We got to kick off the start of our family holidays with an exciting collaboration. If you know me one bit by now, you have learned how deeply I love food (there’s likely more food porn than kids’ pics in my Instagram feed) and how cooking and eating are important in my family’s and birth culture (Italian). This is why I was over the moon when during the latest Lapsimessut event I heard a pitch by Finnish startup Ruokaboksi about how they wanted to use good and healthy food to positively influence families’ habits, get them together in the kitchen to cook and eat, and promote local and selected ingredients. Right away I convinced (begged) them to have me try and review their product. On their website, it’s mentioned as food shouldn’t be simply fuel and to that I want to shout a loud alleluja!
Now off to our own Ruokaboksi experience. I got signed on for a “4 meals for 4” box. At the moment you can choose among three combinations, the other two being “3 meals for 4” and “3 meals for 2”. This is not a regular subscription. You can decide week by week if you wish to order the box or not, and the content and recipes of the box change weekly. You can follow Ruokaboksi’s Instagram or Facebook page or sign up to their newsletter to regularly receive a preview of the upcoming menu. The box is delivered on Monday, after working hours. I received a text a couple of days before pinpointing a 1 hour slot when delivery would arrive. I found this very convenient, as I didn’t have to wait 3 or 4 hours like you are often supposed to with courier deliveries. The box arrived perfectly on time.
I immediately noticed some great pluses:
- plastic-wrapping was at minimum levels. Notice how veggies are collected in paper bags wherever possible;
- many items were organic;
- there was a clear focus on promoting local products, which I really appreciate (lower carbon footprint, among others);
- they clearly selected high quality brands. I can comment for instance on the Italian food included there: pasta was from good brands (including locally hand made pasta!) and tomato sauce was from one of the best producers.
These were the same products I would have bought myself in a shop. Actually, even better, as some brands I struggle to easily find. Yay!
The box contained also a leaflet with recipes for four meals: a quick paella, a rich salad, quick lasagna, and grilled meat and veggies. I was so excited that for a second I caressed the idea of a second dinner…
On day one we attempted paella, even though it was recommended for day 2, we are free spirits.
We really enjoyed the paella! We didn’t appreciate the pea pods but agreed we want to cook it again with simple peas. R confessed she loves shrimps and E never says no to rice. Our family includes two adults and two toddlers. Portions were for adults, so everyone ate plenty and I had leftovers to eat for lunch at work every day. One thing we noticed here and throughout the week was that cooking time estimates were well off, usually around 40% too low. For instance, the recipe for paella estimated 20 minutes but overall it took about a hour for my husband to prepare the meal. Another example was the salad, where one was supposed to cook pasta and have it cooling down when the whole recipe would take 20 minutes. This was not a big deal for us, as we are used to deploy 30-60 minutes to cooking daily, but it’s something you may want to take into account if you look for quick dinner solutions.
We spent the salad on day 2. No one is a salad fan in this house, yet the dish positively impressed us. We agreed we would use again the recipe, with some small tweaks. It’s not common to mix sweet flavours in salads in Italy, yet we were pleasantly surprised by how blueberries contributed to complete the taste.
Another aspect I was fond of was how dishes were nutritionally complete. Clearly they thought through carefully how to balance veggies, fruit, carbohydrates, and proteins. I try to be conscious of this, yet I often lack the right recipes. I appreciated that Ruokaboksi took the stress out this week.
Our favourite meal was the meat. We fell in love with the sauce and included in our family recipe book!
This was the only meal that wasn’t abundant. One pork steak wasn’t enough to fully feed everyone. We could have used a second one.
Last but not least, the quick zucchini lasagna. We thought it was brilliant to hide zucchini in a lasagna, since we often struggle to get the kids to eat them.
This got E to eat all and fast, which, believe me, is some sort of miracle! I’m still enjoying my full tummy while I write this review.
So, what is it? Ruokaboksi, yay or nay? I say YES. We concluded that, given our family habits, it cannot be a regular solution for us. Price is higher than to our regular shopping (which is comparable in kind and quality of products). However, we will order it again in the future as a fun treat here and there, to spare meal planning and shopping, and to discover new recipes and ingredients we can later add to our diet. In addition, I can see how this could truly lend a helping hand to families who want to improve their dietary habits but do not know where to start from. There’s nothing harder than changing a regular habit when you are working parents. If you fall in this category, by any means give it a try right away (there’s even a 20% off on the first order).
Again, we were truly impressed by the ingredient selection. It really aligned with our family values: promoting local food, supporting brands we appreciate, preferring organic when possible, choosing quality over cheap. And no useless plastic wrapping! I have ranted about this in the past, you know it’s my thing.
I have started following them on several channels to make sure I get tempted by the future menus. Also, I need to mention this fun collaboration granted me the right to claim to my husband “My blog literally put food on our table!” to shut him up when he complained I was using “too much time for the blog”. That tasted even better that the contents of the box.
My wishlist for Ruokaboksi:
- more realistic time estimates or, at least, splitting preparation (chopping, etc.) and cooking time. You don’t want to cook half of the time with whining toddlers hanging from your leg;
- more options for the box size, to include families of all sizes. I bet this is on the roadmap already;
- recipes were in Finnish. Our family could manage, but to make them more accessible without printing them one could publish English translations on the website for customers only or send them via email;
- a vegetarian box option.
Will or did you try Ruokaboksi? If you do, I want to hear your opinion. Make sure to drop a line in the comment section.
This post originated from a collaboration with Ruokaboksi. Opinions are mine and sincere. Read about my work values here.
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