London casserole service?
June 19, 2017 8:28 AM   Subscribe

I have a friend in London who's just lost her sister to cancer. The sister has young kids, and so does my friend. Maybe its a southern US thing, but I always think of bringing food at times like this. Since I'm on the wrong continent, I'm having trouble figuring out how to make it work. I know London is huge - she's near the Crystal Palace Station. Any recommendations for food delivery services, or anything else that might be helpful? Right now I'm feeling helpless and far away.
posted by korej to Shopping (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Perhaps there's a way to buy a gift card for a casual dining restaurant? It's a way for her to eat, when and what she wants with or without the kiddos or worrying about food storage or allergies.
posted by raccoon409 at 8:40 AM on June 19

Deliveroo is the nearest UK equivalent of Seamless/Grubhub.

p.s. At the risk of being glib, it's pushing 90 °F in London this week, and very few residential buildings in the UK have air conditioning, so don't send casserole.
posted by caek at 8:41 AM on June 19 [8 favorites]

I would order from Cook, if you know the sort of thing she likes to eat. Though the minimum order for delivery to Crystal Palace is £30 (£50 with free delivery), which is quite spendy, it is the next best thing to taking food round yourself. They also do gift vouchers.
posted by featherboa at 8:46 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]

A friend sent me a bunch of Cook food after we had a baby.
It was very welcome. (Though make sure she has a freezer).
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:53 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]

Depending on how much you want to spend and their known preferences another option is online supermarket shopping. All the large UK supermarkets allow you to order more or less their full product range online and will deliver to your front door during a predetermined timeslot for a small fee.

In addition to the staples they all have vast ranges of ready meals, semi prepared food and food that just needs assembling in some way. This goes from ready washed salad stuffs and cold cuts/cheese boards, to washed and trimmed/cut vegetables for further preparation to vegetables already assembled in cooking trays with spices and oil, similar protein options all the way to your typical family sized tray of lasagne or pie and everything in between. There is a range of price points and degrees of healthy/unhealthy and a lot of it is not at all bad. The range of options is normally a lot bigger than I've seen in a lot of supermarkets in the US.

And because they are supermarkets they also sell basics like milk, eggs, bread that the families would have to run out and get as well as all kinds of other stuff that may be nice diversions including kids toys. They also offer vouchers/gift cards. So you assemble a care package like that.

Starting with the cheapest - ASDA, Tesco, Sainsbury, Waitrose.
posted by koahiatamadl at 9:12 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]

Starting with the cheapest - ASDA, Tesco, Sainsbury, Waitrose.

There's also a corresponding increase in quality here.

The only issue might be that you're not in the UK (and have a non-UK credit card), and/or the fact you'd be purchasing stuff for delivery to somewhere other than the credit card's billing address. I've purchased stuff via Amazon like this before (Amazon UK should accept your Amazon US login & let you send stuff to a UK address), but it's not something I've tried with a grocery delivery service.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:16 AM on June 19

Supermarkets definitely deliver to non-billing addresses. Waitrose uses it as a selling point - you can get a delivery sent to your Airbnb to save you traipsing round the supermarket on holiday. Not sure about the US credit card though.

Ocado is another supermarket service - similar price point to Waitrose (in fact used to be Waitrose but then split off). Slightly wider range of brands than Waitrose.

Most of these places give you money off or free delivery for your first order - if there are no active offers on the website, post back here and I'm sure somebody will have a refer a friend code for you.
posted by tinkletown at 9:31 AM on June 19

Another mention for Cook. It's closer to bringing round a casserole than ordering ready meals etc. from a supermarket.
posted by Mattat at 9:35 AM on June 19

Another vote for getting groceries delivered, via online supermarkets shopping! Supermarkets in the U.K. are some of the best in developed countries and value for money. There is excellent choice in their pre-prepared microwaveable food selection. Highly recommend.

A £60 shop will go very far - maybe 20 individual meals? I use Ocado a lot, followed by Sainsbury's, but all of them are very good, between a Stop and Shop and Trader Joes in terms of quality.
posted by moiraine at 11:12 AM on June 19

I would caution against ordering online from a supermarket. Although I understand it's not the norm (yet?) in the US, it's really really common for people to shop online routinely in the UK (I haven't set foot aside a big supermarket in years). So it's very likely that your friend will already have a routine set up for shopping which it might just be annoying to get disrupted by an unscheduled delivery of stuff that isn't her family's preferred brands etc. To be honest, I'd find it a bit weird myself, to get a supermarket delivery gifted to me.

So, I'd also go for Cook (which - as people have said - is more like home cooking than standard ready meals). And possibly the vouchers, rather than actual meals, so that they can choose what they'd prefer (though I can see that not having to choose is appealing).
posted by melisande at 11:20 AM on June 19

Thank you so much! I'm going to send this page to the group of US friends and see what folks think, but I think we're going to go with the Cooks voucher.
posted by korej at 11:35 AM on June 19

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