Make-it-yourself food delivery, the trial and the verdict
Make-it-yourself food - the case
When I was first married, and then when my girls were growing up, I used to cook a meal from scratch every evening. I never saw it as a chore, rather it made a welcome break from the demands of my working day, - a chance to mentally decompress and make the transition from office brain to home brain. And of course, eating the food gave us the opportunity to sit together as a family over the meal and debrief on our collective days. If that makes us sound nauseatingly like the Waltons, be assured there were plenty of heated discussions, which, as the girls became teenagers, regularly ended with one or other (one in particular) storming away from the table and slamming the door as she tossed her favourite "you're ruining my life" accusation at us.
Cooking for one is not as much fun
Nowadays, with only myself to cook for, my repertoire and my interest in cooking fresh food from scratch has become much more limited. It's not that I can't do it, it's more that I often can't be bothered. Gradually I came to realise this meant that I was eating a much less varied and therefore healthy diet. In my defence (your honour) I wasn't eating badly per say. I just kept making the same easy/quick to cook recipes over and over.
Why not try something different
So when someone from Gousto, the home cooking delivery service, rang on my doorbell offering a special introductory rate, I thought why not give it a go.
The way it works is that you download the app to your phone, make a selection of meals from a list of recipes which changes each week and nominate a day for them to be delivered. The ingredients arrive in specially packed boxes with the perishable items throughly chilled and wrapped to keep them fresh in case the box needs to be left somewhere before you can unpack it. Crucially, there are only exactly the the amounts of each ingredient you need to make each dish, so there's no waste. If the recipe requires one garlic clove, or one teaspoon of a herb, that's the exact amount you get.
Along with the ingredients comes a detailed recipe card for each dish, with clear step by step shots and instructions.
Make-it-yourself food - the witness evidence
My first box duly arrived with the ingredients and instructions for the three meals I'd chosen. I decided to start with the chickpea shawarma salad and pitta chips. Following the recipe instructions was as straightforward as they made it look, and the result not only looked pretty much exactly like the picture on the recipe card (definitely not a guaranteed outcome when I'm cooking) but tasted every bit as delicious as it looked.
Encouraged by my success with recipe number one, my two other dishes proved equally easy to follow and prepare. The harissa hummus with roasted veg and freekeh salad was yummy, but whilst the lamb biryani was tasty, I found it a bit fatty. All in all then, a very promising start.
Since that first box, I've had two more, with varying degrees of success - both in meal choices and delivery (one other box never arrived).
Make-it-yourself food - the verdict
There's no question that this sort of food delivery service can be both cost and time-efficient (no need for trips to the supermarket and all those oh-so-tempting impulse buys, not to mention having to buy a whole bag of salad leaves when you only need a handful). I have friends with children who swear by them as an easy way to have a freshly prepared family meal every night and my daughter and son-in-law are thoroughly enjoying theirs. BUT..... The minimum number of people each recipe serves is two, so if there's just one of you, each dish makes enough for two meals. Which means, even if you only order 2 recipe choices - the minimum number allowed - you have four meals to eat, each of them at least doubled up (some of them lasted me three sittings). And that also means knowing that you'll be home for four meals in the course of a week. Or filling your freezer with the leftovers where they can be frozen.
A change of plan
If all that works for you, then this is definitely worth considering. I tried several dishes and ingredients I'd never cooked or eaten before, and as I still have the recipe cards (complete with a very handy binder), I'll certainly make them again. For the moment though, I'm not always home often enough and found the repetition a little frustrating. So I've gone on to their service that allows me to order one-off boxes and will just do that as and when it works.
Gousto costs from £27.49 for a two-recipe box for two people and is just one of the growing number of food delivery services. Google 'cook yourself food delivery' and have a scroll through the options to find the one that you think would work best for you. And then let me know how you get on!
This post was not sponsored or paid for in any way. It's just my unbiased opinion.