Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Come mister tallyman, tally me bananas

My friend Erica recommended a service called Relish to me that provides you with five recipes and a coordinated shopping list every week. They guarantee that the entire list will cost you less than $80, and the recipes are picked so that you can use ingredients for more than one recipe. We tried out their trial menus last week, with a mixed amount of success.

We only needed four recipes for the week, so I nixed the tilapia right off the bat. I'm not a big fish person (gee, think that has anything to do with growing up in a frickin' desert?), even though I know I should be eating more fish because it's low fat, high in Omega whatsimadoodies and protein and all that. I'm just not really into fishyness. So that one was out. But we tried the chicken burritos with mango salsa, the pork tenderloin with blackberry sauce, the soy and ginger flank steak, and the ravioli with zucchini and pine nuts.

The best recipe by far was the ravioli. It was simple to make and tasty, made use of reasonably cheap ingredients (the fresh ravioli was pricey, but it was cancelled out by the dirt-cheap [no pun intended] zucchini), and tasted good as leftovers. I also liked the chicken burritos, but peeling and chopping the mango was a pain in the tuckus. The pork was okay, but the blackberry sauce needed to be thicker and more blackberry-y (the couscous that went with it was good - why don't we eat couscous more often?), and the flank steak was okay, too.

My biggest complaint is that the recipes aren't very well proof-read, particularly when you think this is their trial menu with which they're trying to convince people to use their service. The shopping list says "3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts" while the recipe calls for "3 chicken breasts." Even if you're a lousy cook, you know that there's a heckuva difference between 3 breasts and 3 pounds of breasts. The shopping list calls for one package of "Ramen noodles, Oriental flavor," but then the recipe tells you to throw out the seasoning packet. Well then why the $&!# does it need to be Oriental flavor? I was in the Asian food aisle going, "Beef flavor, mushroom flavor, shrimp flavor... dammit!"

This isn't a big deal if you're a careful reader (as I am, but only AFTER I got home from the store and was ready to start cooking) but it's a big deal when you're at the supermarket with an eight-month old baby and you can't find the frickin' Oriental flavor Ramen noodles. Going to the store with Nolan is kind of like that show Supermarket Sweep, except instead of a timer and a screaming audience to put pressure on you, you've got the ever-looming threat of a child who could go nuclear at any second. Nolan is a pretty mellow kid*, but when he's done, he is Done with a capital D. There will be no, "Hang on, sweetie, I just need to find the minced ginger in a jar," no, "We've only got three more items, Pooter Pie, just hold on." Then you become the woman in the checkout line with the screaming child that all the elderly ladies look at askance. When he's finished, He. Is. Finished. And so am I.

So it was a mixed success. I think we probably will still sign up for the service - we're on a bit of a budget these days what with the single income and the third (adorable) mouth to feed, so having someone else come up with a week's menu that maximizes your grocery money is a pretty sweet thing. And it's only 5 bucks a month. So we'll take a crack at it.

Thanks for reading.

*My stepmother says that Nolan's easy-going personality is God's attempt to trick us into having more kids. I think God could probably take a simpler route to getting us to have more kids. After all, he was responsible for that whole immaculate conception thing, if I'm not mistaken.

1 comment:

Erica Mulherin said...

Ha ha! I remember thinking the same thing? Why did I buy Oriental if I am throwing it away. I ended up using the seasoning in the salad's vinaigrette. Can you say SALTY!? I had to throw it out and start over.