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Martha & Marley SpoonWhen it comes to cooking, I’m about as experienced as someone who just became self-aware at noontime yesterday. The cooking lingo is all there; the willingness to eat delicious food is there; but the know-how is lacking, and frankly speaking so is the desire.
I also live in a walk-up, so I’m pretty much the perfect candidate for food subscription services.
They allow me to learn a bit more about cooking (which I can apply on my own time), give me detailed instructions so I don’t get lost in what I’m doing, and provide me all the ingredients fresh and pre-portioned out so I don’t have to spend an hour every week shopping for groceries, buying too many, and then lugging them up the stairs.
When I grocery shop to get ingredients for a recipe, I wind up with a hunk of ginger that slowly goes bad in my fridge; how many other times this week will I happen to need that? Subscription services give me only how much I need, and they tell me in a nonjudgmental way exactly how to slice the weird-looking ginger into something gourmet and good. Grocery shopping in NYC isn’t cheap on its own either, and when I don’t have the food at home or don’t want to shop, I have no problem justifying take-out, even if and when basic financial self-preservation does. Plus, I typically have enough left over from dinner to stretch into lunch the next day. So for me, the cost of a subscription service about three out of the seven days of the week might sometimes wind up saving me money.
I recently tried out Martha & Marley Spoon for BI. I’ll save you the trouble if you don’t want to read further and say right here that I loved it. I will most likely be using it in my own life moving forward.
It’s about the same as the other meal kit services out there at a baseline: They deliver meal kits to your door that are all made out of fresh, pre-portioned ingredients needed for recipes that will serve twoor four people, whichever one you select prior.
Where Martha & Marley Spoon is different is that it’s not just any lady named Martha sending you her recipes, it’s Martha Stewart, mother of cooking – it’sthe Martha.
The service is also available through AmazonFresh – something that I think is probably reliant upon the former, or something called the Power of Martha. As easy as subscription services are, this one pairing up with Amazon is about as easy as it can get for you as a consumer. The experience with AmazonFresh is slightly different from their direct subscription program, but for the convenience, it’s hard to beat.
AmazonFresh will deliver tens of thousands of fresh grocery, household, baby, health andbeauty, and pet items to your door, plus local items as well – treats from your favorite local bakery or steak from your local butcher. They deliver even when the shops are closed (see also: the Power of Amazon). You can try it out for 30 days free here, and after the trial, Prime members can add on the grocery delivery system (and access to Martha & Marley Spoon) for $14.99/month and cancel anytime.
Martha & Marley Spoon
Martha’s recipes take into account seasonal considerations, so it’s easy to bring you what’s exactly best at a certain time of the year. There’s a different menu every week, so you can pop in and choose which meals look good to you. Their smallest option feeds two people and is sold at $24 ($12 per serving) while the option that serves fouris $38 total ($9.50 per serving). If I really like one of the options, I might even grab the meal for fourjust to save some money on more food.
It’s a bit more expensive than I’d typically spend on groceries, but I enjoyed cooking and learning new recipes, the food was truly delicious, and I didn’t spend money on take-out once. The excitement of cooking something different each night motivated me to get home and cook, rather than drove me into the delis nearby to avoid it. Each time I cooked, my roommates would come into the kitchen and ask “What is that? it smells so good.”
In my trial, I cooked the Banh Mi Turkey Burgers, Caramel Chicken (which Macklemore apparently also loved when he cooked it at BottleRockfestival with Martha), and Smoky Grilled Steak. All of them were delicious, taught me something new, and were extremely easy to follow along with.
I was not being charming when I said I have no real cooking experience – I don’t – but I still cooked this perfectly, thanks to detailed instructions. I never thought I’d be into Turkey Burgers– I identify with the sort of burger joint that still has grease from 1950 on the grill – but these were so delicious they might be my favorite meal I’ve ever made.
Mara LeightonEven though all the ingredients arrived on Friday and stayed in my fridge over the long weekend immediately after arriving, everything was still fresh when I got back to my house and started cooking Wednesday night. Recipes combined lots of flavors, like caramelized brown sugar (which I know how to make now) with ginger, scallions, and bok choy in one recipe and turkey, garlic, vinegar, and carrots in another.
When they work, I love subscription services. Living in New York has made me hate schlepping around anything heavy (like groceries) if it can be avoided, but this service stood out to me for the quality of the recipes and how easy they were for me to replicate well. I learned a lot, plus the box came with two complimentary “thank you” cookies, a burlap-like bag, and a wooden cooking spoon. If one person knows presentation, it’sMartha.
One thing I will mention is probably going to come as a no-brainer to others: If you don’t have a secure drop zone at your place and aren’t going to be home, this probably isn’t the service for you. The fresh ingredients and meat is kept cool in transit with thick cooling packs, but if it gets rerouted to another UPS facility because nobody was around to claim it or you don’t have an enclosed porch, that’s a big waste of food and money. I’m about to move, but the place I’m at is exactly one of those buildings that UPS considers not having a “secure drop zone” – so I worked from home to intercept this one.
To be fair though, this experience with Martha & Marley Spoon has made me even more excited to move – just so they can leave me these delicious meal kits once a week.