Learning To Cook

A few months ago I entered a new stage in my relationship... we broke up. Embarrassingly, I didn't know how to cook (other than eggs or toast) or clean since I always had someone doing that for me. I either lived at home, where my mother would take care of making dinner, I had a girlfriend that loved to cook for me, or I went out / ordered in. I decided that me not knowing how to cook was a weakness, and if I fixed this flaw, it would probably be a nice little gift to the women of the world (now that I'm single).

Blue Apron

My ex and I started cooking with Blue Apron out of convenience, and she loved making our food with it. When we ended things, I decided Blue Apron would be a great way for me to start learning to cook. They provide me all the ingredients I need, a recipe written in a way that anyone could understand, and even a cool iPhone app that has video instructions to show me how to do something I've never done before (pretty much everything). The two person meal package (enough to feed my 195lb man body) runs about $60/week. They give you three meals with all the ingredients and recipes in a small box delivered to your doorstep. The box is insulated and kept cold with ice, and they only deliver to areas where they could safely get the food to you. While $20/meal is a bit more expensive than going to the market and buying your own food, Blue Apron packages everything you need for the meal which comes in handy when the meals have unique ingredients like Furikake seasoning or Za’atar herbs, and I don't have them in my kitchen yet. I also don't need to go the market or worry about buying too much of any one ingredient since Blue Apron portion controls everything.

Trying New Things

I love any opportunity to try new things, especially food. Even though they give me a few choices of what food to pick each week I prefer just seeing what shows up. This way I am always trying meals that I either new heard of or something I would have never ordered. So far, all my favorite meals have been foods that I have never been fond of or never tried.

Remaking Recipes

So far, I have only done this twice since its hard to cook more than three times a week with my schedule but when I have it has been great. This is where the weird thrifty, nerdy side of me came out and I started pricing out what the meals cost, how long it took to shop, was I able to cook it faster, and did it end up tasting better or worse.

Culinary Education

My main reason for signing up for Blue Apron was to learn how to cook. They provide very detailed instructions and if you don't know how to do something they have instructional videos available on their website and mobile app. This is an example video for how to zest a lemon.

Fair Price

$20/meal is completely fair for what you are getting. When I have remade meals, it seems like the average cost of the meal comes out to about $15. After factoring in that you don't have to buy a much of herbs and spices that you are going to use once a year, the time it takes to go to the market, and not having to worry about your market having every speciality ingredient you might need the extra $5 is entirely justified.

Quality

So far, I have been very impressed with the quality of the food. The food is always fresh and seems to have been handpicked by the Blue Apron team to ensure that their customers get the best produce possible. The meals are, in my opinion, better than the restaurants I regularly go to, and I'm 90% sure that these meals are healthier as well.

Time to Cook

I am getting faster as I get more experience with cooking but sometimes the preparation work is pretty intensive. Between prep work and cooking it sometimes takes over an hour for me which is at least 20 mins more than the recipes estimate. I'm sure if I was more experienced (which I will be soon) the time to cook will get closer and closer to the estimate that Blue Apron suggests.

My Meals

These are a few of the meals I've cooked over the past few months:



@tsibels and I made Spicy Ponzu-Glazed Catfish with Zucchini, Garlic Rice & Ginger Peanuts. Thanks @blueapron

A photo posted by Brandon Brotsky (@brotsky) on


Last night I made Chicken & Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwiches with Shredded Collard Green & Carrot Slaw

A photo posted by Brandon Brotsky (@brotsky) on


Lemongrass Chicken Burgers with Hoisin Mayo & Roasted Potato Wedges @blueapron

A photo posted by Brandon Brotsky (@brotsky) on


@gbisqit and I cooked Brown Butter Cod with Corn, Shishito Peppers & Purple Potatoes @blueapron

A photo posted by Brandon Brotsky (@brotsky) on


Seared Pork Chops & Plum Salsa with Corn, Kale & Farro Salad @blueapron

A photo posted by Brandon Brotsky (@brotsky) on




Follow me on Instagram; I will continue to post my meals as I make them (if they look beautiful, of course).

Date Night or Cooking with Friends

It's no secret that cooking makes an excellent date night. When I have a lady friend come over for a Blue Apron culinary experience there are three situations that could happen:

  1. She likes to cook and wants to cook for me (I get my dinner made for me, win.)
  2. She doesn't like to cook, and I cook for her (She watches me cook while we have a conversation about puppies, win.)
  3. We cook together (The chemistry there is always amazing, win.)

I also cook with friends, but that's not nearly as fun. (Half kidding)

Conclusion

I am only about four months deep into my cooking experience and it has been a ton of fun. I can't say that I am an expert chef, and I still rely on recipes but I hope to continue improving my skills over the years until I could make my own unique, gourmet meals. Thanks Blue Apron!