This post is dedicated to Ginz, for without whom’s free box coupons I would never be able to make this snarky post about meal subscription boxes
Meal subscription boxes are, I think, the new thing. I’m basing this idea on the fact that there are a lot of different companies doing it and my targeted advertisements are all about Gryffindor sweatshirts and meal subscription boxes (I assume that this is because all hip millennials are into food and harry potter).
First, a disclaimer. I am in no way saying that meal subscription boxes are budget-friendly. Michael and I’s weekly grocery budget is around $80 TOTAL. That is, we aim to spend $40 EACH every week on EVERY food item (except alcohol which is, very sadly, part of the fun money budget). I’ve tried two different subscriptions, the first (Blue Apron) was about $60 a week – and that’s for THREE meals for TWO people. This one I am reviewing for this blog post (Hello Fresh) is $80 dollars a week! So if I were to really do this weekly, I would either have $20 left for 4 nights of dinner, 7 mornings of breakfast, and 7 days of lunches for TWO people – OR completely use up my grocery budget on three meals total. So why am I even making this post? I don’t know?!?!? I need to do something with my broke ass time.
So! Ginz VERY KINDLY gave me a free box of Hello Fresh. It arrived this afternoon.
Michael gets home before me most days and he NO JOKE, saw that I got a meal subscription box, went to Harris Teeter, and brought home a frozen pepperoni pizza.
Is this because he just really, really likes pepperoni pizza but never gets to eat it because his girlfriend is a vegetarian?!?! OR is it because last time I got a meal subscription box I guilted him for not helping me with it, and then took like two hours to make a really little meal???? YOU DECIDE. (NOTE: “If you want to know the truth, I wanted the pepperoni pizza! Normally we just eat cheese pizzas! Only cheese pizza! I just wanted pepperoni! I saw the box, but I didn’t even know what was in the box! LIES!” – Michael)
So inside the big box was three little boxes
So that was nice. If I remember correctly, Blue Apron’s box was a big mix of all the different packages of ingredients.
Inside the box was a booklet with the recipes and a little envelope with coupons for other services. (GINZ, DO YOU WANT A FREE BOX OF GRAZE, HMU) I really did like the booklet better than the big loose papers that Blue Apron gives you.
I spent a while thinking before I decided which recipe to make tonight. It was a rice bowl, a pizza thing, and a pasta thing. I decided to do the pasta thing because it was described as “easy peasy” and that it would take 20 minutes. NOW I don’t buy into the times they give you on recipes, and by “they” I mean people without obsessive compulsive disorder. People without OCD just cook willy nilly. People with OCD, you know, you got to at LEAST double the predicted time. Probably triple. This particular recipe took me like an hour and some change, but that’s mostly because it was a disaster, as I will explain.
First, I did like the directions they provided. They were simple. HOWEVER, they were a little TOO SIMPLE?? What the fucks a “lug” of oil? That’s not a common term! I assumed it was like, a healthy amount. I googled it and I got this fucking link for the chef dude who designed this for Hello Fresh’s forum or something. These people can’t even agree on what a lug is and they’re the sort of people who participate in online cooking forums!!! So, in short, I ended up with a sauce SO OILY I had to methodically spoon out the oil that settled on the top. It was a bit much.
I bet you think that was the disaster, it wasn’t! The real disaster is that I reached in the box for the can of tomatoes and it was covered in nasty green goo. I was like UM IS THIS PESTO? IS THERE PESTO IN THIS RECIPE (there wasn’t)?? So this particular box was smashed in on the side, which I didn’t think was a big deal BUT it smushed the tops of the asparagus and got really nasty and rotten.
This lead to a pretty decent sized OCD freakout that would have resulted in me throwing out the entire big box of food and sending a really nasty email to Hello Fresh BUT Michael read the email before I sent it and talked me down. I had already started to figure out what else I was gonna make for dinner because OBVIOUSLY if one item was spoiled then could I trust the rest of the items?!?!?!?! But anyway. I threw out the asparagus and made the pasta without it.
It was alright. Just like Blue Apron, it was enough for two small portions. And also like Blue Apron, I will probably just use the rest of the box as I see fit and not fuck with the recipes. I can spread out the ingredients a lot better than the suggestions let me tell you.
So in CONCLUSION was this Easy Peasey Fancyname Pasta worth approximately $26.666666??? Hell no. Was it fun to receive a big box of groceries for free? Hell yes. So if you know someone with a free box code, go the hell for it.
PS – PRO TIP FROM GINZ: The ice packs that come with the boxes are reusable!