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I stand firmly behind my opinion that food subscription boxes are an incredible invention that saves people both time and money. I appreciate that they also allow your average at-home “chef” to make meals that seem complex and taste delicious, but – in reality – probably took under an hour to prepare.
Besides, who has the time to slave over a hot stove anymore? Not me, that’s for sure. With long work days and a significant other who works swing shift, I’m always looking for ways to make our lives easier. This box, though, had me a little baffled from the start.
For as long as I can remember I have watched cooking shows on Food Network. I’ve followed many chefs and DIY-ers for tips and tricks. And who doesn’t know who Martha Stewart is? What I didn’t realize is that she has also hopped on the food subscription box bandwagon. But, come on, who hasn’t by now?! It’s got to be a great thing to capitalize on! So, let’s break this down and get to know the Martha & Marley Spoon subscription box.
Honestly, the sign-up process was SO simple. As easy as going to the website and clicking “Start cooking now.”A little interactive flare there, Martha, don’t mind if I do! The site looks interesting, too. There’s not too much going on; it’s simple to navigate…very clean-cut and to-the-point.
Before even creating an official account, you are given a choice between two boxes:
- 2 – People
- 3 – 4 People
It’s a simple click, choose how many people you will be cooking for, how many meals per week you are interested in, and click select. On this page, you are also given the opportunity to choose if this will be a vegetarian box.
Once you have chosen how many people you plan to feed you are taken to a screen that asks for your zip code and email. Next, you select the date that you would like your delivery. The site tells you what day of the week you will get your shipment on then gives you four options for the entire month. Finally, you enter your payment information in, and you’re ready to “start cooking.” See what I did there? Ok, moving on.
One thing that did not surprise me is: this subscription box is fairly expensive. I shouldn’t be surprised considering it’s a Martha Stewart product. With such a well-known name, there’s got to be some correlation there with the cost. The options that are given look a little like this:
By this point I’m thinking, wow, I hope this really is some high-class food. Typically, I spend about $150 for two weeks’ worth of groceries for a family of four. And, not to toot my own horn, but (toot toot!). I think I make some pretty healthy and delicious meals! But I still decided to give this a fair shot.
Insider Tip: If you are going through the sign-up process and leave the page before entering your payment information, you are likely to receive a coupon code in your email to prompt you to finish signing up!
Let’s ‘Start Cooking’
Recipe choices are this magical thing that you are not allowed to access until you have given the almighty credit card number *cue epic music*. I would personally have liked to see what I was getting myself into before committing my all-powerful credit card number to the site.
The recipes will come up as pre-selected, but you have the opportunity to choose to “edit recipes.” You are then brought to a page with 10 different recipes. Ten!! I love a good amount of options! However, my first thought was not wow; I have 10 options. It was wow, none of these really sound all that great. It was a struggle to choose my three dishes because they all seemed slightly mediocre at best. It took a while, and some deliberating with my “sous chef” (my significant other), to choose three recipes we were actually interested in. In the end, we decided to choose:
- Honey-Jalapeno Glazed Steak with Warm Red Pepper Potato Salad
- Stir-Fried Pork and Rice with Chinese Broccoli and Green Beans
- Sausage & Zucchini Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Christmas in July (aka Delivery)
The site tells you the delivery time slot is between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. I would say I’m somewhat okay with this considering I work 10 hours per day. The box itself is supposed to keep food fresh for up to 30 hours, anyway, but having it sit on my porch in the hot weather still makes me feel a little weird. My delivery didn’t show up until about 5:30 p.m. (even better, it didn’t have to sit outside!).
Very little is different about unboxing this box versus other subscription boxes. It comes in a large, cardboard box. Inside the box is well insulated and filled with large ice packs to keep meat fresh underneath. The recipe cards were in their little spot right at the top to prevent them from getting wet. Each meal comes in its own, labeled, paper bag that holds all of the ingredients. I loved that I could quickly pop these into my refrigerator until I was ready to use them.
I didn’t like the fact that the bags were so big. Upon opening the first one, I planned to use I found that there was so much empty space inside of the bag compared to the number of ingredients that were given to me.
This really is a lot of waste, which I would personally like to prevent. Of course, you can recycle the paper bags – I don’t see why I needed so much paper to recycle. Maybe give us some smaller
bags and boxes, Martha, let’s save the environment!
The meat and produce that I was sent also looked great. Nothing was bruised or beaten up, the meat seemed fresh and was all organic and grass-fed. All of the other ingredients were prepackaged in small, almost sample-sized portions. This is my favorite part of these boxes, to be honest. I also loved that the meat came in simple, plastic wrappers instead of how they are in the store with disgusting Styrofoam trays and wrap. It just seems a little cleaner to me.
Honey-Jalapeno Glazed Steak with Warm Red Pepper Potato Salad
This was BY FAR my favorite dish!
Some of my initial thoughts were “there’s no way this is enough for two people,” “why is there only one steak?”, “how do I even cook with a jalapeno?!” I’m pleased to say that pretty much all of my hesitancies were shut right up.
First of all, the steak…I SWORE there was only one steak.
I’m feeding a full-grown man; I can’t feed both of us off of one steak!
Oh, just kidding, somehow, they managed to vacuum-pack two into this tiny package. Touché, Martha.
I followed the directions exactly, incredibly worried that the steak would be overcooked, the jalapenos would be too spicy, and an array of other things. But, no, this was incredible!
Stir-Fried Pork and Rice with Chinese Broccoli and Green Beans
I’ll come right out with it – I did not care for this dish. To me, the green beans were a bit much for the dish, and the sausage was dry.
I also didn’t enjoy how the red wine vinegar made the sausage taste almost pickled. 10/10 would not try again.
On a positive note, though, the portions were great. I was able to make two full-sized dinners but still, have enough to split mine into dinner and lunch for the next day.
Sausage &Zucchini Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Again, this recipe was just okay. I honestly think I could have done something better.
I appreciate the ability to try something new (there were almonds in the pesto), but I found some of the ingredients to be unnecessary.
I believe it would have been better with more of a sauce and less of a pesto, minus the almonds, and with a different type of pasta.
Don’t get me wrong, all three recipes were tasty and filling. For two people there was more than enough food. And making these dishes really taught me something. We spend so much time focusing our dishes around the main proteins or supplementing with sides that we don’t really stop to think about healthy portions like we should.
When I felt like there wasn’t enough meat I realized the veggies were adding more depth and girth to the dishes while the proteins played a well-integrated part. However, save from the steak, they really didn’t WOW me. Let me break it down a little bit:
For this box, I wouldn’t say the bad outweighs the good or vice versa. Honestly, it was just an okay box. The food was tasty, but I don’t think I would have gone out of my way to purchase it. Truthfully, I felt like I could make it better myself. I also didn’t like how we had to struggle to choose which recipes to try because they just didn’t all seem that great. And, as a person who would have liked to try the vegetarian recipes, I did not feel that there were many great veggie options.
Would I recommend this box to my friends? Unfortunately, I have to say probably not. As someone that has tried other boxes before I just think there are better options out there for the price. I would be willing to give it more of a try, and I believe it is possible to change my opinion, but I feel that the name on the box is part of what makes it so expensive. I’m glad that I tried it though! I invite you to do the same using the following link: Martha & Marley Spoon Subscription Box.