TRAVEL TALK: THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING
So, by the time I had unpacked my box from Hello Fresh, they were already way behind the Blue Apron Experience. However, we’d changed services for the benefit of my hubby. Did things get any better?
Time to Cook
In spite of all my little disappointments, the proof is in the pudding – not the packaging. If I could have a happy husband, I could live without the Blue Apron knick knacks bag. Only cooking wasn’t quite as much fun either.
At first glance, the recipe cards for Blue Apron and Hello Fresh are very similar. One is formatted in Portrait and the other in Landscape, but that is irrelevant to the outcome of the meal. For the most part, both cards contain the same information, but Hello Fresh completely missed the opportunity to tell me how delicious the recipe was going to be and what delightful ingredients I had received. Aesthetically Blue Apron is more attractive to me. Every item in every picture is upscale and pristine, just as you would expect in a gourmet kitchen. Hello Fresh has more mundane accouterments in their photographs, including a stained cooking sheet. Bad form Hello Fresh. Points to Blue Apron.
Then I started cooking and the points went to Blue Apron – AGAIN. The instructions are so much easier to follow on Blue Apron. For one thing, Blue Apron has you prep all the items before you start cooking, so everything is ready before you actually start the tricky stuff. Hello Fresh intersperses the prep work in with the cooking, so you have to stop all the way along to prep something else. On my third meal, I went through the recipe and underlined all the prep work and did it before I started the rest of it, but that was a hassle.
Also, Blue Apron is virtually foolproof. It gave simple instructions and then told you how long to do whatever it was you were supposed to do to the food – roast for 10 minutes, turning over halfway; cook over medium high heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly – that sort of thing. With Hello Fresh there was a whole lot more do-this-until-that-happens, which leaves a whole lot up to chance. Yep, points to Blue Apron.
With Blue Apron, all you add from your own kitchen is olive oil, salt and pepper. Hello Fresh also asks for butter and sugar in addition. Points to Blue Apron.
Hello Fresh also sent more stuff than you needed – which defeated part of the reason I wanted a meal kit in the first place. Like sending a can of tomato paste, when I only needed a tablespoon. They pretend it’s a bonus, but the last thing I want at the end of a meal is a partial can of something. Points to Blue Apron again.
Hello Fresh and Blue Apron also handle calorie counts differently and as you might guess, I liked Blue Apron’s methodology better. Blue Apron packs a small pamphlet in their knick knack sack with the calories and all the nutritional information. I never saw any meal with more than 800 calories and it was usually much lower, averaging in the mid-600’s to the mid-700’s. Hello Fresh puts all the nutritional information for the whole week on one card – which includes all those meals I didn’t order. It’s my job to keep up with the card all week and I saw a meal with 950 calories. Points to Blue Apron.
There was one thing Hello Fresh did that I really liked. Every week Blue Apron sends you a head of garlic. Almost every recipe has the peeling and chopping of garlic in it. We never used an entire head, so I was giving out garlic to whoever would take it. In addition, peeling garlic is not one of my favorite things to do. So surprise, points to Hello Fresh.
Dinner on the Table
Visually, I thought Blue Apron meals looked more inviting than Hello Fresh and my husband would probably agree, but as soon as he started eating, he’d turn up his nose at something. Hello Fresh’s Parmesan Crusted Fish came with potatoes so everything was pretty much the same color, except for a sprinkling of carrots. Same with the Pork Chop and Sweet Potatoes – monochromatic, except for a few green beans. Hello Fresh’s finished product just didn’t have the sizzle of a Blue Apron plate, so you know who got the points.
But was Hello Fresh delicious? With the small exception of tasteless sweet potatoes, hubby gave the week an unqualified thumbs up. He was ready to go for the second week. Anything except Blue Apron for him, I guess.
I wasn’t as happy and it had to do with the quality of the food. The Parmesan Crusted Fish? Tilapia! Something I never saw with Blue Apron. The potatoes sent with the fish were common white potatoes, not the fingerlings and Yukon Golds Blue Apron had gotten me to fall in love with. To me, the Hello Fresh meals were OK, but pretty much what I could accomplish on my own, so kind of a yawn. The good news, I guess is that even though my cooking is sort of boring, my husband likes it.
Will we continue with Hello Fresh? Well, I was bored. So I used a coupon Bill had found for Sun Basket. Come back next week and see how that went.