The working dad whose turn it is to cook but whose time is at a premium. The dater who wants to impress her prospective girlfriend but who can’t peel garlic. The roommates who have already burned through their favorite cookbooks and are yearning for something different. What do these people have in common? They’re the target audience for local start-up Scratch DC.
When it comes to making dinner, everyone, from the culinary neophyte to the gastronomic elite, wants the comfort of a well-made and self-made meal. Unfortunately, this desire occasionally goes hand-in-hand with a temporary lack of creativity, talent or perhaps most importantly, time. Scratch DC seeks to fill that void by cutting out the most onerous parts of home cooking: decision making, shopping and prep work. For around $30, Scratch delivers a meal kit for two right to your door. Add-ons include chocolate fondue dessert, and roses and candles; a beer and wine license is also being pursued.
On the day our sample box came, the situation could not have been more perfect for Scratch’s ideal consumer. I had just returned from a two-week long work trip, and my fiancée and I were headed out on a week-long vacation the next day, leaving our fridge options limited. Around 6 pm, our meal arrived: a shoebox-like container with individually packed ingredients.
Each component came in its own condiment cup or Ziploc bag, pre-cut and mixed. Also inside was a long recipe card with step-by-step instructions that were straightforward, idiot-proof and still a little tongue-in-cheek (sample: To the bowl, add your container of cheesy goodness [goat cheese, Parmesan, nutmeg, salt, pepper] [marked with smiley]. Mix that sexiness up).
What We Had
Our meal was a spinach and goat cheese ravioli in a Portabella-Parmesan wine sauce, an entrée that seemed the right balance between readily accessible and foodie-friendly, with the added bonus of being asked to hand-make the ravioli yourselves (an ideal date situation if we’ve ever seen one). To that end, in place of pasta, Scratch had substituted wonton wrappers, which, as the recipe card put it, were “a little foodie secret.”
There was a lot to like about the set-up. For one, Scratch made no assumptions about what our kitchen would be stocked with: the box came with small containers of olive oil and salt and pepper. Its ingredient sourcing was solid, and at the least reflected a conscientiousness about their clientele. The meal also achieved the enviable success of having the final product seem much more impressive relative to the actual skill level and time needed to execute it.
For the budget conscious among us, the portion was more than ample for the two of us, a boon considering its price point. And, again perhaps most importantly, the dish itself was delicious: for cheese hounds like us, the thick more-parmesan-than-not sauce hit all the right spots and the added touch of bacon was a nice blast of salt (but was by no means a necessary ingredient, a plus for my pescetarian fiancée).
So if you find yourself caught in a dinner bind, Scratch DC is highly recommended.
Full Disclosure: I received a complementary package from ScratchDC.