I keep hearing about all these subscription meal services. There’s Hello Fresh, Daily Harvest, Naturebox and a whole slew of others, all with names designed to evoke thoughts of how easy, fresh, fast and, I assume, organic they are. None of those clever names, however, hint at how expensive they are.
Now I can understand why some people would think they need their meals prepared, cooked and delivered to the door, and I admit, in a perfect world, I would love that, but this is not that perfect world.
In addition to the cost of the food, which, for many of these services, starts at well above $15 a modest serving, there is the cost of the shipping, which the ads never mention — any idea how expensive it is to ship cold/frozen stuff, hhmm? There is also the bother of having to be home to receive the shipment, and I don’t know about you, but I do not stay at home all day long, five days a week, so I can be there to jump up and get that big box of very expensive food stuff off the porch and in the house before it is pirated by the neighborhood ne’er-do-wells.
The latest home meal delivery program I’ve seen has meals that are about twice as much as I normally spend to feed myself, plus you have to buy a “smart” oven to cook the food they deliver. The oven, which measures 18.5 by 12.32 by 11.75, sits on the countertop, and features Wi-Fi accessibility, I presume so you can start it up remotely.
First off, I don’t have a counter top in my kitchen big enough to fit the oven, and I really do not think I want to fire up an oven in my house while I am not home. Besides, if I am not home, who is going to get the meals out of the icebox and into the oven?
The oven does remind me of the toaster oven my grandparents had. It made really great toast, soft on the bottom, crunchy around the edges on top and because it cooked flat, it could be slathered with butter as it heated. Topped with a fried egg, over easy, it became “egg on toast,” something I have not had in several decades, and only recently saw featured on an ad with that really rude English chef.
Who knew my Memaw knew how to cook a classic English breakfast?
I do like cooking shows, but I have actually tried my hand at something I saw being made on TV once, maybe twice. Most cooking shows, like all of these meal delivery services, are not geared to a budget like mine.
There is this one cooking show on TV I discovered not long ago, called “Struggle Meals.” I found it on a channel that has cropped up on my cable. The host is entertaining, and the show is fast, with a lot of graphics and scrappy little asides that border on insubordination about the cooking show industry. The recipes are simple and, best yet, it’s all really inexpensive.
The premise of the show is that you can eat well — and get full — on less than $2 a plate. That means a full day’s worth of food for less than half the cost of just one Tovala meal, without having to come up with $300 dollars for the fancy-schmancy toaster oven.
A lot of the recipes use ingredients I already have, and the host gives tips on how to buy in bulk and store things to help keep the cost per plate low. He also advocates that people keep all of the packets of condiments they collect with take out meals, like soy sauce, ketchup, sriracha, red pepper flakes and what not, and keep all of them in a drawer, neatly organized.
A lot of this show’s recipes are “one pot,” which is particularly satisfying to me. I hate doing dishes, and the fewer pots and pans I have to clean up after cooking, the better. In fact, if I could afford having my shopping and cooking done for me, I would rather spend that money on someone to come in and do the dishes, so I could use my Wi-Fi to find some after-dinner entertainment.