More cookbooks are published every year than any other category. Why? Because all too many Americans don’t know how to cook and don’t understand the process.
Kathleen Flinn, a Paris-trained chef, was in the checkout line of her local market when she heard a woman complain about the high price of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. “Why don’t you buy a whole chicken and debone it?” she asked, only to hear the plaintive reply, “I wouldn’t know what to do with a whole chicken.” The result was a book, The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, to help people overcome their fear of cooking.
On the other hand, we have Bruce Shaw, former publisher of the Harvard Common Press and founder of the Food Loft. Looking at the same data, he posted on Facebook, “I don’t think that means the sky is falling.” Instead, he sees opportunity, especially in Albertsons’ acquisition of meal-kit service Plated.
Gourmet Meal Kits
Upstart companies are challenging your weekly treks to the grocery store, enticing you with gourmet recipes and superior ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. So we started wondering: Can the home chef really achieve cooking nirvana from food in a box? And more importantly, is it worth it?
To find out, MONEY got cooking this summer. Staffers spent days chopping, sautéing, baking, boiling, and, of course, tasting, in order to evaluate the six most popular home delivery meal kit services on the market today.
Launched in the U.S. in 2012 with the arrival of Blue Apron, these services bill themselves as an alternative to making your busy life less busy, designed to reduce the time and stress around preparing a home-cooked meal. For roughly $60 a week, you can order meals online and all of the essential ingredients for several dinners, along with easy-to-follow recipes—and it will all arrive at your doorstep a week later.