Convenient Cooking, But at a Cost

My friend Liz and I recently discussed something we both have in common: As we’ve gotten increasingly more busy at work (she works for the city, I’m traveling more), we’ve cut down on the amount of time we used to spend planning meals and preparing them by eating the same easy-to-prep things over and over again (spinach or kale salads, avocado on toast, grilled cheese). To get out of this rut, Liz recently started using Plated, one of those meal-delivery companies that sends you ingredients from local farmers that you use to whip up dinner in 45 minutes or less (i.e. “braised chicken with gnocchi and artichokes,” or “cod with garlic potatoes”).

Adventures With a Dinner Kit Delivery Service

A few months before she left New York, my friend Audrey started experimenting with menu-delivery services. For about $60 per week, companies like Blue Apron and Plated will drop off ingredients for multiple dinners for two people; each ice-packed box contains recipe cards, plastic-encased protein and vegetables, and mini-bottles of seasonings like marjoram to miso. Cooking from these “dinner kits” largely replaced our regular restaurant outings—once or twice a week, Audrey would invite me over or bring her ingredients to my kitchen, I’d buy a bottle of wine or dessert, and we’d cook, drink, eat and talk.