Wanna hear a First World Problem? Blue Apron is yummy, but the complete opposite of "convenient"
We subscribed to Blue Apron a few months ago. Lots of folks spoke of the deliciousness and convenience of the service, so we decided to give it a shot. Now, I don't care about "convenience" other than not having to go to the store. I hate impulse buying and magazine covers and pushy sales teams and people on a Sunday who block every aisle with their long-ass decision-making deficiencies manifesting under the banner of "DO I GET THE BRANDED SUGAR-COATED SHIT OR THE BAGGED/GENERIC SUGAR-COATED SHIT?" I know that BA defines "convenience" as far as cooking time and delivery is concerned, but I have found that the service falls short of actually being convenient for our household.
The meat portions are pretty nice. We don't need giant pieces of meat for dinner, but we do like our veggies...and Blue Apron's idea of a serving of veggies is about half the size of a small side salad. That is the saddest thing in the world. 1 veggie and you don't give me enough to feed a rabbit (let alone 2 grown-ass people)? We get 2 meals that are supposed to feed a family of 4 each time, but the veggie portions are pretty much "4 people? Ok...here's 2 potatoes. Have at it". Last week, the recipe called for a salad that was...wait for it...a cucumber and red leaf lettuce with olive oil...salt and pepper to taste...WHAT THE HELL KIND OF SALAD IS THAT?
Blue Apron also boasts convenience in the form of prep & cooing times and the fact that they send you EVERYTHING pre-portioned and ready to go. I love the pre-portioned part, but those prep & cook times are a load of shit. On the average, it takes me 90 minutes to make a Blue Apron meal. Much of the cooking is to be done at the same time - While cooking the meat, the veggies should be boiling and the oven should be preheating for the meager handful of cauliflower you are about to bake to a crisp and you should be chopping garlic like it owes you money. I can't multitask like that...I've lost too many pans to oil burns and our smoke alarms are not patient at all for that kind of malarkey. So, I prep everything first and decide what needs the most attention for cooking. I have a system, but it means that it takes me twice as long.
Speaking of oil burns, every meat dish sent to you is supposed to be pan cooked in olive oil. For those of you playing the home version of this game, that means FRIED. Ok, not fried to a crisp and not every meal is batter-fried, but I've already gone through a Costco-sized bottle of this stuff. This is an ingredient that BA does not include. I guess it's because the recipes will often suggest olive oil as extra seasoning like salt and pepper (which is also NOT included in the meal boxes)
But olive oil is messy when you cook with it. You have to watch it carefully or else you will pretty much burn your house down. Olive oil (any cooking oil in general) gets EVERYWHERE - on the counter tops, on your clothes, leaves a light film on the microwave above the stove, splatters on the floor - It's the glitter of the cooking world...it splatters all over the place making clean-up THE MOST INCONVENIENT THING IN THE FUCKING WORLD.
Everything is wrapped in plastic (with a few exceptions). The meat can be in plastic. Fine. Cross contamination and all that. However, we don't need the potatoes put in a sealed plastic bag or the pinch of allspice in a plastic bag or the leeks in a plastic bag. The amount of plastic waste generated by a BA meal is concerning. Now, BA encourages you to clean and send back all of the packaging for them to recycle. That's pretty awesome, but there is still no need to wrap everything in plastic. Before you recycle, you should be conserving and rethinking how to wrap the ingredients. Between the food wrapped in plastic, the insulated shipping bag, and the bags of biodegradable gel ice (we kept some of these for camping)...the amount of garbage is stupid.
So, I have a love/hate relationship with Blue Apron. We are thinking of giving the service a rest for a while. I want to go back to my 30 minutes meals that only require a few dishes and not every pan and portion bowl in the god damn house.
PROS of Blue Apron:
The mixing ingredients are nicely portioned and aids in making new recipes fun! You don't have to go out an buy a bottle of vinegar because it will be included if the recipe calls for it.
Proper meat portions (according to my nutritionist and we really dig the sizes...not too big to make you feel stuffed and plenty of leftovers)
The recipes are awesome, easy to cook for the first time, and really easy to replicate on your own.
The service has me cooking things I never thought I would cook and I'm keeping most of these recipes to make again!
Bonus recipes for things like cast iron corn bread and hollandaise sauce
CONS of Blue Apron:
Can a bitch get some veggies, please?
Everything is wrapped in plastic.
You may ship the packaging back to BA for recycling, but you cannot recycle most of the packaging locally
BA's satanic pact with olive oil
Prep & cooking times are a god damn lie.
My kitchen looks as though I made Thanksgiving for 12...when I only really made glazed salmon for 2. Clean-up after the meal takes longer than washing my 3 bathrooms and vacuuming.
Between meal prep, cooking, and clean-up - the average BA meal for our household takes 2.5 hours.
MIDDLE of Blue Apron:
You can add veggies if you have them on hand
I TRUST the recipe and follow it to the letter...except with garlic. 2 cloves of garlic totally equals 5
Meals will be hit-or-miss. We've been lucky to enough to enjoy 95% of what has been sent to us.
Both cats love the shipping boxes