Friday, April 29, 2016

Home Chef Meal Delivery: A Review for the Inept

I can't cook.  This is true to the extent that I didn't properly boil eggs to dye at Easter.  This is also true to the extent that this happened:

Art Installation 1:  Exploding Bowl from Burner Turned on in Error

But I want to be a person who cooks.  I want it so much that I purchase display food.  My small kitchen is packed with ingredients that I long to someday make into savory meals for my healthy, nourished family.

My mother tried to teach me to cook.  But apathy coupled with the fact that I've had access to a cafeteria for my entire adult life has lead me to a life of expectations exploded like so many Pyrex bowls.  Taking the kids to the cafeteria has its pros (unlimited vegetables from which to choose) and its cons (unlimited access to pizza).  It's hard to take them there by myself, as they move through life as if constantly frolicking though fields of daisies.  I just end up yelling as trays of hot food are not frolickable.

Thus, I decided I would try "cooking for dummies," with the Home Chef Meal Delivery Service.  I find Facebook ads very compelling and it won me over to Home Chef immediately.  I am writing this for other poor shmoes like me who are hopeless in the kitchen who are thinking about giving in the Facebook seduction.

First, the carbon footprint of this service is ridiculous.  The shipping box is layered to keep the food cold and loaded with ice packs.  There isn't really a way to send these back.  Then, since all of the individual meals are pre-measured, each item is packaged within an inch of its life.  Still, however, liquid egg managed to explode over several ingredients.  Otherwise, four meals of four servings look like this:

Art Installation 2:  At least I can find the bacon, what else really matters?

I set out to make spaghetti and meatballs because honestly how hard could it be? 

"Well," said the universe.  "I see your challenge and I raise you ground beef."

It's not that they didn't send instructions.  Following them was easy enough.  But I don't eat garlic, and the kids won't eat anything in meatballs other than ground beef, so I had to improvise two sets of meatballs.  Because this was fancy food and so help me I was going to use all of those ingredients.  

Because my kitchen is so small, I had to cook things in shifts.  This added a half an hour onto the cooking.  And at the end I had this left over:

It's like when you make something from Ikea and you have three nuts, two bolts, and a weird bar thingy called "sklur" that you know should have gone into chest of drawers, but for the life of you you can figure out where.  So you just leave your Fluvligg the way you made it and weigh it down with sweaters to combat the accusatory wobble.  That stuff there?  It's cheese.  And garlic.  It was supposed to be in the food someplace, but darned if I know where.

The food itself wasn't bad.  Kid #1 rated the meal "Ommy Nommy goodness" (and then proceeded to eat about half of her serving) and Kid # 2 said it was yummy (but then ate about three noodles and a meatball).

 Without the Facebook discount, this meal would have cost 40.00.    Had I just used the display food in my home, it would have been a fraction of the cost.

This means, in theory, it took me two hours and 40.00 to produce spaghetti and meatballs and toasted bread that the kids didn't really eat.  My husband thought the meat was a little salty, which in Home Chef's defense was likely the fault of my bitter tears and not that of Home Chef.

This recipe was marked for "beginners."  You know who is a beginner, Home Chef.  YOUR FACE.  HA!  TAKE THAT!

At the end of the day, if you are a true loser novice like myself, might I suggest investing in some cooking classes (you had to "mince" things for this dish . . . you do that to pie?  I think?  In Britain?) or maybe bribe a friend who knows what they are doing to boil your Easter eggs.

I have three other "moderate" to "advanced" meals to try.  I'll be sure to write about how they go, because if you can't get a meal out of the home delivery service, at least you can get a story out of it.

Art Installation 3: "Get it Together Woman, It's Freaking Spaghetti" 

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