We Are A Zoo

Life Lessons in the Kitchen

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This post is sponsored by Blue Apron.

I just had to do math on my fingers to figure out how long we've been using the Blue Apron service. It was either that or count the recipe cards, which, I mean:




It's been about 19 months, a whole bunch of posts and even more awesome meals. Less shopping and food waste, fun recipes to choose from, excellent and unusual ingredients, impeccable customer service. And my hippie side appreciates how hard the company works to constantly improve/streamline/reduce the packaging and sources food from sustainable fisheries and humane, responsible farms. Definitely makes how CONVENIENT the service is feel like even less of a trade-off.


(And yes, I am typing this praise of my own genuine authentic free will and not because of some required list of talking points. SO THERE.)

And now, for something maybe slightly different, I present 20 completely random cooking and life lessons that Blue Apron has taught me:

1) My children will eat ANYTHING if it's encased in a calzone. 

2) Make kiddo-sized calzones for double the dinner yield, reheat the leftovers in the oven during breakfast, wrap in foil, and toss in their lunchboxes. Your children will officially be eating kale and mushrooms for lunch while being the envy of all their friends because calzonnnnnnes.


4) I also spent much of my life thinking that I didn't like capers. I was deeply mistaken. 

5) I know how to make kimchi now! 

6) And the world's greatest salad dressing from scratch, in under five minutes.

7) That salad dressing has singlehandedly changed my husband's opinion re: salad. 

8) (Two tablespoons of minced shallot + one tablespoon red wine vinegar + one tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard + salt/pepper. Slowly whisk in two tablespoons of olive oil and = super-simple dressing that is so much better than you would ever expect it to be.)

9) Speaking of my husband, he tends to grouse every time I select vegetarian recipes, yet every time they end up being the favorite of the entire week.

10) Unless there's a sandwich of some kind. Which may seem odd for dinner and I don't know how they do it, but Blue Apron sandwiches are made of magic. It will be the best version of said sandwich you've ever had, much less made for yourself. 

11) I've finally gotten to a point in my life where I remember to reserve the stupid pasta water.

12) Most of the time.

13) Last week I confronted my self-doubt over my ability to not overcook seafood and made the world's most perfect crispy cod and soba noodle dish to universal dinner table acclaim. 

14) My four year old will sometimes be like, "YAY FISH AND NOODLES" and sometimes be like, "FISH AND NOODLES OH THE HORROR." 

15) Korean bao sliders, complete with a spicy aioli, were an unexpected home run. 


16) Remember there's another calzone recipe coming in a few weeks. He'll be fine. 

17) You can reuse most of the BA packaging even before you recycle it. We reuse the plastic bags all the time (for everything from snacks to crayons), have a freezer full of ice packs for travel/picnics, and obviously hoarded months' worth of boxes for our move. 

18) Currently we are saving the empty boxes because the kids have decided to build a very ambitious life-sized Minecraft house/fort thing in the basement. 

19) You know what's even better than getting all the ingredients and recipes for most of your weeknight meals delivered right to your house? 

20) Getting the wines that go with all those meals delivered right to your house. And mouth.


(Oh yeah, you know we stuck with that service too.)

First 50 readers to follow THIS LINK will receive two free meals in your first order. Skip a week or cancel anytime.

Blue Apron delivers practically nationwide and offers a free recycling program for members. Read more about their sustainability mission and ingredient sourcing here

One more/final thank you to Blue Apron for so generously sponsoring this little old blog for so long and for being so cool to work with. 



Megan H.

Did you happen to have the BA pasta dish a few weeks ago topped with fried capers? Amazing. I am now looking for any excuse to fry up some capers to put on top of my dinners.


I really, really wanted to love Blue Apron and I gave it a good try but it just wasn't right for us. A couple of times the fish was maybe frozen too long, once all the containers had broken and the ingredients dripped all over, stuff like that. The last straw was when they sent an entire butternut. Although it tasted good, that recipe was NOT a timesaver! Oh well.

Joanna Moore

I just tried to see if they deliver to Canada because I love your posts about them and am very sad that it appears that they do not :(


The sandwiches are magic!! And so are the burgers.

Kristin C

We just started this week! General Tso's last night and some tasty pork roast and vegetarian enchiladas rounding out week 1. Going to try it until our farm share starts and then probably re-up in the fall when I'm all "WHAT DO I EAT IT'S WINTER AND EVERYTHING IS DEAD"

Sue W.

Who is that man-child pictured above?? It cannot be Little Boy Ike!

Lis Bokt

I signed up for BA because of you and so far it's been pretty decent. We have had a few hiccups and I have officially decided I do not like the linguine they keep bringing up every other week.

However, I am a huge fan of salad and the various dressings I keep making myself are AWESOME, OMG. It has actually made me no longer like ranch.


I signed up last August because of your reviews. And I've skipped maybe 4 weeks that entire time. In fact, I"m eating leftover crispy cod tacos for lunch today.

There were a few weeks in a row this winter where there were some meals that I wasn't completely crazy about (they weren't bad just kind of blah). But when I thought about skipping a week or two, I had no desire to come up with something else to cook that week. Now, the last few weeks, it's been some really good stuff.

One thing that I've recently thought about is how different my eat-at-home diet is since I signed up. I cook fish once a week, which I didn't do before. I eat a ton of kale and I've made other greens that I've only had in restaurants....like collard green and bok chop.


I am tempted every time you post about this (and am happy Blue Apron keeps you fed so keep posting!), but my family has too many food intolerances combined for it to work (fish, soy, nuts...). I love that the recipes are publicly available, so I just need to adapt them to our needs.


I am also eating leftover Blue Apron today! We have liked every meal they have sent and have loved most of them. I eat things I would have never tried cooking before. Had no idea that I LOVE kale.


You nailed it! That pasta water is kicking my butt.


A friend of mine hooked me up with a free week of meals and I forgot to skip last week so we got those too. It was great. Even my skeptical, professional chef husband liked all of the meals. The only issue we have is that, well there are 2, a) my kid still wont try the food and b) the portions aren't big enough to yield leftovers for lunch the next day.And that's pretty much how I feed myself at work. So, we're doing a modified schedule....picking and choosing when we want a week and then skipping the rest. I'm psyched! My husband is a great chef but doesn't cook outside of his comfort zone ever so this is a great way to get him to experiment with flavors and *I* get to eat a lot of the yummy spices and foods that my palate loves and misses!


YES. My BF is a "purist" ("pain in the ass" is more like it) and often balks at the BA recipes, but I ignore him and cook them anyway and he's like "that was the best blahblah you've ever made" and I'm like I KNOW.


Ugh...so jealous because these look like they would be so perfectly awesome. Unfortunately, I have weird food allergies (mustard, pumpkin, melons, etc) and so many recipes include no-nos. I am living vicariously through you.


I'm really curious about Blue Apron, but have a REALLY picky husband. Scanning through the next few weeks of recipes on site, it looks like I'd only be interested in about half of them, and of those weeks there are only 3 of the 6 2-person recipes that I think hubby would be willing to try. But it doesn't look like I get to choose my recipes? All the FAQs say the choices are "curated based on your preferences." But that suggests I get what I get, and it may not be the three recipes I actually want. Am I understanding that correctly?


CB: you can choose the ones you want - it's under delivery schedule. I've heard that they won't always give you the combo you want, but I've never had that problem (we get 4-person meals 2x a week.

I love these posts because I always find something new in here to help. I don't know why I had never replaced my chopper-thingy, but I got a new one after the last post, and now I'll be merrily ripping my kale apart.

Alas, my children do not eat anything either (including the crispy fish, roasted potato wedges and snap pea salad the other week C'MON THESE ARE FISH STICKS THERE IS NOTHING ON THIS PLATE YOU DO NOT EAT) but that means we generally have leftovers, which works for us. And I am putting a much, much wider variety of food in front of them than I was before (just got a chickpea stew today) and that's all good, right?


Still love your blog, still not enamored with Blue Apron despite trying it for a few months; but really your sponsored cooking posts might do better if they weren't accompanied by side advertising spots with giant bugs on them.


Every time you post about this I get sad we don't have this in Canada.


Your posts on Blue Apron made me find a UK company that seemed similar (HelloFresh), who seemed to be similarly awesome. I don't think they do wine, but I'm going to ask now and insist they start!


Does Blue Apron ship via UPS? USPS? I really want to give them a shot but the UPS in my neighborhood is notoriously terrible. They won't even try to deliver to apartment buildings and packages get lost for days and weeks at a time.

Laura B.

Still no Canadian shipping so we will stick to your massive batch-cooking blitzes every few months and eating out of the freezer. (Including that stellar glazed carrot recipe you posted, oh, about 6 years ago).

However, YES, how did you now know you could do that with kale??


Miranda, mine come via local courier. Obv. can't speak for everyone.

Also wanted to say, wow, Amy, on the collection. I always save mine for a while, but I don't have anywhere good to put them, so most of them get tossed.


Jill, if you ever want a change from HelloFresh try Marley Spoon. They're as close as I have got to Blue Apron, which I tried (and loved, sigh) when I was last at my mother's house in New Jersey.

Lois Crawford

I got Blue Apron from my daughter for Christmas in 2014. We've been doing it pretty regularly ever since. We seldom do weeks and weeks in a row, but we are always glad to have a plan when we get a delivery. We get one tomorrow! Boy, do we love the fish recipes!

Della Adame

I haven't been around here in a while, and I am so glad I did today! Signed up for BA!! Thanks to your offer! Appreciate it a whole lot!! Thanks from way down in deep South Texas!!


I tried BA because I'd heard good things. My 2 cents are that it's OK, but not what I expected. I've had at least one thing wrong in every box (exploded yogurt, moldy potatoes, bad lemons) and some of the recipes were actual losers (bland, kids refused to eat it) so I'm going back to normal cooking. Oh, and they look easy, but sometimes the prep is obnoxious.


I started BA a year ago because of your blog and I love it! We've eaten things we NEVER would have and it takes the monotony out of day to day meal prep.

I'm now going to try the wine delivery as well.



We're doing it! Because of you. Because you said so. So far, we've had 2 pretty good recipes and one so-so. I thought I would cancel but I just went to do it, and I was like, look! Ginger-soy pork balls or something! That sounds good! And also. Please never make me decide what to cook by myself, ever again, amen. Blue apron stays, at least for now.

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