Archive for August 18th, 2020

Blue Apron is a company that sends “meals in a box”: prepped ingredients and detailed instructions delivered weekly to your door, ready for you to finish on the stove or oven. I don’t subscribe to their service, but their menus looked intriguing enough that, when I saw they had a cookbook, I decided to give it a try.

As a self-taught cook, I need a lot of hand-holding – step by step instructions, lots of pictures of what things should look like at each stage of the process, and clear notes about what kind of equipment is needed. The Blue Apron Cookbook does all that, and I happily recommend it, especially to beginner-level home chefs like me who want to make fancier looking (but still easy) meals.

There’s the usual chapter on stocking your kitchen (equipment and staples), and thankfully it tells you something I wish more cookbooks did: define what a “medium” this or a “large” that really means. It’s annoying when a recipe says “use a medium pot” and you’re left wondering “okay, does your ‘medium” mean my ‘medium?’” So, points earned, here.

Recipes are divided into chapters both by type of methods (e.g., braises and roasts) and by type of meal (sandwiches and risottos). Directions are step-by-step and have plenty of pictures, and always tell you up front what equipment you need. There are helpful tips and sidebars, such as how to clean leeks or capers, and suggested variations.

None of the recipes are difficult, though I think sometimes some are aimed at higher than average budgets; how many of us have leftover roast lamb for sandwiches? Still, there aren’t any real budget-busters in here either, particularly if you ignore their constant admonitions to buy the “freshest, best ingredients.” Sometimes, the pack of Foster Farms breasts on-sale will have to do.

I’ve only made a few of the recipes so far, but they were delicious: for instance the white risotto with parmigiano-reggiano and the crispy-seared chicken thighs with mushrooms. I’m looking forward to cooking my way through the whole book.

I have two complaints about the book: one niggling and one serious. The minor criticism is their constant use of the word “flavorful.” Honestly guys, there are synonyms and you can look them up online.

More seriously, this Kindle version (I own both hardback and Kindle copies) commits the egregious sin of having a flat index – no tappable links. Page numbers in the index don’t match the page numbers in the e-book, so you have to search manually. That’s inexcusable for such a nice cookbook and this far into the age of e-books. So, one star deducted.

That aside, I do like the Blue Apron Cookbook quite a bit and recommend it for people looking for impressive, tasty yet easy to make recipes in a book that has instructional value.

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