Monday, May 8, 2017

Bye Bye, Blue

Well, the big thing that happened today was that I canceled our account with Blue Apron.

We've been getting the familiar Blue Apron box since December of 2015.  I may be mistaken, but I think Blue Apron was the first of the services which delivers food to your home, along with recipes and all you have to do is cook it.

I had seen ads for it and it sounded intriguing, especially since I was getting so tired of meal planning.  I had come down to a rotating list of three or four things that I cooked each week because I had lost the interest in being creative.

But Laurel and Tom, who had just started taking Blue Apron, offered to give us a free week for a Christmas present and I decided what the heck.
I figured we'd take the free week and then cancel right away, but in order to get the free week, you have to give them your credit card and before the free meal arrives, your card has already been charged for the next week.

But that was OK.  We'd have two weeks before we cancelled.  The first box arrived and I loved how things were packaged and the laminated cards that showed step by step instructions for cooking them.

Only the problem was that the food was so good!  On our second week we had Harissa Lamb & Beef Burgers, Roast chicken with potato latkes, and tamarind glazed cod.

Right away I figured that I would be cooking things i had never cooked before and using spices and sauces that I'd never heard of before.  We also would be eating more vegetables than I normally cook, and also having fish once a week.

When I calculated the cost, I decided that Blue Apron was cheaper (and healthier) than going to the store each, I've reached a point in my old age where I can't eat a big meal at night any more so more often than not there would be enough left over...and (a) I would not have to go the store as often and (b) that would reduce impulse purchases.

Given all that, we decided to keep Blue Apron for awhile and I have been very pleased with our boxes.  We have only had one or two problems (once the carrier didn't deliver it until a day late and I was concerned that the food might have spoiled as the ice it comes in had melted).  They were very gracious and comped the next week (and as it turned out, I did cook the "spoiled" food anyway, and it was all just fine).
Since the success of Blue Apron, similar services are popping up all over the place.  You see them all the time on Facebook. There are a couple, like Hello Fresh, Home Chef and Plated which are like Blue Apron, one is based on the Paleo diet, there is even one which will deliver a week's worth of snacks, if you want.
My friend John Fitzgerald, himself a gourmet cook, decided to try Blue Apron on my recommendation and he, too, loved it.  Bit he recently switched to Home Chef and when I asked him the difference he said "we liked Blue Apron, but i love Home Chef." I decided to check it out.

I immediately was intrigued.  I loved the fact that I could pick my own meals each week and, rather than the six that Blue Apron offers for choice, I could choose from among 13 different meals.  Blue Apron has a lot of "exotic" meals, which has been nice, but, quite frankly, the "good old meals" like steak and potatoes offered by Home Chef looked appealing.

I checked an on line web site which compared the two and found this:
Home Chef would win our “all-around” award. We really liked it. The meals were simple but flavorful. I learned a few new techniques preparing them, but didn’t roll my eyes at extraneous steps like I often did with Blue Apron.
She also wrote
Plated and Blue Apron will appeal to you if you want to try exotic flavors and unusual combinations. These meals include ingredients you won’t find at your local supermarket. That can be fun, but makes the meals hard to recreate. We found meals from these two companies were the most involved to prepare, but also the most interesting to eat.
So I decided to end my Blue Apron subscription and start one with Home Chef.  The cost is the same, but the choices are different and they even offer "premium" meals now and then for special occasions (for $10 more, for example, you can order filet mignon on Father's Day).  

So we have one more Blue Apron box to be delivered this week and then we start a new adventure with Home Chef and see how we like that one.  I still won't have to go to the store and it will still save me money and we will still be eating more healthy foods, but I probably won't be dealing as much with things like tamarind concentrate, Kedgeree spice blend  or Sambal Oelek for awhile.

I can hardly wait to try the brown butter shrimp with smoked gouda grits I ordered for a couple of weeks from now....

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