What should I put in a meal in-a-box?
November 23, 2013 6:13 PM   Subscribe

What meals-in-a-box should I send to my darling?

I'm entering into a LDR with someone, and we both love to cook. I'm in SF, she's in D.C.

I'm looking for ways for us to keep connected, and for things that we can do together aside from stare at each other on different screens. We're already doing creative projects together, and I"m looking for more.

One idea that I got from MeFi was the idea of sending each other all the ingredients for a meal inside a box, so that we could both cook it on either side of the phone. That sounds great.

But what should I put inside it? I'm great at putting together things when they're fresh, but I'm having trouble coming up with things that I can put in a box.

Assume that we're poor, and are willing to spend money on shipping, but not that much money. Also, if I have to text her ('you should make sure you have spinach in two days'), that's fine, but not preferred. We're both very busy, and I don't want to have to push her to go grocery shopping if that doesn't make sense.

I know there are probably web companies that do something like this. I've haven't researched them at all, but coverage at our two places is probably important. I kind of prefer to hand-pack it myself, but if it's considerably cheaper / fresher, that's fine.
posted by justalisteningman to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Could you add what food you like? Do you know of ingredients that she always has on hand?

If you search "meal in a jar" you'll find a lot of recipes that require mostly dry stuff. To cut down on the cost of shipping, you could measure out how much, say lentils, rice, etc. she needs instead of sending the whole bag/box. Might be easier to ship if you put it all in a ziploc bag, although a jar looks nicer and is reusable.
posted by travelwithcats at 6:29 PM on November 23, 2013

There even is a book, just found it, by that very same title (Meals in a Jar: Quick and Easy, Just-Add-Water, Homemade Recipes, by Julie Languille). Linking to amazon. Try using their "look inside" option to see the table of contents and the names of the recipes.
posted by travelwithcats at 6:36 PM on November 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I gotta say, I can't think of any appealing home cooked meals where all of the ingredients are non-perishable enough to ship cross country. Even Kraft dinner needs to have milk and butter added, you know?

What if you make your own spice mix, for example garam masala, and ship that? Then you can both enjoy the same unique blend of spices on anything you cook, and no one else will have that exact flavor profile. Swoooon.
posted by telegraph at 7:53 PM on November 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Many grocery stores allow you to buy groceries online and they'll deliver. Maybe you could order the ingredients from a store in D.C. and have them delivered to your S.O.
posted by entropyiswinning at 10:10 PM on November 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Pasta puttanesca, or, as it's called in chez punch, horse pasta! Ignore the parsley in this recipe; I do. I sometimes add a can of tuna.

You can omit the vegetables (not counting the onion and garlic) in this recipe for a coconut milk-based curry; here's another recipe that leaves them out.
posted by punchtothehead at 5:27 AM on November 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Not quite what you are asking, but maybe you both get a monthly subscription to Love With Food and then compare notes each month on what things in the box you liked?
posted by wittgenstein at 1:53 PM on November 26, 2013

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