According to MarketWatch, Amazon applied earlier this month to trademark the phrase “We do the prep, you be the chef.” Sounds a lot like they’re planning to roll out meal prep kits like Plated, Blue Apron and Chef’d. Would you buy Amazon’s new meal kits?
More corporate giants are hopping on the meal kit bandwagon — even Coca-Cola is partnering up with Chef’d to make dinners that uh…”pair” with Coke products. We all know that Coke pairs perfectly with a cheeseburger, okay? There’s no point in disputing it, and no science behind it. No other dish can be improved with the addition of a Coke, certainly not short rib tacos.
But back to the matter at hand. I understand the value of meal kit services. We tested them out five years ago when they started hitting the markets (read: we cracked after being pitched a hundred times), and as someone with a reasonable grasp of how to get a nice meal on the table, I declare them wasteful and lame. If you want to learn how to cook, order a few of these boxes, get your bearings, then cut the cord and let trial and error do the rest. Become dependent on them, and you’ll never learn what one serving of fish or a tablespoon of soy sauce right out of the bottle into the pan actually looks like.
That all said, if Amazon is really getting into the meal kit delivery biz, here are a few suggestions for dinner lessons I haven’t seen from any other service.
A Valuable Taco Lesson
*Supplement $15 for the tortilla press and warming box — yes, that is all they cost on Amazon, then you get to use them forever.
- Ground chorizo
- Queso fresco
- Masa harina
- An onion
- A lime
Learn to brown and drain meat that isn’t beef or pork, crumble cheese and make fresh tortillas (which will instantly become your new obsession). It’s fun, smells good and results in tacos. “But I don’t know any other taco recipes,” you protest! You know those cheesy scrambled eggs you’re so proud of? Ever have leftover steak? Taco them. Taco them with feeling.
The Incredible, Edible Four-Meal Chicken Soup
- A whole chicken
- One each: carrot, celery rib, parsnip, onion, head of garlic, bunch of parsley
Yeah, kale’s neat and you should learn how to cook it more than one way. But if you’re ordering a meal kit delivery, there’s a chance you don’t yet know the magic of the four-meal chicken soup. Not only will you have a killer pot of soup for two you can easily tweak Latin with lime juice and cilantro or Asian with soy sauce or miso and scallions, you’ll certainly have another two servings of “blank slate” chicken left over. Try it in tacos, or create your own signature chicken salad for a sandwich.
Bonus points: It doesn’t matter what the vegetables look like — they’re going in soup. By sourcing “ugly” or slightly blemished produce that would have gone to waste, you can minimize cost while not affecting the finished product in the least.
Everyone Can Make Ceviche
- Good-quality fish and/or shellfish
Leave sushi to the masters and teach customers how to work with raw fish in the easiest possible way: ceviche. If you can chop ingredients into hunks, squeeze all the juice out of a few limes and wait patiently, you can make ceviche!
…or Amazon can continue the tradition of tricking people into thinking they can make shakshuka-stuffed peppers or potato-crusted catfish, and profiting handsomely. Let’s see what happens.