Seizing on Americans’ collective desire to elevate home cooking (and collective laziness), entrepreneurs have collaborated with farmers and chefs to package simple, ready-to-cook meals with just enough ingredients—often premeasured and sourced locally—to fix the portions you need for that evening. I tested two Atlanta favorites, Garnish & Gather and PeachDish. Both post weekly menus on their websites, with at least one non-meat option; you choose the one you want and the number of portions. See how they stacked up.
Garnish & Gather
Origins: Founder is Emily Golub, Atlanta native and “adventurous home cook”
The dish: Chicken breasts with mustard greens, pecans, oranges, and farro
Recipe by: Jarrett Stieber, chef behind pop-up Eat Me Speak Me
Time: Estimated: 35 minutes Actual: 32 minutes
What I liked: Every ingredient was premeasured. All I did was chop the mustard greens and peel the orange. Chicken from White Oak Pastures.
Surprise element: Recipe called for a quarter cup of white wine but didn’t supply it. Was directed to website for substitutes.
Portion size: Hearty. (In contrast, an earlier recipe, a shiitake mushroom saute with baked polenta, was not enough for dinner.)
Compliments from spouse: Effusive
Cost for the meal: $35 for two servings
Fine print: Delivery is an extra $10, bringing the total cost of this meal to $46.05 (including $1.05 in tax).
Delivery range: Limited (for now) to inside I-285 and north of I-20, except for Grant Park and East Atlanta. But there are 34 pickup locations, as far north as Alpharetta.
Verdict: Love it, but to save money will arrange pickup myself. Subscription benefits include $5 off each order.
Origins: President is Judith Winfrey, co-owner of Love Is Love Farm
The dish: Carrot, snow pea, and parsnip pad thai
Recipe by: Robert Lupo, formerly sous chef at Leon’s Full Service
Time: Estimated: 35 minutes Actual: 37 minutes
What I liked: Recipe card included step-by-step photos
Surprise element: An orange for . . . dessert?
Portion size: Hearty, thanks to the rice noodles
Compliments from spouse: She ate all the leftovers.
Cost for the meal: $25 for two servings
Fine print: Delivery is $7, but all orders must include a minimum of four servings. No pickup.
Delivery range: Anywhere in the continental U.S.
Verdict: Love it, and free shipping with subscription makes it plenty tempting.
This article originally appeared in our April 2015 issue under the headline “Partial Prep.”