Best of 2022

How To Prepare Your Meal Kit Dinner in 25 Infuriating Steps: A Tutorial

Step One:

Prepare the ingredients, also known as “prep time.” The instructions that came with this week’s delivery indicate that this should take about ten minutes.

Step Two:

Prepare the utensils. Tonight’s instructions call for a mandoline slicer. No, you read that wrong. It calls for a machete.

Step Three:

Take out every single pot, pan and dish that you own: you’ll be using them.

Step Four:

Grab a knife: it’s time to shell your own peas.

Step Five:

Take a moment to scan the instructions to make sure you won’t need to turn on the oven. Nope. You’re ready to start cookin’, chef!

Step Six:

You just cut yourself. Take a minute to go grab a band-aid, and get back to hand-shelling your own peas, you wuss.

Step Seven:

Wait. Did the instructions say to poach the peas, or blanche them? Either way, you’re gonna need a dictionary and a tutorial.

Step Eight:

Become distracted by the term blanche and remember the hysterical episode of “The Golden Girls” where Blanche declares it to be “better late than pregnant.”

Step Nine:

Decide to Google “Blanche name popularity.” Exactly zero people have named their child Blanche since 1910. This is good to know.

Step Ten:

You forgot to add water to the pot for the peas in your Golden Girls distraction. Congratulations on your “blackened” snap peas.

Step Eleven:

Add the chicken (tonight’s main course is luau-style chicken sandwiches!) to a pan with just a light drizzle of sizzling olive oil. Don’t forget to wash your hands after handling raw poultry. Salmonella is kind to no one.

Step Twelve:

What’s this? There’s a whole coconut in today’s kit? You’re damn right there is. Step twelve says you’ll be hand-crafting your own coconut flakes for the meal as part of tonight’s authentic luau experience.

Step Thirteen:

Time to prepare the salad. Locate your machete as indicated in Step 2. Channel your inner Lizzie Borden to whack your whole head of butter lettuce into hundreds of strips, per the instructions that say to “roughly chop.”

Step Fourteen:

Repeat with the coconut.

Step Fifteen:

So much coconut everywhere! Now you’ll need two more bowls! One for the coconut shavings, and another to collect the sweat dripping off of your forehead.

Step Sixteen:

Turn your attention back to the chicken on the stove, and realize that you forgot to add the packet of enclosed seasoning.

Step Seventeen:

Now where the hell is the seasoning packet??

Step Eighteen:

Locate the seasoning packet buried under a bowl that you used to make the aioli spread for the buns; you know, the aioli you made by hand-zesting lemon, and creating a garlic paste using the mortar and pestle that you had to dig out of storage.

Step Nineteen:

While the chicken continues to cook, use a box grater to grate the coconut meat into flakes. Wail like a newborn infant when you accidentally grate your fingertips.

Step Twenty:

Now that you have your coconut flakes, it’s time to toast them. Add them to a pan on low heat, stirring frequently but not too frequently. If any flakes end up outside the pan, that’s too frequently. If they start to curl up like sad silkworms, that’s not frequently enough. Be sure to bandage any severed fingertips if they interfere with proper stirring technique.

Step Twenty-One:

It’s time to remove the pretzel brioche buns for the sandwiches from their wrapping, as the instructions explicitly state to lightly toast them. Realize that you forgot to turn the oven on. You will now have to wait at least fifteen minutes while the oven heats to the 450 degrees as indicated in Step 1 of the instructions (aka the PREP TIME), and now your hand-hacked salad will be completely soggy by the time the buns are toasted. Maybe you should have read better.

Step Twenty-Two:

Observe the apocalyptic wasteland that has become your kitchen. Fantasize about burning it all down in a fit of rage, but settle for hissing “fuck this,” under your breath so that the kids don’t hear you.

Step Twenty-Three:

Toss the recipe card into the trash and frantically search your junk drawer for the pizza coupons you could have swore you saved. Contemplate ordering a pizza, but acknowledge that to do so would be admitting defeat, and then the luau chicken wins. Settle for just fantasizing about ordering pizza.

Step Twenty-Four:

Begrudgingly pull the brioche buns from the oven. Slap on the aioli and the cold chicken, and prepare to consume a tiny piece of what was left of your soul with each bite.

Step Twenty-Five:

Garnish with the coconut flakes!