Learn to Cook. Really, Really Fast.
If I can do this you can do this, and pouring milk into cereal gives me anxiety.
I wouldn’t say that I grew up in the kitchen so much as I grew up being fed the proper amount of meals per day. My mother is “one of those” who made her own baby food. When she grew up and had me, she made mine. Boom! Here all night, folks.
My father, on the other hand, sent me off to school with plastic baggies of sliced pepperoni, dill pickles and Oreos.
As a fake adult it seems I’ve fallen somewhere in the middle: not a total frat boy (at the very least I don’t “forget” when I have a midnight pizza in the oven), but Gordon Ramsay won’t be calling me anytime soon and I’m not trying to work the word “reduction” into my vocabulary. Or “grocery shopping,” for that matter.
Which is where Blue Apron came in.
Blue Apron is, for the unfamiliar, a DIY meal service delivery. It’s a true godsend if you’re so busy that sometimes you forget to shower, find cooking intimidating and cry in supermarkets because you have no clue how to decipher a good chicken breast.
You sign up for the amount of meals you want, and they deliver the goods — fresh and neatly packaged, along with instructions that are very, very hard to F up.
Like, you have to try to mess up — which, on day 1, I succeeded in!
…I didn’t know that fresh fish didn’t have to be frozen. I also didn’t know that you have to then defrost the fish all day once you’ve more or less turned it into an iceberg. But you live and you learn and you call your mom and add a lot of butter. Let’s move on to day 2.
Steak. Steak is advanced, man, or at least I thought, so I called my friend Sage because his name sounded the most like it would appear before an ampersand in a co-authored cooking blog.
My original plan was to sit on a stool and drink wine while reading directions aloud. Curiosity got the best of me, however, and I soon found myself flipping and whisking and saying things like, “Let’s brown this a bit more,” “mashing potatoes is a great arm workout!” and, through mouthfuls of steak: “This is good/that was easy.”
Day 3 was my final test. Chicken meatballs with a Hoisin glaze. As I swiftly navigated my way around the kitchen, I noticed a few things: 1) my anxiety regarding the process of cooking was gone. I was…relaxed? 2) My phone was playing music as opposed to FaceTiming my dad to ask whether or not he thought “this color meat could kill me,” and 3) I was kind of into it. I was cooking! I considered Snapchatting it to brag but was distracted by the mild fire I’d set — although no worries! Just another day in the life of a chef.
A week later Leandra and I cooked three separate Blue Apron meals for The MR team. We served a hodgepodge of gnocchi, tofu with ginger rice, and Brie grilled cheese with a slick of homemade strawberry jam. At the end, the plates were empty, the bellies were full, and I was politely declining a call from Le Cordon Bleu.
They heard a rumor through the grapevine that my fish skills had since greatly improved.
Sorry you didn’t have a chance to try my now world famous trout, but the good news is you can make your own. 100 readers will get two free meals on their first Blue Apron order — just click here — and then post your results in the comments. I want to see your plating skills.