Meals in a box: Pro and con
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Meals in a box: Pro and con

Jamie Geller joins with JChef to deliver food for you to cook

Jamie Geller
Jamie Geller

Every so often I am approached to review various things, and every so often I say yes. Especially when it comes to food.

Jamie Geller, the famous kosher chef and cookbook author, has partnered with JChef to deliver her delicious recipes straight to your home. She chose JChef, she said, because unlike other kosher food delivery services it ships nationwide. “30 minutes from box to table,” the lovely greeting card informs you. The food arrives in a box straight from Florida. All of the produce already has been checked by a mashgiach, and the protein comes partially frozen.

Kids, Jamie Geller doesn’t know me from a hole in the wall but, you, my readers, do know me. I will give it to you straight. Should you spend your hard earned money on this little culinary venture? Let’s see what I have to say….

I was able to choose two meals, and since husband #1 is so picky, it was going to be a challenge to find something that he actually would try. That being said, I went with “Crispy Schnitzel with Israel Salad and Oven Fries” and “One Pan Asian Pasta.” No, husband #1 does not eat one pan Asian pasta, but I do. Each meal is supposed to serve four people. So the schnitzel box contained four chicken cutlets. Which means four people either might be very hungry or know how to limit their portion control.

We will start with the schnitzel.

Pros

1. The recipe card is a beautiful picture of what you are going to be eating

2. All of the ingredients are spelled out for you in pictures and in words, and they are all there!

3. The instructions are easy to follow.

4. The cutlets cooked beautifully and I will definitely use the recipe again.

5. Husband #1 really like the oven fries so that was a HUGE pro and I will use that recipe again as well.

6. You can’t go wrong with Israeli salad (Unless, of course, you are husband #1 and when you are faced with a salad you eat only cucumbers.

Cons

1. You have to do the cooking yourself. There is no one in the box to do it for you.

2. Cutting up vegetables is messy and challenging, if you aren’t good at it or do it on a regular basis.

3. You have to fry the schnitzel, which makes a mess.

4. You can’t pick your own produce, so you are up a creek if the potatoes or tomatoes aren’t perfect.

5. The recipe card says it takes 30 minutes from box to table. It did not. In fact, it took almost twice that time to make it.

6. The biggest con of all is that you have to clean everything up after you finish cooking. There is no one in the box for that either.

And now the One Pan Asian Pasta

Pros

1. The recipe card provides a beautiful picture of what your meal is going to look like.

2. The instructions are easy to follow.

3. The dish looks beautiful when it is finished.

Cons

1. You have to cut your own vegetables for this recipe as well — it makes a mess — so this one is messy too.

2. There are a lot of seasonings that you think you should put in because they come with the recipe, but if you use all of them, it is a little too much.

3. The water-to-pasta ratio fell short, and the pasta ended up being clumpy and sticky.

4. And you still need to clean the mess you made by making the meal.

And there is no dessert. Every meal needs a dessert.

I did have the pleasure of speaking to Jamie after I made the meals.

I voiced my concerns about the time discrepancies — I told her that neither the schnitzel nor the pasta took me the amount of time  the package guaranteed, and I cook all the time. And also the problem with having to clean up, but I guess there is nothing you can do about that. She was surprised that it took me so long to make the meals, but she was exceedingly gracious in handling my constructive criticism.

So who are these meals for? Who would spend this kind of money on this product? It is a very good question. If you are a husband who is trying to impress his wife with a romantic meal, but you have never cooked before, don’t start with this. The mess you will leave in the kitchen is not worth it. However, if you are a husband who does cook, and you want to try something a little different, then go for it. (Same applies if you are a wife to a husband, a husband to a husband, a wife to a wife, or any other combination-married, dating, or otherwise, because there will be a mess in the kitchen. That is a guarantee.)

A friend of mine sends these meals to her daughter in college because then she knows that her child is eating a healthy, fresh meal (well, four of them, if she orders the four serving plan). I thought that was a genius idea. And it also might be a nice gift to send someone, but not if that someone has a new baby or is bedridden. (Just stating the obvious…) There have been other kosher food delivery services that have not made it, so I really hope that this is a successful venture for Jamie Geller and JChef. I would be curious to know why/how the non-kosher food delivery services seem to stick around longer.

If you are interested in ordering, the site is JChef.com and I would love for you to share your experiences with me!

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