Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Boxed Meals - Cooking Outside The Box

Can a simple box of food change the way a family eats? Absolutely! It's a new trend where ingredients plus recipe are left on the front doorstep for the night;s meal. It's a new trend that's nourishing  the country as well as creating more legions of home chefs.

Kim Severson wrote about this new food phenomenon in today's New York Times' Food section.  She explored companies such as Blue Apron and the vegan Purple Carrot. For some it's a good idea. The companies send the exact amount of ingredients plus a fully illustrated recipe on how to make the dish. This is a great idea for busy parents who don't have time to shop or sit down and plan the week's dinner plan. It's also a good one  for those who live in rural areas where it's hard to get to supermarket especially in the winter .Blue Apron is also  a boon for  those who can't get the fancier ingredients sometimes needed to create a unique supper.Companies such as Blue Apron have a wide variety of choices that are ever changing. This week features spiced pork chops and mashed potatoes. The pork chops are coated in spices such as fennel and coriander , two spices home chefs may not think of using.Meal boxes are a learning experience for novice or not so great home chefs. They boost up confidences as home chefs learn all sorts of techniques with this at home culinary school. There are some  extended families who all order from Blue Apron and get together to cook what they've received.

The meal boxes are gaining in popularity. According to Technomic Inc., a food industry analyst predicts that the meal box industry can bring in revenues as high as five billion over the next decade. Some analysts though see signs of the trend waning. They do have some drawbacks namely in the packaging. Many of the companies do provide labels for customers to ship back the waste, including the gel packs and cardboard. These can be recycled for future packing. Also the companies are also working with packing material companies and shippers to reduce costs and garbage while keeping food cold and safe. The ultimate dream is packing the meals in containers that can be composted or turned into something else..Another aspect is Blue Apron and Purple Carrot don;t encourage creativity.Many home chefs like to puck out their ingredients and tinker with recipes. The meal boxes , though they may expand a home chef's knowledge,  canlimit what they can cook with in a meal. It also takes away from going family shopping and teaching kids about family recipes and their culinary heritage.

Boxed meals are a trend right now and they may be here to stay. They open a home chef's world to different spices and ingredients.They're worth a try for the busy or learning cook.

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