We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Dinner Theater

5th October 2017

Read it.

Meal kits, like Blue Apron, have always stood for the family lives of our fantasies

This brought home to me that I am probably not the target demographic of these services, since neither my parents nor myself were ever divorced. Nor is it important to me that dinner represent a new and exciting culinary discovery; those who know me well know also that ‘new’ and ‘exciting’ aren’t part of my personality.

In its evocation of a family dinner table with no past and no future — having no leftovers is one of the key advertising promises of these services — meal-kit delivery services promise that, with the help of e-commerce, traditional family life can continue undisturbed even as the underlying structures that produced the family as we know it are undergoing extreme disruption. If becoming an adult is learning to parent yourself, meal-kit delivery imagines that parent at sea in the overwhelming churn of an unmoored and unrecognizable life.

That’s more angst than I really need in a meal. I enjoy cooking the things that I know how to cook, and I’d really like to be a great cook but am constitutionally unable to put in the time and effort to become one. And nobody in 1950s Indiana ate food that originated in a foreign country, except maybe Italian on Friday night because you could get spaghetti sauce without meat. (My mother gave us Chop Suey once. From a can. It didn’t end well.)

Lileks has his unique take here.

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