If you’re anything like me, you love looking at recipes online. You fall down into the Pinterest universe and imagine all the wondrous things you could create. Then you start looking at the list of ingredients and mentally doing the math of exactly how much you would need to spend to get a ‘sprinkle of this’ and two tbsps of that’, so you just give up and go out to eat.
This is one of the key selling points of Gousto, a meal delivery service that drops off a box of pre-portioned ingredients for you to make specific, pre-determined recipes. My friend had a subscription to Gousto for a while and I was rather skeptical. You can opt for 2 meals a week, 3 or 4. She was selecting 3 recipes for 2 people at a total cost of £34.99. So over £11 a meal and you have to cook it yourself. Is that economical? As a fellow Boozy Buncher pointed out, many of the supermarkets now do the Dine in For £10 meal and it includes a bottle of wine and dessert and you just stick it in the oven. I would imagine the idea of Gousto’s marketing department is that you get to cook a meal without the bother of trying to decide what to make and shop for the ingredients – everything is delivered to your door.
My friend moved out and forgot to cancel, so I was the skeptical beneficiary of her box. The first thing I will say is that their delivery abilities are much better than Asos, who can barely ring the bell. They somehow managed to get into the building and delivered the box right to her door on the third floor. Since I didn’t order it, I didn’t get to choose the meals. However, I did have the Christmas morning excitement of unpacking.
- Cheesy Chicken Pie
- Beef Stroganoff
- Asian Pepper Chicken
In their FAQs, they describe their meals as ‘Obscenely Healthy’. I’m sorry but this is blatantly untrue. The cheesy chicken was a dish mainly consisting of cheese, flour and milk and the stroganoff was red meat, pasta and an entire tub of cremê fraîche. When I was cooking the Asian chicken, I couldn’t get over how much sugar was going into the dish. It’s certainly convenient but it’s not healthy. Any vegetables in the dishes we made were either covered in sauce or chopped to oblivion.
I was feeling unwell the night of the first cooking session so my boyfriend volunteered to do the cooking. However, once I read the ‘ikea manual’ of instructions I hauled myself out of bed and started helping. With all the chopping and preparing, he would never have been able to do it outside of two hours. My advice to any fellow Gousto-ians, do all the prep work first. Especially if you live in a small space. Then you feel all ‘tv chef’-like and not all sweaty and confused-like.
We made it through the first dish with a minimum of disaster. Some disaster ensued, merely through the act of trying to decipher instructions. I am a very efficient and independent cook so trying to keep to a recipe and follow it to the letter is tough for me. We had 10 minutes, allegedly, to wait for the potatoes on top the pie to roast so decided to make the stroganoff too for lunch the next day. This is where our relationship had the potential to self-destruct altogether as it was a LOT of chopping and prep. Meanwhile I was trying to clean my kitchen area and not step in anymore broken glass. We said we’d look back and laugh one day, still waiting.
Luckily the potatoes took a good 25 minutes to roast as any decent chef would know, and I did 😉 Don’t tell the Irish how to cook a potato, we know.
The one thing I liked about Gousto was that it gave me the opportunity to make dishes I never normally would, like the stroganoff.
And also the Asian chicken as, surprisingly, I had never cooked with lemongrass before so that was exciting. However, when it came to cooking the Asian chicken, I was midway through before realising the chicken smelled kinda funky so I dumped it and made a mixed vegetable rice dish instead.
In summary, cooking with Gousto was fun-ish. My boyfriend got involved and we cooked together, trying to decipher the recipe and he calmed me down when I was having a roux-related meltdown. Normally I am a control freak and he is never allowed to help, so that was nice. I enjoyed how all the ingredients were individually packaged and vacuum sealed, it appealed to the tupperware loving side of me. It’s nice not to having to think but I did actually need to go to the store as one of the recipes did not include milk or flour and these were crucial ingredients. Nor did it include wine, which is pretty crucial to any dinner. See: Wine!
Also, the timings on the recipe cards are extremely optimistic. Unless you have a sous chef and cook with the fire of a thousand suns.
I am not sure if I would order from them again, I think it is affordable and a very good idea but personally I can’t guarantee the delivery element of it to my place so this would dissuade me.
Value for Money: 8/10
Effort: A lot
Bloodshed or burning: Minimal