One of my first posts on this blog was about using meal delivery systems. Since I had never used one before, I had to rely on other people’s reviews for most of my information.
I can now say, however, that I’ve joined the ranks of meal-delivery testers.
My wonderful sister gave us a week of meal delivery from Sun Basket for Christmas. I have a four-month-old and I went back to work in January, so she knew I’d need a little help.
This was a meal service I hadn’t heard about before, so let me give you a little info. They run pretty much like any other meal delivery service; pay per serving and you can choose however many meals you want from their eighteen weekly options. What is specific to them is they are certified USDA organic. Their produce is seasonal and comes from U.S. farms. Their meat and seafood are from U.S. ranchers and fishermen.
Like Hello Fresh, they cater to specific diets as well, a couple of which I hadn’t even heard of: Paleo, Lean and Clean, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, Mediterranean, “and more.” You do get what you pay for, though, at $11.99 per serving.
Monday, we got an e-mail saying that our box would arrive sometime that day. It actually came around five o’clock, so just in time for us to get dinner ready.
Opening the box, I found three paper bags lined up, neatly labeled with the meal they went with. We had Shanghai chicken wings and ginger-lime dipping sauce; fresh pappardell (which is pasta, apparently) with chorizo, chickpeas, and ricotta salata; and pan-seared steak with ajvar red pepper relish and watercress. Each bag had the produce, spices, and starter mixes, which came in little plastic jars. Under a layer of Styrofoam and sitting on a cold pack was the meat. Each meal was supposed to feed two people, and there was not that much meat. I suppose that says something about American meat consumption. The box also came with a little cookbook containing the recipes for all that week’s meals. You just had to find yours.
As they promised, the meals were pretty easy to prepare. I think they probably took more than thirty minutes for me, mostly because I am a slow cook and there was some learning curve, like trying to figure out how to turn watercress that still has the root on it into a salad while making sure my stake didn’t overcook. The directions weren’t particularly helpful there. However, that was the only time I had difficulty with the directions.
Our favorite dish, by far, was the steak. They were excellent cuts of meat and tasted beautiful. Our least favorite was the chicken. Possibly to avoid gluten, the recipe had you dredge the chicken in backing powder before cooking, which gave it quite a bitter taste. The lime dipping sauce didn’t balance that out, and the coleslaw had so much lime in it as to be overpowering.
It was super convenient to be able to put together a delicious, balanced meal with the same amount of effort we usually put into mac and cheese. I also appreciated not having to think ahead about meal planning and still have something healthy.
However, my husband and I enjoy cooking, and we have the skills to put together similar meals for much cheaper. We don’t have the budget to do this regularly. But that’s okay! It was super fun for the week we got it.