Smart Home Cooking with Martha & Marley Spoon
Here at AppMyHome we love technology and we love to eat. For the last several years we have been using online meal kits to make our dinner time more convenient and fun. A few weeks ago we got an offer from another new service, this one backed by a big player in the home space, Martha Stewart. We decided to give the Martha & Marley Spoon meal kit a try.
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Martha & Marley Spoon really caught our attention with its novel marketing campaign. One day in our sea of junk mail we noticed a plain envelope with no return address that seemed to be handwritten (of course it was printed, but it looked convincing).
Intrigued, we opened it to find a newspaper clipping of an advertisement, with jagged edges like it had been cut out manually, with mutual fund quotes on the back. It had a post it on the front, again “handwritten,” as a personal note from Martha. This was just like something mom would send and it made us laugh. It worked – we visited the website and signed up to try it.
We chose the 2-person, 3-meal per week box, typically what we get with the other meal kits. Martha & Marley Spoon offers flexibility from week to week, as long as you make any changes six days before your shipment is set to be delivered. You can skip weeks, switch delivery slots and/or switch between boxes – great for those weeks when you are traveling or when you have other hungry guests.
Martha & Marley Spoon offers ten different meal choices each week with a lot of different options, including several vegetarian and gluten-free choices. However, they are pretty upfront on their website that they do not have a full meal service for special diets on a regular basis, other than vegetarian. If you are vegan and/or gluten-free, this may not be the best service for you (maybe SunBasket would be a better choice for now). We are mostly carnivores except for beef, so there were plenty of good choices for us.
Our first Martha & Marley box arrived, delivered right to our doorstep as we requested on our delivery day. The box was packed well with a few differences from the other services we have used. The insulated pack is made entirely of brown paper, easily recyclable. Most all the ingredients are packaged in their individual paper sacks, making it easy to store in the fridge and find when you are ready to cook. Our box even included a label of all the different cites where they source the produce.
You can see the entire unboxing in the video below.
The recipe cards are clear and easy to follow with beautiful photography as you would expect. The cards clearly tell you how long the prep time is, the entire list of ingredients, the cooking utensils needed and what you need to provide yourself. With other services, we typically only have to have oil, salt and pepper on hand – so we were surprised when we needed to provide our own butter and egg. Luckily we had an extra egg in the fridge for our meal!
The directions are clear and most all of the meals were relatively easy to cook and prep. The meals felt a bit simpler than some of the other services we have tried and included some nice time-saving shortcuts. One of our meals included slaw, which was shipped pre-chopped and packaged, and another came with pre-made (and delicious!) pesto.
These were the six recipes we tried in our two week test:
- Lemon-Dijon Chicken
- Kimchi-spiced Pork Burgers
- Warm Pesto Ravioli Salad
- Lemony Carbonara
- Cilantro Chicken and Rice
- Veggie and Sushi Rice Bibimbap
While most of these meal kit services are pretty similar, what really stood out for us about Martha & Marley Spoon was the taste. Our first few meals seemed relatively simple but had really fantastic flavors. The Lemon-Dijon chicken in particular was so easy to make with common ingredients, but it tasted like a sophisticated restaurant dish. What we really loved about it was that the sauce was so simple – just pan drippings with Dijon mustard and water – so we could easily make that ourselves in the future. We can really taste Martha Stewart’s touch.
Pressure Cooker Fail
We were really excited to try the Cilantro Chicken and Rice, from Martha Stewart’s Pressure Cooker Book. The recipe included both stove-top and pressure cooker preparation options – which cut the cooking time by more than half.
We have had our pressure cooker forever but have not used it that much, and unfortunately that impacted our final results. The machine started and failed twice, cooking the meal a bit each time, so by the time it finally worked properly, the chicken was delicious but the rice and peppers were a burnt, overcooked mess. We will need to try another pressure cooker meal to be sure if it was us or the recipe. While we were disappointed, we think this is a great time-saving option and are looking forward to hopefully getting it right next time.
The service offers meal plans for both couples and families – with 2-people and 3-4 people boxes, ranging from $8.20 -$12 per meal depending on your box. Shipping is always free, even on the smallest box.
Here are the prices for each option
- $48 for 2 meals for 2 people per week
- $61.50 for 3 meals for 2 people per week
- $76 for 4 meals for 2 people per week, or for 2 meals for 4 people per week
- $106.80 for 3 meals for 4 people per week
- $131.20 for 4 meals for 4 people per week
It turns out Martha & Marley Spoon isn’t new – it was originally founded in Germany in 2014 as Marley Spoon, then re-launched in partnership with Martha Stewart in 2016. From our experience so far, it seems the co-founders made a great choice for a partner and it reflects well on their recipes and quality. We are looking forward to more amazing flavors in the coming months.