My Food Bag is a new food-and-recipe delivery service that provides all the ingredients needed to make home cooked dinners, five nights a week. Unlike similar services, the emphasis is on good eating rather than weight-loss or convenience -- each meal is prepared from scratch by the customer using 100% raw produce. Last week, we signed up for the service's maiden bag to see if it was worthwhile. Here are our initial thoughts.
The chief selling point of My Food Bag is that it removes the hassle of sourcing ingredients for people who actually enjoy cooking. Instead, everything is delivered to you at the start of the week along with the related recipes. With the exception of the occasional sauce or condiment, nothing is pre-made for the customer. Instead, it's up to you to prepare everything from scratch.
The main advantage of this method -- other than an enhanced sense of pride in your cooking skills -- is that you know you're eating fresh ingredients that are completely free of additives or preservatives. While the process might take longer than a ready-made microwave meal, the difference in flavour and quality is definitely worth it. The food is also locally sourced and free range when applicable.
So how's it work? The first step is to select a bag type from the My Food Bag website -- the service caters to families and foodie couples, with three bags to choose from in all. Once you have purchased your order it will be delivered to your doorstep on Sunday, ready for the start of the week.
Prices range from $149 to $199 per week, which includes all ingredients, recipes and delivery. This is around the same amount that the average family spends in a weekly shop, although you're only getting dinner provided here.
One caveat to be mindful of: if you need to use your workplace address for some reason, you might want to bring your car that day. Each "Bag" order is actually three large brown paper bags packed to the brim with heavy groceries. As I experienced first-hand, lugging this stuff home on the train can be a bit of a slog.
Each week, the My Food Bag team delivers a new batch of produce and recipes which makes the experience a bit of a lucky dip. This lack of bespoke ordering might feel unusual to some, but it does help to keep costs consistent and ensures that the recipes always match the ingredients.
If last week's Food Bag is anything to go by, the variety on offer is pretty impressive. We plumped for the Family option which is designed for parents with children under 10 via smaller portion sizes and meals that suit fussier taste buds. The supplied meals ranged from fish tacos to miniature beef burgers and homemade chips. Other bag options include such delicacies as Pork Belly with Caramelised Chilli Sauce, Pistachio Crusted Lamb Rack with Red Cabbage, Kumara and Beetroot Relish and Open Pie Coq Au Vin with Honey Thyme Carrots.
Due to working late hours, I took a back seat to the cooking but my wife was a huge fan of the experience. Here's what she had to say about the cooking process:
The best thing about My Food Bag was having everything I need in one place. So many times I've been forced to either dash to the supermarket in the middle of cooking or just make do without an ingredient. So that sense of assurance was really great. I'm not much of a cook, but I found the recipes pretty easy to follow. They also used organic meat which is a plus. There was a lot of variety in the weekly menu and I like how they leave out Saturday and Sunday: this gives you some leeway if you don't get to cook on a weekday for whatever reason. On the downside, it's a little on the pricey side for a home cooked meal: it works out at around $40 a night, or $10 per head. Also, you are expected to provide "staples" yourself. This includes stuff like honey which not everybody has in their household. So definitely check the full recipe before you start the cooking process. All up, I really had a lot of fun with this My Food Bag experiment. I doubt most people could afford to do this 52 weeks of the year, but as a now-and-then thing I think it's worth it. All of the dishes tasted delicious, but I think that was just my cooking.
Below are a few examples of the finished results.
Did any readers happen to give My Food Bag a go last week? What did you think? Let us know in the comments section below.