Sunday, July 31, 2016

That's So F#$%*@&: Let's All Drop Our Gs and Cook Blue Apron!

 Hello, executive producer at major cable network for children! I’d like to pitch an idea for a piping-hot new television show for kids. Remember “That’s So Raven”? Well, how about “That’s So Fuckin”? Instead of a cute, sassy tween, TSF features a disturbed 6-year-old boy who says “That’s so fuckin” when life doesn’t go his way. He’s either a budding sociopathic serial murderer OR the next Steve Jobs. Maybe BOTH! What? Yes, that’s right, just like “That’s So Raven,” except filthy, absolutely FILTHY. Hello? HELLO? Another dropped cell phone call…damnable wireless network, why must you continually hinder my creative ambition!!!!

Recently, my son David and I have been at odds. I am either “the meanest mama in the world,” or someone with whom he wants to cuddle at night. At dinnertime, I am the worst short-order cook. Nothing I prepare is good enough, and my customer wants to eat on the sofa with the dog. As I make dinner, he complains that the service is too slow. Upon receiving the food, it is either too hot, not enough, or too much. I’ve failed miserably as a mother.  That is, there’s room for growth.

When the pressures of life become too much for me, I let the F word fly. Not constantly, but often enough that it has left an impression on David. He now uses the word just like mama: judiciously, yet with greater flair than me.  He is wont to exclaim, “That’s so fuckin!” at just the right moment, fists tightly clenched. Maybe his sister slapped him on the butt, or his mother denied him use of his precious iPad Mini. I try not to laugh, because the F word sounds ugly when a little boy says it.

I note this because all sorts of curse words were flying as I prepared my first week of Blue Apron meals. Since David was born six years ago, I cook about once a year. Both of my kids are picky eaters that prefer processed foods. A quick spin in the microwave or 15 minutes max in the oven will suffice. The husband doesn’t get home from work until after 9:00 PM, so I figured, what’s the point of real food? I’m tired and uninspired. I’ll just have what they’re having.

It turns out, however, that eating real food not only tastes better, it’s more satisfying. After dining on chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and mini pizzas, I was never full. After dinner, I grazed. By bedtime, I felt gross and bloated. I broke the vicious cycle by eating real food. Unfortunately, cooking real food is tediously irritating. Please do not be fooled by the parade of serene, smiling hosts on the Food Network, because they have crews of lackeys who do everything from chopping to cleaning.

Here are the top three annoying things about Blue Apron:

  • They use way too much garlic. I end up using about one-third of their recommended dosage. I mean, if you are going to kiss anyone later that evening, or even sleep next to someone whilst breathing, three cloves of garlic in one meal are downright disrespectful.

  • It asks you to do fussy things with food. I am not going to cut my green beans lengthwise. I simply don’t see the reason why or the need. Sure, it looks prettier than plain old fat green beans, but I almost cut my fingers. Ditto for cutting zucchini into ¼-inch strips. This I accomplished without bleeding, but only after a lot of cursing, and the end result wasn’t pretty.

  • Read all of the steps before you start. I was so proud of myself for finishing steps 1 and 2 in record time, only to discover that I was supposed to be doing step 3 while step 2 was in swing. Reading! Who has the time?

  •  Occasionally, your 20-lb box of weekly meals does not reach your actual address. It is placed in front of your neighbor’s door down the block, where it sits for 18 hours in the pouring rain and blazing heat. Needless to say, the ice packs only work for so long. Since my subscription began on July 18, this has occurred once. If one of your only problems in a given week is “My Blue Apron box went to the wrong address!” consider yourself kind of blessed, because this is definitely a first-world lament.

The resulting meals, however, are admittedly delicious. The one-hour preparation required to make them is not ideal if you are simultaneously herding a Jack Russell and trying to make quality time with your kids, but when I sit down at the cramped dining table littered with art supplies to indulge in my squid ink spaghetti dish studded with pan-fried shrimp and fresh corn from the cob…I am reminded that I really need to hire a personal organizer. After half a glass of wine and a few bites, however, it seems worth it.
You are going to eat this artichoke and you WILL LIKE IT!
Between the excessive cursing and complaining in my smoke-filled tiny kitchen, my real-life execution of Blue Apron in no way resembles that of the carefree woman on the commercials. The husband casually swings by their spacious kitchen to playfully grab her waist as she wields a large knife. I don’t see any kids in these ads. They must be at the neighbor’s house eating cheddar goldfish. Also, my husband is not one for playful banter, especially when sharp cutlery is present. In the past, he’s been lucky if he gets chicken nuggets or mac and cheese at 10:00 PM, but thanks to Blue Apron, goddammit, he will have his Beef Albondigas and his friggin burgers with Serrano chiles and goat cheese.

A great deal of anger and resentment goes into good cooking. Moreover, the lemon chicken with broiled squash and diced Yukon potatoes DOES taste better if you season it with your tears immediately before serving. Bon fucking appetit.

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