If you’ve recently signed up to get ingredients delivered to your doorstep as part of a meal kit subscription, you’re not alone. Meal kit delivery services in the U.S. “have exploded into a $1.5 billion market in just the past few years and appear on track to at least double that number in the next few years,” per market research from Packaged Facts. Whether your commute cuts into your grocery shopping time or you’re simply seeking some new inspiration for healthy meals to make at home, services like Blue Apron, HelloFresh, Deliver Lean, Plated and many more offer an efficient way to whip up meals for two or more people.
Above all, cooking more provides a chance to feel at home in your own kitchen again. Welcome back! Remember those appliances you lovingly picked out when you moved in? Remember the island that used to do more than just hold your spare change and snail mail? You have the chance to create a warm, loving space full of delicious smells and little touches of personality at every turn. Before you eagerly rip open your first meal kit delivery box of the week, make sure your kitchen is up to the task. These four ideas can help you get your kitchen into peak user-friendly shape.
Tools of the Trade
Before you can get to work searing salmon or chopping asparagus, it’s time to identify weak spots in your kitchen inventory and fill them. You never want to get to the final step of a meal preparation and realize that you’re missing the key pan or utensil that you need to complete the recipe! Consumer Reports tested five meal delivery services and found that the average number of utensils per recipe ranged from 10-12, and that some of the recipe cards didn’t list what you need up front.
Which utensils should savvy at-home cooks invest in to get their kitchen up and running to its fullest potential? Kitchn suggests a few essential utensils and cookware items to start:
-Wooden cutting board
-Knives (Chef’s and paring)
-Colander or strainer
-Small and large saucepans with lids
-Medium sauté pan with lid
-Medium cast iron skillet
-Medium nonstick skillet
-Medium Dutch oven
Serious Storage Options
As you become more active in the kitchen, it’s easy to set things down and figure you’ll find a home for it later. Suddenly you’re in the middle of boiling pasta and you can’t find your strainer anywhere. Help your kitchen run smoothly by considering storage ahead of time! Touches as simple as a wall-mounted magnetic knife rack can streamline your kitchen routine. Options like rotating cabinet organizers, movable kitchen carts and vertical wall shelving can make the difference between a “Yes!” kitchen and a mess kitchen.
Let There Be Light
The last thing you want is to be chopping vegetables in dim, shadowy light from overhead. Not only is kitchen lighting a crucial part of any safe, enjoyable cooking routine, but it illuminates the design elements that make your kitchen space unique. Hanging pendant lights above your countertops and islands provide bright, focused task lighting to help you read your recipes and safely handle your utensils, while recessed overhead lighting casts an even glow around the room. Kitchens are an excellent spot for under-cabinet lights that shine light into even the darkest corners. Since you’re going to be spending more time in the kitchen, it’s time to reconsider your current fixtures and update accordingly to welcome in this new era of your cooking evolution.
Add Casual Seating
Your kitchen doesn’t have to be all work and no play! Adding strategic seating around the room helps make your kitchen a central hub for good conversation and group activities. Adorn your island with chic barstools at the right height for comfortable hangouts over wine and appetizers, and consider making your kitchen eat-in with eclectic seating like benches, banquettes and mismatched modern chairs to spice up the room and provide the perfect area for testing your meal delivery creations.
Subscribing to a meal delivery service is an excellent motivator to revamp your kitchen into a pleasant, highly usable space for years to come. As you settle into your meal prep routine, take time to invest in long-term kitchen upgrades that make you proud, from quality lighting to a complete collection of cookware and a place to store it all.