Every cook, whether a complete Michelin-starred or an amateur chef, has one thing in common. We all need to eat daily. You might be making a simple pasta while another person is trying a complex dish for the first time, but both of you are doing it to fulfill a basic need. This is, unfortunately, a stumbling block for aspiring amateur chefs.
The problem is that cooking can feel like an obligation. Because of this, even people who love cooking often order in after a long day of work. Cooking is time-consuming and, while there is room for experimentation, you usually need an end product.
Imagine if you wanted to learn to paint, but knew that as soon as you started, you would have to produce a competent painting every day until… well, indefinitely. You would leave the painting to someone else.
An amateur chef can cook a handful of simple dishes without much thought, and they do so when they are too tired or have no time to try something new. However, those occasions quickly become the norm, and creativity goes out the window.
Many cooks are talking about meal kits these days. Meal kits are an alternative to cooking from scratch or ordering in that have been growing in popularity during the pandemic. What are meal kits? Do they offer a good alternative for aspiring cooks or do they instead destroy creativity?
What Are Meal Kits?
Meal kits are a meal in a box that arrives at your door ready to be cooked. You sign up for a subscription service, choosing to receive meals two or more times a week, and get to choose from a range of delicious meals. Then, on the days you have indicated, you receive a box of ingredients that have been chopped up and prepared. Along with the ingredients, you get a simple recipe to follow to apply the finishing touches and put them in the oven.
Meal kits are a very practical healthy solution for people who are too busy or too overexerted to make dinner from scratch every night. The food is fresh and nutritious, as well as varied.
But are meal kits a good solution for people who actually want to cook? Should they be left to those with no experience?
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Most meal kits are simple enough for even the most inexperienced cooks to make (although you can choose more difficult dishes if you are competent in the kitchen). While this may seem like a surefire way to keep people who don’t cook from learning, it can actually do the opposite.
People with no experience in the kitchen are often very intimidated by the thought of cooking. Getting used to the basics with simple meal kits helps them get more comfortable making food. They gain basic skills and learn that, by following a simple recipe, anyone can make delicious meals.
Over the course of the past year, meal kits have been increasing in popularity for people of all skill levels.
Eating in During a Pandemic
COVID-19 has changed many different areas of our lives. For some people who don’t have much time to cook during the week, it has meant having to rely on microwave meals and fast food when they would otherwise have gone out to a restaurant. But fast food gets repetitive quickly, and it is unfortunately very unhealthy. So, people have been searching for an alternative.
That has been a major reason for the increase in popularity of meal kits. While they have been embraced around the world, they have particularly taken off in North America, where their popularity had plateaued. Meal Kits in Canada, as well as in the US, have become a staple of many houses.
With the pandemic’s impact on our collective health, as well as the severity of the virus for people with diabetes and obesity, this is definitely a good thing. Meal kits are designed to be nutritious, with many providers offering plans according to specific diets. They make eating healthy easy, rather than a complicated process of meal planning and shopping accordingly.
That’s all well and good for people who have no intention of becoming better cooks. But what about the rest of us?
Meal Kits and Creativity
When you are cooking a meal kit, there is little room for creativity. You can add some spices that they don’t include, according to your personal taste, but you are best served by sticking to the recipe. Many meal kit dishes are more complex than the dishes you would make on a regular night, anyway.
However, that does not mean meal kits suppress creativity. On the contrary, they can increase your capacity to be creative. This is obviously true for people with no experience, who get to learn basic skills. But it is also true for the rest of us.
With meal kit delivery, you can take the weight of obligation out of cooking. Instead of having to expend energy every single night on making balanced dishes, you can make do most nights with a delicious, easy-to-make meal. Then, on the days when you decide to try something new, you are not exhausted from cooking the rest of the week.
Furthermore, meal kits may not be difficult for you to make, but that doesn’t mean they’re not creative. Many dishes on offer from meal kit delivery companies are meals you wouldn’t have thought to make on your own. When you put these meals together, you get ideas of how to shake up your own cooking. You can try something new based on these dishes.
In an ideal world, every dinner would be an opportunity for creativity. But unless you have tremendous resources, as well as plenty of time and energy every single day, most of us end up going with the easiest options. Meal kits are much better suited to this purpose than fast food or boring staples.
In terms of resources, meal kits are also very helpful. One of the biggest problems we face when trying to eat healthy is meal planning. Without some very thorough research and thinking, grocery shopping is an exercise in guesswork. This is why we throw away so much good food.
With meal kit delivery services, since you are no longer shopping for every meal each week, you can stock up with some novel ingredients to try in your own dishes. You won’t feel obligated to use whatever is leftover in your fridge before it inevitably goes off.
Meal kits can really be a lifesaver when you are trying to make healthy meals every night, especially if you are cooking for your whole family. Don’t worry about them destroying creativity – chances are, they’ll give you more of an opportunity to actually enjoy cooking.