THE BLOG

Recipe-Specific Meal-Delivery Websites Part I

08/01/2013 02:07 pm ET | Updated Oct 01, 2013

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Cooking at home has never been more appealing -- everyone knows cooking at home is healthier, less expensive, and infinitely more satisfying than eating out or takeout. But have you tried selecting a recipe online lately? Or felt guilty throwing away a rotting bunch of parsley after using only a couple sprigs?

Within the past year, several companies have decided to tackle the growing segment of the population that wants to cook at home, but needs a little help selecting a recipe and delivering pre-portion-sized groceries. I sampled four and scored them on price, taste, ease, eco-friendliness, nutrition, and vegan-/gluten-free/vegetarian-friendliness.

Read on for the first of four companies reviewed. Bon appétit!

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GRUBKIT: C

Cost per plate:
Classic GrubKits (approximately $19) include one recipe and serve between 3-4 adults; combo GrubKits include at least two recipes and can serve up to 8 adults. Free shipping in the continental US on orders of 3 or more GrubKits. For fewer than 3 kits, a flat $3.95 in the continental US. Keep in mind this does not take into account the cost of fresh ingredients.

Membership:
None at this time, but planned for fall/winter 2013.

Delivery zone:
Continental US

Shelf life:
Though kits contain only non-perishable ingredients, preparation is recommended within two weeks of ordering for best results.

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Recipe:
The current selection of 8 recipes includes 1 breakfast item, four entrees, two vegetarian entrees, and 1 dessert. Recipes change monthly and a membership option with unique recipes is planned. Recipes come from Barb, a home cook who runs the food blog WishfulChef.com, as well as other popular food bloggers.

Ingredients:
Natural and organic where possible and labeled on the recipe cards.

What You'll Need:
About three to four fresh ingredients per recipe, such as eggs, tofu, scallions, bean sprouts, garlic, lime, and chicken; pantry staples such as olive oil; and tools, such as a mixing bowl, small pot, large pot, large non-stick pan, colander, spoon, and knife.

Process:
Meals can take 30 to 60 minutes active time; possible passive time (for marinating) from 1 hour to overnight. The menu I tried was relatively straightforward and only took 30 minutes.

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Meals Tried:
Authentic Pad Thai Noods: B. I used the entire packet of chili pepper, and as a result this was spicier than desirable. I also used a quarter the amount of palm sugar the recipe called for since it called for what seemed to be an unnecessary amount of sugar.

Health:
Nutritional information is not available. Vegetarian, vegan friendly, and gluten-free recipes available.

Sustainability:
Small priority mail box with biodegradable packing peanuts; all the non-perishable ingredients are pre-measured in little eco-friendly, compostable cello bags and reusable jars.

Extras:
Recipe card includes tips and tricks and wine/beer pairings.

Founders:
Max and Barb, a husband-and-wife duo based in Brooklyn, NY.

Overall:
Because you still need to go to the grocery store to pick up perishable items, I found this service to be slightly beside the point. Photos on the recipe card would be helpful. I prepared the entire menu at once to serve family style, thus I feel this would take longer than 30 minutes to cook one portion at a time.

Would I recommend GrubKit to a beginning home cook short on time? Only, if he/she is still planning to order groceries for the fresh ingredients.

Click here for the next review...