Martha Stewart is my hero.
Seriously; she's iconic. The woman has built an empire out of being an absolute, take-no-shit perfectionist. I myself am a detail-oriented taskmaster who dreams of taking over the world; her dedication to nothing but the very best is inspirational.
But even though I idolize Martha, and want to be just like her, I do not cook. Ever.
I know it's not ideal, but I also know I'm not alone; my excuses are probably the same as yours: I'm busy. I'm lazy. I get home late. There aren't many grocery stores near my apartment. I can just let my boyfriend make dinner.
But mostly, I don't cook because I've always been told that I'm bad at cooking. I have zero confidence in my kitchen abilities, but a LOT of faith that I will, somehow, fuck things up.
So when I heard that MY QUEEN Martha Stewart had created her own super-easy meal delivery service, I knew I had to try it.
Marley Spoon, right from the outset, sounded like something that I'd be into. You pick the Martha-approved recipes you want to make from the weekly menu, and then bam, everything is delivered straight to your door, fresh and pre-portioned. The site promises awesome ingredients, and easy recipes for not a tonne of money — Marley Spoon has plans starting at $48 for two people, and $78 for a family of four.
Would Marley Spoon turn me into a domestic goddess like my hero, Martha Stewart? There was only one way to find out.
My four-day Marley Spoon meal box arrived at 2pm on Monday, and I was so excited to get home and actually make my own food — something I never look forward to, ever.
I selected a good range of recipes to cook for the week: Chicken and pasta soup with spinach and sweet potatoes, chickpea and red pepper soup with cheesy pull-apart rolls, Andouille sausages and bean stew with caramelized fennel and kale salad, and steak and potatoes with green bean vinaigrette.
I know; that all sounds VERY fancy. But I was ready to try.
And weirdly, it WAS easy.
Because I'm not a very experienced cook, I sometimes find it hard to follow cursory, all-text recipes. The BEST thing about Marley Spoon were the recipe cards, which were not only detailed, but had pictures. THIS IS MY LEVEL.
The next best part was how stinking easy everything was to prepare. Each recipe bag comes with the exact right amount of food, so you save a tonne of time measuring and prepping — and you don't throw a bunch of shit away.
Not only did I make the soup, I made it while on the phone with my best friend. That's how you know a recipe is easy!
Hi, Michael! Thanks for keeping me company though this!
Because I had to photograph this recipe, my cooking time was much longer than it should have been. But I've made this same recipe since — I can give no higher compliment than that — and it took me 20 minutes flat.
I rate this first Marley Spoon recipe five Marthas out of five: quick, easy, delicious, all with minimal cleaning up.
Not only was this tasty, it boosted my confidence. I can cook chicken soup; I can take on the world! I was ready to try something more complicated the next night.
I also committed an unforgivable error by not reading the recipe all the way through first — and my soup paid the price.
The recipe card even tells you to read carefully. FORGIVE ME, MARTHA, FOR I HAVE SINNED.
So when the time came to use an immersion blender (?) or food processor (???) to puree the soup, I was like "HOLY HELL DO I HAVE ANY OF THOSE THINGS?" Sure, the recipe says you can leave it chunky, but AS IF I'm going to serve chunky soup when Martha shows it smooth.
Anyway; it turned out OK. I did have a blender, and the day was saved.
The end result was delicious, if time-consuming.
This recipe says it only takes 25 minutes; I took an hour and a half. This is probably because I am a sad baby who accidentally zested her thumb along with the lemon and didn't know what an immersion blender was.
But I did eat both of those cheesy rolls myself. No regrets.
I give this Marley Spoon soup three Marthas out of five: yummy, but points minused for my crises.
My pride took a beating. I felt very unlike Martha, so I ate too much of this soup to mask my feelings, and promised to do better the next time.
Wednesday night, my boyfriend came home from his business trip! Yay! To celebrate, I cooked Andoullie sausage with bean stew with caramelized fennel and kale salad.
Lindsey is the cook in our relationship, so if you're wondering whether I picked this recipe because it sounds incredibly impressive... yes. Yes, I did.
And it worked; he says he was REALLY impressed by it.
This third Marley Spoon recipe gets four and a half Marthas: MISS U, SAUSAGES.
Also, my dog really likes fennel. Surprise!
When it was time for me to cook the steak, I prayed. But I went for it. And I freaking did it!
The meat itself was a great cut, and the recipe instructions ensured that I cooked it perfectly. Marley Spoon helped me conquer my steak fear; now I KNOW I can cook anything. Plus, this potato and green bean salad? BONKERS good, and only requires like three things. Definitely making this again.
I give this final recipe another 4.5 Marthas, and my eternal thanks.
Overall, my Martha-inspired Marley Spoon adventure was a bit of a life-changer.
Being totally honest, going from Zero to Maximum Cooking was an adjustment. I had to start planning my evenings around the food I was making; the dog was walked earlier, I had to come straight home from work — no socializing! — to start my prep.
But that's not a bad thing! It is BAD to stay at work until late at night, eat cereal for dinner, then fall asleep with a headache. I tell people all the time how important it is to feed yourself right; it's a crucial part of your health and self-care.
And yet I don't do that for myself.
Having ingredients delivered, along with recipes that are simple and healthy, was a game-changer. Not only did Marley Spoon teach me some awesome new things to cook, it showed me that I was ACTUALLY CAPABLE in the kitchen. It boosted my confidence, and made me love fancy sausage like 80% more than I already did.
I may not be a glorious domestic goddess like Martha. But this box has definitely given me a much better grasp of cooking, and all the things that come along with it. And in the end, that's just as damn good.
Plus, I know what an immersion blender is now. Flawless victory.