Willing to Work Less for a Meal

If there is anything we universally agree with at work, it’s that we all hate the grocery shopping experience. Covid-19 and the bare shelves that followed only exasperated how dreadful grocery shopping had become. Most of my co-workers order their groceries online and then pick them up. Me, I still go in person. Why, I don’t know. Maybe for the entertainment.

The other day, I was shopping at Kroger’s and a man was playing an electric violin in the parking lot. He, his violin, his amp, and his cardboard sign were serenading customers as they walked in. He wasn’t your stereotypical panhandler, either. Instead, he looked like a soccer dad. Maybe he lost a bet or something, but it just shows how ridiculous something as mundane as grocery shopping has become in Decatur.

Grocery shopping has just become miserable, but that’s probably just reflecting society in general. Discontent people, underpaid employees, and overpriced food doesn’t exactly create a magical experience.

This country is a mess. When I think of how much better society was when I was a kid, I could cry. But that’s not the topic of today. Today, it’s me learning how to cook!

A few months ago I tried a meal delivery service, I think from Freshly. I watched reviews on YouTube and the reviews were all positive. How? The two meals I tried reminded me of the time I tried to make coleslaw, which ended up tasting like cabbage bathed in kerosene.

Maybe it was fluke, and I just picked some awful meals, but Freshly wasn’t for me. If that’s how fresh food tasted, I was happy to go back to the salt-laden, chemically enhanced frozen meals I relied on.

So, I tried something else. Instead of prepared meals, I’m now trying meal kits. This seemed like a better option since I could change the recipe to my taste. It’s also more affordable when cooking for two.

It wasn’t smooth sailing at first, though. My first delivery sat in Champaign’s FedEx distribution center for a week before it showed up at my house. Obviously, the food was spoiled by then. Every Plate did send me a replacement without me even asking, so that’s nice.

You pretty much get everything you need to make a meal. For the most part, the only things you’ll need at home are salt, pepper, butter, eggs, milk and some oils. The produce, meat, spices and other ingredients are shipped in a box with ice packs to keep the food from spoiling. It works well as long as it doesn’t sit at FedEx for a week.

At first, I ordered 5 meals a week, but that was too much. For one, I don’t have the time or energy to cook 5 days a week, and two, I like making meals that provide leftovers. So, now I’m receiving 3 meals a week. You can easily double many of the recipes by adding more potatoes, rice, etc.

While the meals aren’t designed for specific diets, the portion sizes are ideal for maintaining a healthier weight.

Learning the new recipes has become kinda fun. The recipes are easy to follow, and if you’re stuck in a rut with the same ole meals week after week, this is a good way to introduce some new ones that you might really like. You won’t have to search for hard-to-find ingredients at the grocery store, either.

After trying some of the recipes, I have realized how little I know about cooking. I had to Google whether the green part of scallions (which are the same thing as green onions apparently) are poisonous or not. I figured they weren’t since I had never heard of anyone dying from such a mistake. It reminded my of the time I fed rhubarb leaves to our pet hamster when I was a kid. My brothers had to yank them out of his pouches before he was poisoned. Since then, I’m leery of leafy vegetables.

I finally know how to cook boneless chicken breasts in a skillet! Who knew you needed to add some oil and blackening seasoning? I never even heard of such seasoning. Now, my chicken doesn’t taste like the inside of a rubber ball.

All this is not to say that I’m a bad cook. I’m not. What I know how to cook usually turns out good. Nevermind, the coleslaw. It’s just that I don’t know how to cook a lot of things.

So, if you’re looking for an easier way to prepare meals, learn new recipes and introduce some new ones into your repertoire, you might want to try such a service.

You won’t be serenaded by electric violins like at the grocery store, but you can always turn on some music.