It’s as much a cooking class as a meal delivery service.
Last weekend, I cooked up a Hello Fresh recipe for something called “Juicy Lucy Burgers. It’s basically an ordinary cheeseburger recipe, only the cheese is inside the burger and the whole thing is spiced up with a delicious jam made by frying sliced onions, tomato, olive oil and two and a half teaspoons of balsamic vinegar. I didn’t have a guest to share it with, of course, because I’m responsibly quarantining in order to do my part to end this pandemic. If I had had a guest over, I imagine they would’ve been very impressed.
I’m still cooking Hello Fresh meals months after canceling my subscription
Since I’d made it before, I knew to cook up more tomato and onion jam than was needed; in addition to burgers, it goes great on turkey sandwiches, or just spread over crackers when I need some extra calories to make it through my daily mid-afternoon slump.
Both the burgers and the sauce turned out better than ever before – which was neat, considering I canceled my Hello Fresh Subscription four months ago.
Back in July, I wrote about how I was experimenting with using my Hello Fresh subscription as a cooking class rather than a substitute for grocery shopping. Once I felt like I had built up a healthy collection of tasty recipes, I canceled my subscription and started using my folder full of recipes as a shopping list, and six months later, I’m happy to report that it actually works this way. That’s right: The Juicy Lucy burgers I sourced myself are even better than the ones I got delivered to me in a big box.
This is significant for me because I’m usually not that good at cooking. Though I frequently ate home-cooked meals growing up, I never memorized the recipes and fell out of the habit once I moved to cities where delivery is frustratingly convenient. Now, as the pandemic nears its one-year anniversary, I’m finally ready to become the self-reliant, domestic, boring adult man I’ve always known was my destiny.
The first is that the ingredients that come in a Hello Fresh box often aren’t great. Back when I was getting the food delivered, it wasn’t uncommon to find wimpy carrots, spotty tomatoes or – my biggest bugaboo – sub-par hot sauces. When I do my own shopping, I pick out good vegetables . even if the only recipes I know how to use them in are gleaned from an online grocery delivery service.
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The second reason is simpler: I’ve been able to customize the recipe to my own tastes. For example, instead of using potato buns, I use regular white or wheat buns, because I’m a f***ing American (I also just like them better). And, as compared to all Hello Fresh recipes I’ve used, I reduce the recommended sour cream by about 75%, because Hello Fresh doles out dairy like it’s a 1400s-era forest witch trying to fatten up a couple lost German children.
But the main reason I do this? It’s cheaper, my friend. $7.49 per serving (plus shipping) isn’t exactly restaurant prices, but it’s a heck of a lost worse than grocery store prices, and since I live alone and have the supplies required to shop safely during a pandemic, I’m happy to pocket that difference for a rainy day. Or, more realistically, a big party for feabie when my dinner dates start being real again. With Hello Fresh and other subscription services, you’re paying for convenience. You still get to cook fresh food, unlike with takeout, but you don’t have to do the shopping. That’s the whole point.
If you’re like me and want to do as much of your own cooking as possible while saving money, but also feel like your repertoire or recipes could use some refreshment, why not give a Hello Fresh subscription a chance – if only for a little bit?