How many of you have heard of Plated, Try the World, and Home Chef? For those of us with limited time and an interest in learning new recipes from around the world, these companies provide great opportunities for us. Over the past couple months, I have enjoyed being able to “try the world” by purchasing ingredient kits or prepared meals online. While they may seem expensive and risky at first, they all have promotional rates. I encourage you try them to spice up your kitchen routine!
My experience began with a trial of Plated (fresh ingredients and recipes sent to my door), including the following:
- Beef and Summer Squash Empanadas with a Tomato, Pesto, and Basil Salad: This absolutely delicious meal and easy-to-make recipe was a great way for me to get a taste of Latin America. All ingredients were sent to my door, and I just had to chop the vegetables, prepare the empanada dough, and bake the empanadas for 30 minutes. The only part I did not like was the tomatoes were under-ripe, which made the tomato salad not as flavorful as normal.
- Garlicky Chicken with Capers, Anchovy, and Caramelized Summer Squash: I was impressed by the flavors in this meal which gave me a taste of Italy. Prep time took 20 minutes and cooking time took 20 minutes. Of all the Plated recipes I have tried, this was the easiest to prepare and had the most flavor. Sounds like an ideal cooking experience, right?
- Grilled Pork and Peach Skewers with Maple, Peach Mostarda, and Arugula: This recipe took the most prep time (40 minutes), but it was a great way to get a taste of the tropics. I could pretend I was in Hawaii again! I enjoyed the flavors, but would recommend cooking this recipe when you have leisurely time to actually enjoy the cooking process.
Then, on somewhat of a whim, and inspired by my multinational enterprise management class, I decided to Try the World. This was very expensive, but the trial made it affordable and I would recommend that you at least experience the trial!
- Taste of Japan: Uncharted territory in my personal travel map, Japan has always sparked my interest and I was eager to try Japanese flavors. I received an adorable box, which reminded me of a larger version of a Tiffany box, full of Japanese goodies. The box included Aoi Tea, Otafuku Foods kit (omelette-like pancake with variety of savory toppings), Morinaga (milk caramels), Takaokaya (seaweed snack), Akagi (soba noodles), Kasugai (gummy candies), and Wadakan (umami ponzu sauce). I was most curious to try the Takaokaya, as I had never tried seaweed as a snack before. The texture was a bit chewy, but the salty flavor was delicious. Also, as a kid at heart, I went straight for the Kasugai gummy candies, which had a delicious peach flavor. The box also included recommendations for how to use the ingredients, including hosting a tea party and having a romantic dinner date. I look forward trying the recipes and planning a Japanese dinner date.
- Taste of Paris: My second “Tiffany box” (lucky girl :)?), came with treats from France: Palais Des Thes (fine tea), La Mere Poulard (cookies), Domaine Des Vignes (mustard), Le Sunier De Camargue (finishing salt), La Maison Peltier (artisan honey), Maison D’Armoine (caramels), and Charles Antona (jam). The box also included a Paris culture guide, explaining the cultural background of each of the items in the box, how to prepare French meals, a recommendation of French cultural landmarks, French poetry and even a recommended French movie and music playlist! In my opinion, there is no better music for cooking than French music, so how perfect that they have a playlist prepared for you. It is very exciting to try the flavors of France again before living in Paris this winter. I particularly enjoy the Domaine Des Vignes mustard, which pairs well with a deli sandwich or as a dipping sauce for pretzels. La Mere Poulard cookies are also perfect when I have a sweet tooth, but am not looking for an overwhelmingly sweet taste. I may be a little biased too, because they are from Brittany, France, which is the origin of my first name! As I study French, I have enjoyed listening to French music. I also look forward to watching some French movies!
Most recently, I decided to try Home Chef, to compare it to Plated. It was interested to read A Common Connoisseur‘s insights, who described Home Chef as a more affordable option, with more meal selections and lower calories options. I will receive my order next Wednesday. I look forward to trying the Apple Cider Brined Salmon and Parisian Bistro Steak. If you are interested, I will be sure to share my insights on this option as well!
After trying the world in my kitchen, I have realized that there are great benefits to trying these options:
Experience new flavors from different parts of the world: If you cannot travel on a regular basis, what better way to get a traveler experience than through food! And you can practice cooking at the same time.
Learn how to combine spices and different food groups: I find it easy to cook, but difficult to know which spices and flavors work well with different meats and sides. I think that is the difference between a cook and a chef. Ingredients sent to our door help us learn more about ingredient combinations.
Save time: Finally, these meals options make it possible and relatively affordable for us to have grocery shopping and meal planning done for us. We can focus our time on the actual meal preparation and enjoyment with our loved ones!
Fun date idea: I have enjoyed cooking these recipes with my boyfriend. We have both been learning to cook together, and this makes it fun to try new flavors and meal ideas.
Live in the present: Cooking requires us to be focused. With all the distractions out there, it is important for us to recenter and live in the moment. Enjoy great scents and tastes in the process!
I hope that you take the opportunity to try the world with all the exciting new meal preparation options. Happy cooking!