's veggies individually.

Thank you! Yeah - that would be an ideal kickstarter. Build a stash of recipes.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #34 on: October 24, 2016, 02:44:20 PM »
Is Blue Apron supposed to be a permanent solution, or a way for a non-cook to get the skills that will allow him or her to re-use the techniques later with store-bought ingredients?

Most of the people who are quoted as having liked it are using it as a low-effort, unintimidating way to learn to cook. I haven't tried it myself so I can't comment on the value or the quality.

Noodle

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #35 on: October 24, 2016, 07:14:36 PM »
A couple years ago I came across a book (on this forum, actually) called "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School." The premise was that the author gathered up a group of terrible home cooks and taught them to cook. In the first part of the book, she went to each person's house, asked them to cook a favorite meal, and tried to find out what their particular challenges were. It was fascinating...I grew up with parents who cooked, so even though I taught myself a lot after moving out, I had a foundation. I had never really understood people who thought they couldn't cook (as opposed to just not wanting to). The group included people who had tried cooking, had the usual newbie failures, and after being teased or criticized refused to try again; the person who needed to cook food for a restricted diet but didn't know how to adapt recipes so nothing turned out edible; the person whose parents had never cooked at all so had no idea where to start; the person who brought home lots of great ingredients but without planning, so didn't know what to do with it all...I could totally see any or all of these people finding Blue Apron really helpful.

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #36 on: October 24, 2016, 07:26:07 PM »
I do all of the cooking in my house so I thought that my wife may be trying to kill me when I came home to her cooking. She had gotten a free trial of 3 meals and decided to cook dinner for me. The taste was awesome and instructions were easy to follow. When I informed my wife that there were a plethora of recipes on the interwebs, she didn't seem particularly interested. I looked at the price of blue apron and didn't think it was ridiculously high but still more than I wanted to spend. Plus, I love grocery shopping for some reason.

gimp

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #37 on: October 24, 2016, 11:03:46 PM »
$25 won't even buy you the ingredients to make a decent salad where I live.

How do you enjoy living in one of the small towns in Alaska?

(If that's not where you live....... bullshit.)

Making Cookies

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #38 on: October 25, 2016, 07:28:25 AM »
A couple years ago I came across a book (on this forum, actually) called "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School." The premise was that the author gathered up a group of terrible home cooks and taught them to cook. In the first part of the book, she went to each person's house, asked them to cook a favorite meal, and tried to find out what their particular challenges were. It was fascinating...I grew up with parents who cooked, so even though I taught myself a lot after moving out, I had a foundation. I had never really understood people who thought they couldn't cook (as opposed to just not wanting to). The group included people who had tried cooking, had the usual newbie failures, and after being teased or criticized refused to try again; the person who needed to cook food for a restricted diet but didn't know how to adapt recipes so nothing turned out edible; the person whose parents had never cooked at all so had no idea where to start; the person who brought home lots of great ingredients but without planning, so didn't know what to do with it all...I could totally see any or all of these people finding Blue Apron really helpful.

I came to cooking knowing nothing. The show stoppers for me was the terminology. I'm supposed to <insert cooking process> this ingredient - what the flip does that mean? This was all pre-internet, etc.

I also couldn't tell you what some of the ingredients looked like. Too much mystery for me! Break out the 25 cent Ramen noodles package!

Like so many other things - procedures written by people who can already preform the task writing for people who can probably already do the task too but need the ingredient lists, mixing ratios and temperatures.

I have seen the same thing on the Linux forums. In order to change "X" you need to do "A, B and C" - and the newbie doesn't have a clue how to do those things. Fortunately with the growing acceptance of Linux - with more newbies, there are more people willing to write tutorials with the newbie in mind.

Baby steps.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2016, 07:31:14 AM by Joe Lucky »

Metric Mouse

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #39 on: October 25, 2016, 08:48:28 AM »
$25 won't even buy you the ingredients to make a decent salad where I live.

How do you enjoy living in one of the small towns in Alaska?

(If that's not where you live....... bullshit.)

You obviously don't put organic heirloom kale and free-range parrot strips on your salad.  I wouldn't call anything made without them 'decent'.   :D

StarBright

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #40 on: October 25, 2016, 09:27:59 AM »

However...I actually think Blue Apron is a fascinating commentary on contemporary American culture. People don't have life skills and they are paying through the nose for it. The idea is--"We don't know how to cook so we are spending a fortune on takeout. Look at this amazing product/service that will teach us how to cook AND be cheaper than takeout! What a great idea!"


in addition to the life skills aspect there is also the issue of Americans and time. I've been scratch cooking for years but with life so busy I sometimes find it REALLY hard to set aside a couple of hours for meal planning and grocery shopping.

I've been so close to ordering blue apron several times on really busy weeks. So far the cost has guilted me out of it but I haven't written it off yet.

Ceridwen

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #41 on: October 26, 2016, 06:30:07 AM »
My colleague uses a program that sounds similar to Blue Apron.  She loves that it saves her meal planning and prep time, and it keeps her from ordering take-out for her family.  She says it only increased her grocery spending by about 15% per week, so it's worth it for her.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #42 on: October 26, 2016, 09:40:49 AM »
Interesting article in Mother Jones about the sustainability of these services. It made me think...I know part of the appeal is not having to grocery shop, but they should have meal kits like this available in supermarkets. We can't get it in Hawaii but maybe if they distributed to retailers it would be more viable. I'd buy one if it were in a grocery store.

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/10/half-meal-kit-customers-bolt-after-free-offer-runs-out

boarder42

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #43 on: October 26, 2016, 09:48:30 AM »
i used the home chef one for the Swag bucks deal last month.  got 3 meals and essentially 14 bucks free at amazon.  paid me to take the food so i took it.

ooeei

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #44 on: October 26, 2016, 10:07:27 AM »
Interesting article in Mother Jones about the sustainability of these services. It made me think...I know part of the appeal is not having to grocery shop, but they should have meal kits like this available in supermarkets. We can't get it in Hawaii but maybe if they distributed to retailers it would be more viable. I'd buy one if it were in a grocery store.

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/10/half-meal-kit-customers-bolt-after-free-offer-runs-out

HEB in Texas has slightly less fancy versions, I hear good things about them.  Not sure they really target the same crowd though.

With This Herring

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #45 on: October 26, 2016, 11:49:32 AM »
I couldn't help but feel jipped when i did my trial of blue apron. Two of my three dinners were a burger and a sandwich. I wouldn't have renewed it anyway because of the price and prep work but i sure am happy i didn't pay full price. All of the meals with Hello Fresh are amazing meals I never would have thought of myself.

Roasted pork tenderloin and snap peas with potato cauliflower mash and caramelized apple pan sauce
Coffee rubbed steak tacos with black beans and lime crema
Honey and orange chicken jambalaya with tomato rice.

Apparently, the key to making suppers fancy is to add fruits to the sauces.  :)

We did Hello Fresh during tax season last year. I am the person who does 100% of the grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking. I just couldn't deal with it on top of my work. Even thinking about menu planning was a burden. Trying to get my husband to take over was a non-starter.

But being able to walk to the fridge and take the silly little box out and start cooking was workable. Even my husband succeeded at cooking a few meals this way.

We liked some of the meals, but ultimately found many of them too bland, too basic (we did the vegetarian package). Since all of their recipes were available online, I downloaded anything that sounded interesting and put it in a file for next year. I figured I could pick a few at random and order groceries for delivery for the same basic effect.

But my husband said last week that he thought we should try one of those companies again so that he could cook during busy season. I'm not going to pooh-pooh the idea if it means I don't have to think about how dinner is going to make to the table.

The best thing I did for tax seasons was to bulk prepare and freeze a lot of food ahead of time.  Budget Bytes has a lot of good freezable recipes.  I do have a chest freezer, though, so that helps a lot.

And, looking at their vegetarian recipes, they sure have a lot of salads!  How disappointing.

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #46 on: October 26, 2016, 11:02:32 PM »
One of the better buys we made was "How to cook everything fast".  Lots of simple, tasty, and very well written recipes.  The best part is that you start the recipes and they are written stream of conciousness, no need to prep all the ingredients before step 1.  Great substitute for Blue Apron's target demographic.

dragoncar

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #47 on: October 27, 2016, 11:08:53 AM »


I came to cooking knowing nothing. The show stoppers for me was the terminology. I'm supposed to <insert cooking process> this ingredient - what the flip does that mean? This was all pre-internet, etc.

I also couldn't tell you what some of the ingredients looked like. Too much mystery for me! Break out the 25 cent Ramen noodles package!

Like so many other things - procedures written by people who can already preform the task writing for people who can probably already do the task too but need the ingredient lists, mixing ratios and temperatures.

I have seen the same thing on the Linux forums. In order to change "X" you need to do "A, B and C" - and the newbie doesn't have a clue how to do those things. Fortunately with the growing acceptance of Linux - with more newbies, there are more people willing to write tutorials with the newbie in mind.

Baby steps.

So that's one aspect I never hear about in these conversations- the teaching part.  People comment on meal quality but not how they give you instructions.  Is it like a simple recipe card?  A book with pictures?  A website with video?  An app that takes you step by step through the process, with side options for learning to cut an onion, etc, that automatically does oven timing and tells you when to flip the burger, with audio video and pictures as appropriate?

If the latter, that would be impressive and they could easily have a "blue apron lightl version where you bring your own food (the app could also tell you how to pick ripe tomatoes) or maybe they only send the stuff that you don't/can't Buy small portions of.

Overall I still think it's a dumb idea and people will learn how to cook better by doing the tedious task of analyzing five different recipes for the same thing, learning how to grocery shop, etc.  This service may teach you to cook, but only if you can afford your own sous chef.

boarder42

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #48 on: October 28, 2016, 07:44:09 AM »


I came to cooking knowing nothing. The show stoppers for me was the terminology. I'm supposed to <insert cooking process> this ingredient - what the flip does that mean? This was all pre-internet, etc.

I also couldn't tell you what some of the ingredients looked like. Too much mystery for me! Break out the 25 cent Ramen noodles package!

Like so many other things - procedures written by people who can already preform the task writing for people who can probably already do the task too but need the ingredient lists, mixing ratios and temperatures.

I have seen the same thing on the Linux forums. In order to change "X" you need to do "A, B and C" - and the newbie doesn't have a clue how to do those things. Fortunately with the growing acceptance of Linux - with more newbies, there are more people willing to write tutorials with the newbie in mind.

Baby steps.

So that's one aspect I never hear about in these conversations- the teaching part.  People comment on meal quality but not how they give you instructions.  Is it like a simple recipe card?  A book with pictures?  A website with video?  An app that takes you step by step through the process, with side options for learning to cut an onion, etc, that automatically does oven timing and tells you when to flip the burger, with audio video and pictures as appropriate?

If the latter, that would be impressive and they could easily have a "blue apron lightl version where you bring your own food (the app could also tell you how to pick ripe tomatoes) or maybe they only send the stuff that you don't/can't Buy small portions of.

Overall I still think it's a dumb idea and people will learn how to cook better by doing the tedious task of analyzing five different recipes for the same thing, learning how to grocery shop, etc.  This service may teach you to cook, but only if you can afford your own sous chef.

https://27n041n4jlv3ccxxk27r1mq1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/february-2016-home-chef-IMG_5836.jpg

link to home chef recipe card.  they come pre hole punched ready for a binder.  not a lot of teaching

Cpa Cat

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Re: Blue Apron
« Reply #49 on: October 28, 2016, 08:31:27 AM »
So that's one aspect I never hear about in these conversations- the teaching part.  People comment on meal quality but not how they give you instructions.  Is it like a simple recipe card?  A book with pictures?

Hello Fresh was a simple recipe card or booklet. It has the step-by-step recipe and each step has a photo. Usually they include explanations and cooking tips for anything difficult or unfamiliar.

I think the big thing for people who don't know how to cook is the ingredients - they are unfamiliar with ingredients, aren't sure how to find them, and are afraid they'll pick up the wrong thing, don't know how to prepare it, etc. These meal kits take the guesswork out of that aspect.

Don't get me wrong... I do not think meal kits are a mustachian way to learn to cook! On the other hand... The other day, a guy asked me for help at the grocery store because his wife told him to get cilantro and he didn't know the difference between cilantro and parsley. This is the sort of thing that stops people from wanting to plan their own meals.