A novice cooks BlueApron
For the first time in a while, I stayed in an apartment for a month. This was an opportunity to take on a touch of domesticity with BlueApron. One of my goals was to cook healthy, nutritious, flavorful foods rather than my usual: pasta, rice, eggs, mac and cheese, cereal. Another goal was to cook meat: true confession in the past I worried about undercooking and my parents’ grilling standards, to the point that I never cooked meat at home in a pan. This seems dumb now, but I did meet someone else with the same mindset!
My first week was discouraging. I was rushed and confused, especially in my new kitchen without most essentials. Eventually I learned to cut up and prepare everything in advance, add a little extra olive oil to coat my pan, cut into meats to check if they’re done. After failures cooking half-recipes, I decided to cook it all and put the second serving in the refrigerator (unless it needs to be fresh, such as tortilla with melted cheese).
The first meal to be Instagrammable was this salmon and kale:
Followed by a burger:
Ingredients mostly come in labeled plastic bags, which BlueApron says are recyclable but my Berkeley apartment recycle-cornucopia cannot take. Exact portions mean BlueApron wastes less food, but it does generate trash and criticism for that trash. When it was time for me to move and I cancelled the plan, BlueApron asked multiple appropriately self-conscious questions about their packaging.
I sent this photo to a friend; it reminded me of her mom’s cous-cous.
While pork roasted in my oven, I Googled whether there are kosher and halal meal services (ramadan mubarak, everyone). The devout might be better off going vegetarian for now (or starting a business?).
Taking a photo became a little ritual. I would compare both plates and even dab away juices with a paper towel to get the right look. Chicken in Hoisin sauce turned out good:
My catfish didn’t turn out well, but I was surprised to see them show up in a friend’s Facebook feed. One weird thing about BlueApron is that other people in your area get the same recipes (there are multiple choices, so you might not match exactly). Over gelato, J explained that she got BlueApron meals to save money. Each box of 3 meals x 2 portions is $60 (good but not exactly cheap) so I made a little skeptical face.
As we switched to octopus salad and sukiyaki to celebrate my first day at the office, I got a better idea of how home cooking might be more cost-effective for us both. This was an experience, though.
The next time that BlueApron sent me a quarter of a cabbage, I began to wonder who would receive the rest.
BlueApron and similar services in the continental US can’t ship to Hawaiʻi, so it’s time to cancel my subscription. Fortunately there is a local alternative on Oʻahu called freshBOX!
Expect me to try it out while I am in Honolulu over the next month.
If you want to try BlueApron, ask someone with an active subscription! They might be able to send you a free sign-up sample.
This was my last BlueApron meal for now, the chicken tostada:
by the author.