My dream for LensbySarah was to write about travel or about fun things I came across in New York City. COVID-19 changed all that. It’s been over a year of working from home (for which I am grateful), but I miss my city social life and the opportunities to travel. I’ve been at a loss about what to write here since I don’t have my usual travel experiences to share. My monthly review series, Lens, ground to a halt, and I barely could drum up the energy to figure out what to write about instead.
So for now I am planning to review some products, hopefully this will be helpful to anyone considering a certain subscription service or product. My LensbySarah instagram page has also become mostly reviews of empty beauty products and books, so head over there for more content.
Last fall, as you may imagine, I was feeling very uninspired and very tired of cooking. It had been more than 6 months living in quarantine and I was just DONE cooking for myself three times a day. I have to do this AGAIN? AND tomorrow too?
Value: For my first ‘box’, I ordered 12 meals, to qualify for the free shipping, and used my friend’s $20 off referral coupon. I paid $87.88, bringing the cost of each meal to $7.32 which is definitely competitive for a restaurant meal. Each meal was single serving, but some I couldn’t eat all at once and saved a portion for later. The price per meal is more expensive than a supermarket frozen meal, but the overall quality and ingredients were superior, and restaurants don’t always have an ingredient list available, so if you have specific dietary needs, this is a good option so you can make your selection accordingly. I think the price is OK for what you get, if you have the budget for it, but it didn’t ultimately meet my needs.
Packaging: The meals came in a well insulated box with dry ice and thus were still frozen upon arrival. I recycled as much as I could from the shipping container. The individual meal containers were very easy to use and also to discard. Each meal came in its own cardboard box that had the ingredients and nutrition information. The meal itself was in a smaller cardboard container, lined and covered with a plastic film. To discard, I peeled the plastic film away from the cardboard container, which was easy to do, and then threw that away. I then recycled the cardboard container and outer box. However check your local recycling regulations for what you can do in your area. Overall this felt like a fairly low waste meal from the consumer side. However, I’m not sure that I loved microwaving the plastic film, that gave me pause.
Ingredients: Easy to understand, and in most cases, ingredients that I wouldn’t have normally purchased to include in a meal, so it felt special, and I felt like I was getting a good variety of vegetables. This is something I aspire to, even if I don’t actually do it.
Preparation: Heating these Mosaic meals was rather simple. Most often, the meal would be removed from cardboard box. I would lift a portion of the plastic film as instructed, then microwave and stir as needed. It was very easy and painless to prepare.
Taste: Some of the meals were tasty, but any dish with tofu was a disappointment as the texture suffered. In addition some of the meals were too spicy or tangy, and not in a super delicious flavorful way. I’ve found over time my tolerance for spice has gone down, so this may not be an issue for anyone who does like spicy food.
Presentation: Mediocre, but not terrible. I compared the photos I took to what they advertise on the Mosaic website and there is much to be desired. They look like leftovers to me, but I’m not sure how that can be improved as far as a frozen, microwaved meal goes. They definitely look better than most other microwaved meals that I’ve eaten.
Overall: I ended up canceling my subscription after this one box – it was an easy process of emailing them to cancel, which they did with no hassle. It was worth trying it and alleviating myself from the burden of cooking a few times, but the meals were lackluster and not inexpensive enough to justify continuing the service.
Here are some photos of the meals below and some brief thoughts on each. Some I ate out of the container, others I put on actual plates like a fancy person:
I also ate a Yellow Dal Curry which was not memorable, a butternut squash risotto which wasn’t very flavorful, although a good concept, and a spinach saag and tofu which I really wanted to like but was spicy for the wrong reasons.
To this day I have a Harvest Beet Bowl in the freezer that I just can’t bring myself to eat. But I WILL eat you, box! Could you imagine that it’s the best one and I’ve been sitting on it?
And last and maybe least, my husband ordered the Jackfruit Chili for himself. I didn’t get a photo of that, but he did not like it.
Verdict: good in a pinch or if you want to shake up your routine, but not tasty or inexpensive enough to warrant long term subscription.
So for now I’m back to doing my bare minimum cooking without anyone to send me frozen meals. My husband and I have purchased a CSA share for the summer, with both fruit and vegetables, and we are looking forward to our weekly share of fresh, local produce! Looking forward to sharing that experience here.
Have you tried Mosaic or another food subscription service? What would you recommend?