• Natalie Budnyk

Alexa, We're Out Of Milk


As a New Yorker of about 7 years, I'm rarely ever in a true supermarket anymore, which is sad because I love Publix. Like so much. It's a vibe. But I'm the kind of grocery shopper who likes to go in without a list and let the food speak to me. The store has to be a place I want to wander around in for half an hour, and New York City grocery establishments don't always offer a comforting environment for my method. Plus I don't have a car, so walking home with heavy grocery bags is my worst nightmare. A nightmare I re-live every time I'm out of coconut milk and beer and LaCroix at the same time (Yet, my arms are not as toned as they should be. Maybe I need to buy more beer). Anyway, the point is that grocery shopping for quick essentials is not that fun and may turn out to be a workout you didn't sign up for.


The clear solution seems to be ordering groceries online. I've tried Hello Fresh and Blue Apron, but going back to my food whispering, I don't think a pre-set box of ingredients is for me. If you really know how to cook or grew up with an experimental pantry witch for a mother like I did, you can relate. Half the joy of mealtime is creating something new and interesting from exciting ingredients (or seasonal ones if you're lucky). They key to this style of cooking is having the essentials in your pantry already (things like canned beans, tomato sauce, olive oil, grains, and marinades). Since those are usually heavy items to walk home with, I've taken to ordering them online. It's a luxurious time we live in. As far as I'm concerned, these are the top two options: Amazon Fresh and Brandless.


AMAZON FRESH

Pros: Depending on where you live, these things can come to you day of. That means you can order all the fresh ingredients for Chicken and Cabbage Dim Sum from your office, and they will be at your door in a little cooler box when you get home, ready for you to break out the steamer basket you never use. (It's this thing PS; the one that falls out of your cabinet every time you open it.) They have pretty much everything under the sun here including produce, meats and some really good brands. You can also ask Alexa to order the stuff for you if you don't care what brand she picks. Or if you have ordered it before, you can say "Alexa, reorder coconut milk", and she'll order the same brand you picked last time.


Cons: This is expensive. It's $15 a month to be a part of this program ON TOP of your Prime membership, plus the cost to purchase the food. Call it a convenience fee, but I'd rather take an Uber home from the grocery store for $15 at that point. Also, I'm a little nervous about ordering produce and meat without seeing it first ever since the Pea Pod care packages my mom would send us in college. The fruits in those were always smooshed (which is why I don't recommend Pea Pod), and lettuce is already scary to me even if I pick it myself. I also have a thing about smelling cheeses through the wrapper before I buy them. It's fine. I'm fine. Full Disclosure: I haven't tried Amazon Fresh yet personally because of these reasons, but I have friends who live for it (looking at you, Roi).


BRANDLESS

Pros: All the food is organic, made in the USA and shipped from their plant in California, and every time you place an order, they donate a meal to a family in need. EVERYTHING is $3, and some of those $3 items are a two or three pack (eg. three cans of chickpeas that I swapped into in this recipe to make baked bean style chickpeas. I added a diced yellow onion to the mix and called it "lunch".) They also have things like soap, aluminum foil and paper towels if you are running low.

Watch my unboxing video to see some of my favorites. If you're convinced before reading the cons, use my referral link HERE for $6 off your first order. That's two free items!


Cons: It takes about a week to get your order, and they only sell non-perishable goods. This is not necessarily a con though if you are using your food orders to bolster your necessities like I am. Their supply is limited. You might not find the flavor of crackers that you want, but you also won't feel overwhelmed by too many options. All of their food is also "Brandless" brand, so you won't find things like Annie's mac and cheese or Heinz ketchup. The idea there is that you're avoiding the Brand Tax that comes along with buying from a known (read trusted) company.


xo, Nate

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