Now with Aia gone, I decided to try a meal delivery service. I ran into quite a few hurdles but finally tried Hello Fresh.
I probably won’t be doing this again.
Choosing the Service
Meal delivery services come in two types: Prep and No Prep. I looked at both but eventually went with a service that requires prep…simply because of the price. With only one or two exceptions every single services requires you sign up before you can view the meals. With the very few services that offer diet options, you only get to pick the generalized diet.
Then there is the pricing. These things are expensive. The services with lower prices usually don’t have fancy recipe cards and require prep but that is it. I went with Hello Fresh because of the first box discount they give. I got four meals, with two portions each for $50. Normally the price is much higher…and if you don’t like what the service is going to give you, it will cost you more.
Every meal change came with an extra cost on every plan I looked at. Can’t eat certain things, that’ll be 5.99 a portion extra. So I stuck with basic and decided to deal with that when the food got here.
The other issue? These services are not for single people. Most don’t have a single person option at all. Those that do, it will cost as much as twice as much for the service. Sure, you can cook all the portions / save the pre-made meals for another day. Cost wise though, it really didn’t make sense. The cost of these ingredients is insane.
The box was dumped on my doorstep in the middle of the day. Beaten and bruised, the box had seen better days, and it was super heavy. Hello Fresh put all the food under heavy ice packs. The actual weight was much, much less. The produce and packets for spices/sauces were all in brown bags. The meat was at the bottom of the box in individual plastic bags.
One of the bags was soaked.
The contents of that bag was fine but the next bag. Queue squish zucchini.
This zucchini represents half a meal.
Now Hello Fresh did credit my (cancelled) account for the zucchini. That would be $11.51. Now in my local stores, in season zucchini is only $1.00 to $2.00. This was getting less cost effective by the minute.
Better Know How To Cook
Most of the services do not teach you how to cook. In fact, with Hello Fresh, if you don’t know it would be pretty easy to ruin a meal. Temperatures are not always provided, neither are timings. If you don’t know what brown means, you could ruin the pork roast.
Also your kitchen must be stocked. Hello Fresh has a bust out list on each recipe. These can be gadgets (zesters, pans, bowls, etc) or other ingredients (sugar, oil, salt, pepper, etc). I don’t keep sugar in my kitchen, so I did without for most of these recipes.
Ingredients came in a variety of packaging. I knew just looking at these I would have to make some changes but I can cook so I knew what to do. For example, for the burger recipe, I threw out the buns and the ketchup. I threw out the mayonnaise too. Then made my own with added lemon and ghostpepper powder.
However many of the portions didn’t make sense. The recipes would say only use one clove of garlic but you are given two. The burgers were fine for two portions. The risotto (threw out the peas, added goat cheese, cooked the sausage in wine) would have been good for three people.
When I got to the roast pork, the first recipe with temps and times, found they weren’t right. The potatoes came out under cooked using their timing. They talked about the pork like it was steak, which while you can eat it slightly pink, the times would have provided a rare loin, which was not a good idea. Oh, I added Dijon mustard to the glaze.
Tonight I’ll make the chicken tacos. I did a different recipe for the quick pickle of the jalapenos. (Boil liquid with water and garlic. Add sliced jalapenos, remove from heat. Jar.) Do the recipes, over all taste good? Yes. I can say that, they are good recipes.
I won’t do this again. It costs too much money and the return isn’t very great. I can’t risk not having food around because that week the delivery guy dropped the box some where. I guess this just isn’t for me.
If you’re looking to replace eating out, the cost compares. If you have a family to feed, this would be a great idea. If you’re really a cook and need a healthy way to eat, many of these services will work.
Really though….it wasn’t for me.