Not Buying This Trendy Meal Plan
Having dinners delivered isn’t worth it if you still have to do the cooking and the clean-up
Your dinner is here. Just open the front door, slit open the cardboard box, cut apart the plastic vacuum-sealed wrapping — one for each separate food item — go to the kitchen, and start cooking. Dinner will be ready in a bit — that is, whenever you are done making it.
Help me here because I don’t get it. So many of my neighbors and friends in the suburbs and around the country are on this regular — and sometimes daily — meal-plan wagon train and I am not. They sign up for a subscription for fresh meals delivered to their homes, all prepared, measured and ready — minus the cooking part. And when I am most exhausted, that is precisely what I do not feel like doing for myself.
My sentiment is that if I am going to pay for a pre-fixed meal, all I want to bring to the table is my appetite. The meal is going to be hot and ready to eat. I am not willing to pay for a team of food service people to measure the raw portions, get them ready, and then mail or deliver them to me in oodles of packaging. So I can unwrap and cook it all. And then do the dishes.
When my dinner arrives, I am ready to eat. Not ready to cook.
I am trying to understand this. Are those pre-packaged meal kits sent to your front door suddenly popular because so many people hate grocery shopping?
Perhaps I am an oddity, but I enjoy grocery shopping, as long as it is not Saturday at noon. But even then, my dislike of battling crowds is offset by the likelihood that I will be fed samples of everything from energy drinks and tiny beef and cheddar sandwiches to burritos and tiramisu. And I will go home stuffed and happy.
Gliding through the aisles at the Jewel, Meijer, Whole Foods, Mariano’s, Fresh Thyme or Trader Joe’s, I admire the neat stacking of produce from apples to eggplants, their colors bursting from the shelves on a dreary March day. The visual abundance is appealing. The floors are clean, the produce and bakery staff smile, the cashier offers pleasantries. I am blissful in frozen foods, delirious in canned goods. The cereal aisle alone gives me pause — so much flavor, so many combinations, so many sizes. How could life ever be bad with a jumbo-sized box of honey-roasted flakes with strawberries as an option? If it isn’t the act of shopping for the ingredients that is driving the national trend to pre-fixed portions, perhaps it is all the measuring involved in meal preparation that turns people off. It could be they have an aversion to those glass measuring cups with red numbers and lines on the outside. Or maybe they experienced some traumatic baking event in home economics class that has scarred their cooking confidence for life.
Of course I understand not everyone loves to cook. Some say they don’t like to experiment with tastes and recipes, preferring to leave that mess, bother and time suck to someone else. This is not me. I experiment constantly. Just recently I threw some asparagus in a skillet with fresh garlic and olive oil, then sprinkled blue cheese on the top and garnished it with chopped tomatoes. It was exquisite.
Yes, I do see the time saving factor of these meal subscriptions. It’s the money spending I don’t get. If you are going to pay someone else to save you time, why not pay for all of your time to be saved, and order carry-out?
For some of these meal plans, it costs about the same. You can have an entire meal already cooked, hot, delicious and ready to devour. All you need to do is find a fork or a spoon. You can even eat with your hands. There are no pans to find,
no oven to warm, no dishes to wash. You are home free.
Allow me to add a disclaimer here. I do love to cook, but I am not cooking elaborate repasts every day. I make larger portions one day, then transform the main course over the next three days. Chicken with artichokes on Sunday night can turn into chicken tostadas, then become the base for chicken vegetable soup or warm chicken salad by Thursday.
Perhaps the surge in pre-packaged meals is due to the fact that because you do have to heat them up, they officially can be called “home-cooked.” For me, if I am going to shell out the cash for someone to do the prep and planning, I would like my prepared dinner to skip the home-cooked and head straight into “home-eaten.”Edit Module