This post is the second in a series of “Drafts I’ve had forever that I finally finished writing.”
When I was little my mom tried to teach me how to cook at least a dozen times. Each time I would tell her I hated cooking, I did not want to learn, and I did not care to know how.
She made things like Chicken and Dumplings, Beef Stroganoff, Steak and Baked Potatoes… I don’t really remember a whole lot else but I do remember my Grandma Karen saying “For all your mama’s faults, I can’t fault her cookin’. Lord knows that woman can cook.”
Fast forward to college – I had no idea wtf to do with food. Considering I worked in a restaurant, it was never really a problem. It was around this time that my Grandma gave me a cookbook full of recipes from the ladies of the Methodist church where I was baptized and which she attended her whole life.
I met Vince while at UCF (so still in the ‘college + restaurant + poor’ phase of nutrition) and he was all about cooking and having at-home date nights. He introduced me to some really flavorful marinades and preparation of chicken, super yummy veggies as a side, and awesome fresh fish filets. In response, I introduced him to classic Southern Thanksgiving dinners with the recipes from my Grandma’s church cookbook and managed to pull off making as many as 13 dishes to feed 20 people one year!
I got SO good at (and worn out from) cooking giant, completely-from-scratch Thanksgiving Dinners that I pretty much refused to cook any other time of year. Not to mention, I had no idea how to make non-fattening food for only two people.
Needless to say, Vince’s solution of marinated chicken and veggies got old. We got bored. I tried getting new ideas from Pinterest, but getting all those ingredients was hard and we ended up eating a lot of sandwiches for dinner.
Enter Blue Apron – The home meal delivery service that costs $60 a week for three meals that feed two people (so $10/per person, per meal). Food is delivered every Wednesday in crazy ice packs with everything individually packaged, labeled, and ready to make. Recipe cards are huge with step-by-step images and instructions. And the ingredients and variety are absolutely insane for this lil Southern girl.
I know food pics are impossible to look at for perspective but I think you can tell that those pictures are more than chicken and steamed veggies.
My favorite dishes sound (and tasted) absolutely delish:
- Za’atar-Spiced Steaks with Rutabaga-Barberry Tabbouleh and Labneh Cheese – First meal we ever made, I seriously was looking for the tabbouleh in the box not realizing I was making it from scratch.
- Miso Yuzu-Glazed Cod with Black Rice and Water Spinach
- The Roasted Japanse Sweet Potatoes with Miso-Dressed Spinach and Candied Cashews – I actually candied the cashews myself. They were amazeballs.
- Hearty Chicken Salad with New Potatoes, Pickled Rhubarb, and Goat Cheese – like, hot damn levels of good.
- Turkey Steam Buns with Quick Cucumber-Radish Kimchi – Loved this though I HATE cucumber
- Salmon Burgers with Creme Fraiche Sauce, Arugula, and Potato Salad – No words.
Some of those ingredients are things I have never even heard of, or have only ever eaten when someone else has prepared it for me. To make it on my own is insane!!
To Ms. Lauren Pants who introduced me to Blue Apron and Ms. Brenna Almost-K who turned Pants onto it, I say THANK YOU!
Thank you, Blue Apron, for making cooking fun and easy, for sparing me hours on pinterest digging for recipes I can actually make, for saving me trips to the grocery store for weird ingredients I can never find. And most of all, for confirming Little-Ali did the right thing by skipping those lessons on how to cook Beef Stroganoff with my mom…. because ew.