I was a waitress in high school and college. Later, when they were just starting to be available, I sold computerized restaurant ordering systems. It was standard, at the time, that restaurants, particularly those that catered to office people, be able to turn their tables every 20 minutes.
That means that, from the time a diner sits down until they have paid and walked out the door, no more than 20 minutes has elapsed.
This is great for the restaurant – in a given hour 3 sets of diners will have sat at any table, ordered, ate and paid.
It’s great for the business owners because their staff can leave, eat lunch and be back at their desks quickly.
It’s not so great for people being forced to eat so fast.
And speed-eating seems to carryover into other meals, that should be relaxed. I remember Thanksgiving dinners being done in less than 30 minutes, from putting the turkey on the table to the last bite of pumpkin pie.
I cook and have always cooked. We have also viewed our dinner as a chance to relax and talk after a busy day… Yes, even (or maybe more so) now.
But if ‘meal kits’ work to get busy people to sit around a table, eating and connecting with each other, I’m all for them.
Read on for more info:
Food is the cornerstone of civilization. Cooking and eating are about more than just nutrition, or filling that void in your belly. They’re about coming together with family and friends. They’re about community and putting aside the stresses of the day to sit down together. Food can bypass cultural and political boundaries and tie us all closer together as human beings. However, if the meal doesn’t taste particularly good, all those benefits fall by the wayside.
In addition to those benefits, there’s an increasing body of evidence that points to a significant number of health benefits that stem from eating together. It’s not just about the nutritional value of the dish, the number of calories consumed, or the amount of fat, either.
For instance, the Washington Times points out that eating a meal together, whether as a family, with a group of friends, or even just with coworkers, “benefits every aspect of your wellbeing – emotionally, physically, socially, occupationally, spiritually, intellectually, and mentally – which all acts and interacts in a way that contributes to your overall quality of life.” HealthLinkBC backs up those claims, “There are nutrition, health, social, and mental benefits to eating with others.”
The Challenge with Creating Delicious Meals
Today, we’re all pressed for time. We’re juggling careers, family obligations, extracurricular activities, and a great deal more. It can be difficult to carve out time to research, plan a menu, go to the store for your ingredients, measure and prep those ingredients, and then cook it all up and serve a delicious meal.
Meal kits supposedly offer an answer to those challenges. They can certainly save time and energy. They may also be able to save you money over buying at the grocery store. They also ostensibly offer balanced nutrition, so they can do your body good. But how do they taste?
Is a meal kit really something that you can sit down to as a family or with a group of friends and actually enjoy, while fostering that sense of community and camaraderie we talked about?
The Truth about Meal Kits and Their Taste
While meal kits are certainly convenient, do they really help you create a delicious meal that everyone will actually want to sit down to? The answer seems to be “yes”. Each kit comes with all the ingredients necessary (premeasured) to create a particular dish, as well as a step-by-step recipe to follow for those who aren’t well-versed in the kitchen.
What brings the flavor to these dishes, though? What supports a great tasting meal? Here are some of the ingredients from a meal kit company’s dish to give you an idea of how flavor is created and delivered to the palate. Note that all ingredients are fresh:
- Garlic cloves
- Chili flakes
- Ricotta and parmesan cheeses
Chances are good you can already begin to imagine the layers of flavor that these ingredients could create. Here’s another example from a different recipe created by a meal kit company:
- Apricot jam
- Sesame oil
- Fry seasoning
- Balsamic vinegar
Again, you can probably already begin to imagine what those ingredients would taste like in your mind. Add in a few other ingredients, like pork tenderloin, green beans, and jasmine rice, and that mental image solidifies.
Do Meal Kits Contain All the Necessary Ingredients?
This is where things begin to get a little sticky. Meal kit companies provide most of what you’ll need. There are always things that you’ll need to have on hand in a well-stocked kitchen, like salt, vegetable oil or olive oil, butter, sugar, pepper, and the like. While not included, these are specified on the recipe card so you can ensure you’ve got what you need on hand when the kit arrives.
Comparing Your Options
Of course, finding the right meal kit company is one of the most significant challenges you’ll face. There are many options out there, and they’re certainly not all the same. Comparing your options is vital. For instance, a Canadian HelloFresh review can do more than just illuminate how the process works. It’s all about making an informed decision for your nutrition and the health of your family.