In my younger days, my father had some incredible marketing insight. “You see that gecko enough on TV and you end up buying his insurance because he’s all you can think of.” Nice, Dad. You summed up my degree in one sentence. During the walks to get to class, I listened to a lot of podcasts and kept hearing these influences rave about meal kit delivery boxes. Being a college student, I was too broke to afford whatever it was delivery boxes even are, and would never let paid reviews influence my decisions on anything. Wrong. I quickly, and wholeheartedly became a fan of this new way to eat.

This is the way I was eating before

Finally, one afternoon in college I looked at my broccoli mac ‘n cheese bowl and wondered when was the last time I ate a vegetable that wasn’t steamed in the microwave. Also, I needed to be better about eating protein.  Truth be told, I didn’t really know how else to cook vegetables or most meats. I lived on the go, rarely shopped, and shopping was an ordeal. I used to try going to Walmart, but I would sit in the parking lot stressing for a half-hour until I finally gave up.  It was time to cave into the influence reviews because when left to my own devices, I would eat spaghetti for every meal. Nothing I ate was fresh because the grocery store stressed me out. However, it was time to eat more vegetables, incorporate more protein, and dare to cook.

But would a meal subscription be too expensive?

Mind you, I was in college, and my frugality is deeply, horrifyingly engrained. I can’t pay full price for anything unless I want my late grandfather to roll over in his grave and to give my living father a heart attack. Luckily, just as often as podcasters talk about meal kits, they also have a coupon code for discounts on the meal kits. I used every discount code and email I could find to order three different meal kits to serve me four meals each. I was getting twelve meals out of each box, at the least.

About a week after my existential crisis brought on by lacking nutrients in my diet, a well-insulated box arrived at my door. On top laid step-by-step instructions, a godsend for my lack in skills. Don’t worry, I still found ways to mess up.

And then the magic happened: I started learning how to cook

I dove headfirst into cooking, following everything to the best of my abilities, which isn’t much. Every second day, I would cook a meal, which was dinner for that night, lunch for the next two days and dinner for the following night. There were a lot of burned ingredients, over seasoned items, and even a time that I basically pepper-sprayed my house when I tried to sauté a jalapeno. Nevertheless, I persevered and learned from my mistakes, and learned the basics of cooking.  Eventually, I would share with my friends and roommates, especially if they helped me during the process. Only the recipes I was proud of, which was most.

Remember that movie, Julie and Julia? I fancy myself the 21st Century, modern, college student version. The biggest difference is that my “book” is an article and the cookbook is a modern alternative. I had heard enough ads for meal-kit delivery and needed enough of a change in my diet to pursue a new avenue, and I’m very thankful for it. It was the perfect system to get fresh items into my diet and to learn to cook. Turns out those podcasters were not lying.

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