When I was a single person, I used to cook for myself all the time. I was the master of cooking for one. Do you know how many things you can cook with just tin foil and a toaster? Pretty much anything. I’d make feta stuffed chicken, lemon butter salmon and baked sea scallops, in small enough portions so nothing ever went to waste.
When I met Mike, all that changed. He is very comfortable in the kitchen and a bit of a control freak, so after one too many criticisms on how I cut a tomato or buttered a pan, I said— “You like cooking? You can have it.”
Cut to ten years later and Mike has done pretty much all the cooking for our family. He also does all the grocery shopping. Even when Mike is away, I tend to order out for the kids or take them for pizza or burgers. Or I’ll look in the fridge and end up making scrambled eggs for dinner because I never prepare anything ahead of time. Mazzy and Harlow are such picky eaters, it seems foolish to waste too much energy buying ingredients and creating a whole meal. Mike at least knows he has me to eat whatever he is making.
Lately, a lot of my friends have been raving about a service called Blue Apron which delivers all the ingredients you need for a chef-designed recipe, right to your doorstep, in exactly the right proportions. No trips to the grocery store and no waste from unused ingredients. Plus, everything is fresh and sourced from local suppliers.
When I found out Mike was traveling for work last week, I decided to test it out. I chose the family plan, which serves four. You can opt to receive one or two deliveries per week, each delivery consisting of two meals to be served family-style. I selected Sweet Soy Chicken with Broccoli Fried Rice because that sounded the closest to something I could convince my kids to eat. Their pretty picky, as you know. Each meal figures out to be $8.74, which FYI, is way less than I would spend if I went to the supermarket or bought take-out.
Wednesday morning, I told Mazzy and Harlow I would be cooking dinner that evening. This was Mazzy’s response:
“You can cook, Mom???”
“Yes, I can cook.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure.”
“I’ve never seen you cook.”
“That’s because Daddy likes to do all the cooking.”
She said it just like that. Like she was humoring me and later when I proved I really COULDN’T COOK, she would have a nice “I told you so” moment.
I’m not sure what time Blue Apron arrived that day because I was at work, but they store it in a big freezer box so everything was fresh when I took it out. There was raw chicken cutlets, a head of broccoli, two organic eggs, two packets of rice, shallots, garlic, ginger and than a bag of “knick knacks” which contained things like sesame oil, sesame seeds, cashews and soy glaze.
For some reason, I was imagining everything chopped up in separate containers and I would just have to throw everything in a pot for the allotted amount of time. But no, this was REAL COOKING. Everything is portioned out so when they say add diced ginger, you have exactly the right amount of ginger, but you still have to dice the ginger.
The package of food comes with a recipe card which explains every step with pictures. VERY USEFUL for the cooking challenged like me.
Half my time was spent locating the pots, pans and tools I would need to prepare the meal, because I don’t even know where half the things are in my kitchen. Which is pretty hilarious because my kitchen is the size of a walk-in closet. And not Anna Wintour’s walk-in. We’re talking Anna Wintour’s dog walker’s dog walker’s closet.
Although it’s possible Anna Wintour’s dog walker’s dog walker does pretty well for himself and has a decent size closet, five times the size of my kitchen… But I digress.
Adding complication to my adventures in cooking was the fact that Harlow would not leave me alone and I didn’t have Mike to wrangle her away from me.
Instead I had to depend on Mazzy, who was SO EXCITED at the sight of me chopping vegetables and seasoning chicken, she was anxious to help. There’s not much room in our kitchen for sous chefs so helping meant peeling Harlow off my leg and carrying her into the living room, where she would try to keep her entertained.
I’m not going to lie— it wasn’t easy. But this isn’t due to Blue Apron, this is because the kids are used to having my full attention when I get home.
When it was all said and done, I must say— my meal looked exactly like the picture.
I left the shallots and black sesame seeds off Mazzy and Harlow’s food because I KNOW MY CHILDREN. If we were in a restaurant, we would have been screwed.
I served dinner about a 40 minutes after I started which is exactly the prep time allotted on the menu card. That fact alone made me pretty proud.
But the best part, and I mean the absolute best part, was Mazzy LOVED the food.
“This is really good, Mom. I mean, it’s REALLY REALLY GOOD.”
I have never been more pleased with myself.
Harlow was pickier. She wouldn’t try the chicken but she was very happy with the fried rice.
“If Harlow doesn’t eat her chicken, can I have it, Mom?”
“Seriously? You want seconds?” I don’t think I’ve ever heard Mazzy ask for seconds for anything other than ice cream. “Sure, you can have Harlow’s.”
“Thanks, Mom. It’s REALLY good. You can cook, mom. You REALLY CAN!”
I beamed and thought, “I told you so.”
Next step? Proving to my husband I can actually cook.
This post was sponsored by Blue Apron, but I am 100% using them again!