Monday, September 22, 2008

"Dishing" Ain't So Easy!


I made a mistake!

About a month ago, I posted a blog entry called "Eating the Easy Way", suggesting that when you're feeling down and out, you should make life easy on yourself and sign up for a prepared meal service like Let's Dish. I had heard through the grapevine that it was a great way for people with very little time or energy to make good, wholesome, home-cooked meals in a flash, but I had never tried it myself. This weekend, I did, and I learned a few things that are worth sharing.

First - the concept itself is a great one. The particular company that I tried out, Let's Dish, really has their act together. The place was clean, the staff was super friendly, and from start to finish (we registered for the eight meal-making session online a week in advance), the process was smooth and easy.

Second - the ingredients were fresh and the meals we chose looked just as good in the making as they did on the website. I'm looking forward to pulling the assembled, yet uncooked meals out of the freezer once Bun arrives and popping them in the oven. I'll still have to put forth the effort to prepare and cook them, but at least dinner is half-way finished.

Three, and here's what I didn't know before - the actual meal assembly is a much longer, more labor-intensive process than I thought it would be. In fact, it was too much for this pregnant Lupite. While there is a snack bar where you can sit and relax for a few minutes to regain your momentum (and the staff encourages you to do this), the fact of the matter is that participating in the in-store session requires that you stand at the food prep counters, mixing, measuring, and combining the ingredients for the entire 2-hour period of time.

Now that I know what's involved, I need to amend my previous recommendations and say that if you're achy, swollen, and fatigued - definitely skip the in-store prep session. It requires too much effort, and I think it would leave you feeling too weak and exhausted to truly benefit from the service. Although I can't speak to the ease of cooking and serving one of the meals from the freezer, I think that the other assembly options (Dish 'n' Dash and Dish Delivery) are still viable options, particularly if you stick to the dishes that are truly heat and serve. The effort really is minimal and you truly will be lightening your load.

Dish 'n' Dash requires that you simply swing by the store front, pick up a couple of professionally-assembled meals that you've pre-ordered online, and store them in the freezer until you're ready to use them. Of course, the Dish Delivery option just cuts out the need to swing by the store front yourself, and sometimes, one less errand is just the thing you need when you're not feeling well.

So - I learned my lesson on this one, and you can be sure that I won't be making any more recommendations without first trying them out myself. My apologies if you rushed out and dished after my previous blog post - hopefully I've caught you in time!

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