Wednesday, 16 September 2015

food we love: hello fresh





I owe a lot to my colleagues; for mentoring me at work, for showing me friendship and compassion, and for being the reason that I can finally cook.
Some of you might be a bit confused, and my colleagues were as well, because many people simply love to cook and create new and interesting dishes. But I never had a real interest in cooking and therefore, I didn’t have an understanding or feeling for which tastes go together and which ingredients create amazing infusions. My family tried many times to lure me into cooking and create an interest, but it never happened. As I was coming to the end of my employment, my colleagues gave me an amazing present which changed my life in such a positive way. They gave a gift of seven Hello Fresh boxes - seven weeks of meals with five dishes a week for two people. Which ultimately meant I had no choice but to cook an entire dinner for two from scratch every evening for seven weeks long.
When you order with Hello Fresh, you can choose from a range of different boxes, from two meals a week to five and for between two and five people. Moreover, the products they deliver are mostly organic, are chosen carefully and always fresh. The meat quality is incredibly good and very flavoursome. There was an extensive range of products and not once was something missing from the box. In addition, the products are packed very well, so they arrive safe and intact to your door. The fresh products are packed in a cool bag with cool packs, which are both recyclable.
The first box was super exciting and everything was new. So I unpacked everything with suspense and read all the recipe cards. As the time moved on I got more used to receiving the box and had a space in the fridge especially for the products.
At the start of the week I could choose from five dishes and usually made the recipes with meat and fish first whilst the products were very fresh. The recipe card is very well designed and organised. It shows on the one side the finished dish and all the ingredients. I started by getting all the ingredients and products out and placing them on the worktop before beginning. On the other side of the card the ingredients and quantities are listed. You need to be careful because sometimes the same ingredient is for 2 dishes, so make sure to read the quantities carefully. I sometimes didn’t and then a whole onion landed in the dish instead of half… but these things can happen. Also on the same side of the recipe card you will find the step-by-step method listed simply and logically with a description. The description is very easy to understand and there is a logical way to how they built it up. For someone who didn’t have much experience with cooking it was a lot of fun going through the descriptions and doing it step-by-step. As the weeks moved on I got used to the method and didn’t have to read it step-by-step. After a few dishes you realise what works best in your kitchen. For example, if it said to chop all the veg and then add the meat, you might not have space for all the chopped up ingredients on your worktop, so you are better off doing the meat and then adding the chopped veg to the meat straight away. I learned this after a couple of times cooking. I loved cooking every dish and I really have to say the dishes are well chosen und extremely well thought out. Of course there were some dishes which I loved even more than others. After a couple of weeks I realised that I had gotten used to cooking every day and to being in the kitchen. Whenever I didn’t cook, I felt like something was missing.
So far I only mentioned the positive sides of the concept, but with a few improvements it could work even better. One thing I realized is that the recipe card always lists the time needed to make the dish. And after seven weeks I can say in 80% of cases the time listed wasn’t accurate. I always needed much longer, especially with dishes where something goes in the oven or a lot of chopping up or meat preparation is involved. I didn’t mind it too much, because after a couple of times I realized and planned the time better. Another critique is that there were two weeks which had multiple pasta dishes and there wasn’t much variety, but maybe it was only a coincidence.
All in all, I can say it was a very positive experience which brought me closer to cooking and I have to say I really enjoy it now. Obviously I have to practice a lot more until I can cook something purely by feeling and without looking at a recipe every few minutes. But I can say for sure that my cooking skills are better than I ever imagined.
For that I am truly thankful.





















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