DINNER IN A BOX

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Slick entrepreneurs have thought of everything. For people who like really good food and have no clue how to make it, somebody invented subscription food boxes. For a reasonable fee, once weekly a box of ingredients is delivered with recipes for meals to make with them.

We subscribed, because I have become completely unable to come up with any dinner ideas beyond macaroni and cheese, and I make horrible macaroni and cheese. Also, if a recipe calls for some exotic ingredient like a “pink lemon,” I have absolutely no will to search for one. Additionally, my spice cabinet does not contain Saigon Cinnamon.

Another feature of the food boxes is that they give you just the exact amount of those herbs and spices that you will need for the week’s meals, so that you won’t have a big jar of Saigon Cinnamon sitting around in your cupboard afterwards, reminding you that you used a teaspoon of it once.

So. My husband and I now cook together. We have learned a whole lot of stuff. We are not Pepin and Child, but we both now know what “chiffonade” means, and I got a microplane, for Pete’s sake.

There are pros and cons. The pros:

  • We made won tons. All by ourselves!
  • Did you know that apples and cabbage are delicious together if you throw in a little sugar, vinegar, and roasted caraway seeds?
  • Who knew you could roast caraway seeds?
  • Mirin is good.
  • You can roast vegetables at very high heat in the oven, and it only takes 15-18 minutes!
  • Same with chicken! Only 20 minutes! Unbelievable!

But, inevitably, there are cons:

  • Sweet potato tacos are pretty disgusting.
  • For some reason, every time a recipe calls for garlic, they send us an entire bulb. I now give garlic bulbs as little gifts.
  • We prefer our pizzas without potatoes on them.
  • Thai Basil is horrible.
  • We had to switch from “three meals a week for two people” to “two meals a week for four people” because we are gluttons, apparently. Those meals for two seemed more like hors d’oeuvres  to us.
  • Preparation takes an hour for two of us. We can’t seem to get the hang of kitchen efficiency down, no matter how many Julia Child reruns we watch.

But this activity has drawn the two of us together. We chat as we chop. We toast ourselves whenever we sit down to a lovely quiche (well, that’s a bit of a stretch) or a well sauteed chicken cutlet. And while we eat, we speculate about how much this dish would cost at a fine restaurant. We let ourselves gloat.

But then, every few weeks, we get the ingredients for Sweet Potato and Hatch Chili Quesadillas with Pomegranate Sauce, and we wonder if we have lost our minds…

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