Cooking without Looking: Week Two

Hello, New Beginnings!

With week one of my hello Fresh experience in the books, it brought new skills, new mistakes, and new beginnings! For me, and I’m sure that my fellow Cooking Without Looking Blog colleagues can agree, that the first week experience was the beginning of something new and great for all of us. We all have different fields of vision, and we all are in different places in terms of our cooking abilities in the kitchen. What more new beginnings and skills could be waiting for us in the coming weeks? I guess we’ll have to strap on our aprons and see where this delicious journey takes us!

Embracing the New!

I started off my second week of cooking very optimistic and excited. That was very different from the previous week because I was nervous to step into the kitchen again and practice cooking more. That first week was really the first time I cooked consistently. As the week progressed, that feeling of fear and worry went away. My feelings towards cooking turned into hunger not just for food, but for more knowledge of this essential skill. I began to research different ways to elevate my cooking skills even more; I wanted to find new ways to become better at cooking, thus increasing my independence. I had never felt this way about cooking before and I loved it!

What’s cooking this week?

Photo of dinner plate with two yummy hamburgers and broccoli.

With new beginnings comes new challenges and a few unexpected roadblocks. One memorable recipe I made this week was Juicy Lucy Burgers. Except there was something missing that is crucial when making burgers. No, it wasn't any condiments or the buns, any guesses? The missing ingredient was the ground beef needed to make the burgers! I could have made vegan burgers with no patties, but that would have been not as fun. Besides, I was really in the mood for hamburgers that day. On a more serious note, I did reach out to HelloFresh to try to resolve the issue, and they are trying to figure out what happened to the ground beef. As a side reference, the customer service at HelloFresh is great! They are very understanding and generous people who are certainly willing to work with you if any problems were to arise with your experience with them. Before I had contacted HelloFresh about my missing beef, I had to problem solve to make my burger. Luckily, I had some ground beef at my house, so I used some of that to get the job done. Making my burgers from scratch was quite enjoyable; I could put whatever I wanted into the burger. Yes, I followed the original recipe, but I also added a few other ingredients and seasonings to make this burger my own creation. There was some good that came from this unfortunate beef incident, but I’m actually glad it happened just because it made this week's learning experience... juicy and loose-y.

-Casey

Second Week

Photo of a dinner bowl with rice, various vegetables and dressing.

The second week I had of Hello Fresh was pretty good, except. I burnt my rice. After burning my rice, (My ginger pieces were too big, and I left the rice on too long), I finally figured out how to cook the rice properly. I cooked it at a shorter time. I also figured out how to stay organized in the kitchen. My first week, I was all over the place. I would forget where each of my ingredients were when I needed them. So, the second week, I changed that. I would put each of my ingredients in the order they go in, in the recipe. It really helped. My favorite meal I made was the Farris bowls. Farrow is dried up wheat. It was sooooo good. My least favorite meal was the beef melts. It was also the hardest meal to make because I had trouble cutting the bread for the melts.

-Hannah

Here We Go Again!

It’s our second week! After a super successful first week of cooking, I was excited to get my second box and start again with new recipes and new lessons to learn! What I did not expect this time, however, is that I would learn something new before even starting to cook…

POP Goes the Icepack…

When I opened my second box, I was incredibly surprised by what I found inside. One of the large icepacks that Dinnerly uses with their packaging to keep perishable items cold had popped! There was water and little pieces from the icepack everywhere… I didn’t even know where to begin! So, I moved the box over to my counter next to the kitchen sink and began to clean up the mess; taking out each individual item, wiping it dry, and then seeing if it was damaged. Unfortunately, some of my ingredients were not able to be used. I was missing key ingredients for two of my dishes such as meat, dough… what was I going to do??

Dinnerly Serving Up Customer Service

I decided to turn to my Dinnerly app to see what options they offered in terms of contacting the company for costumer service assistance. And I was pleased with what I found! Dinnerly offers two extremely helpful ways to get in touch with them and have your questions/concerns addressed!

The first option is an automated chat box that they call their “Virtual Sous-Chef”. It looks like an instant message or text chat box. When you enter this feature, the Sous Chef starts the chat by asking you what you need help with. It then provides optional responses for you to choose from. I thought this feature was really great, however it is designed more for cooking specific questions or basic shipping concerns. It didn’t seem like the best way for me to solve my problem. So, I tried another route.

The second option for contacting Dinnerly’s customer service team is to send an email message directly through the app. In doing so, it attaches your account to the message so the member of the customer service team can access your account information. As I wrote my email, there were some things I thought about that I wanted to share with you all here!

  • Be specific! When talking about my order, I made sure to give my name and the exact name of the three recipes that came in my order as they were written in the Dinnerly cookbook. That way, the customer service representative would know exactly which box I was talking about, and what meals were impacted.
  • The key is in the details! After explaining my issue, I made sure to make a detailed list of the ingredients that were damaged so that the customer service representative would be clear as to what my issue was and what I needed to be replaced.
  • Be kind and polite! In my email, I tried to keep the tone polite. I know it’s not the fault of the person that I am reaching out to that my ingredients were damaged. So, I tried to keep the email polite, specific, and professional so that I could most effectively get my problem solved!

After sending my email, I immediately got an automated response back. Due to the current global health crisis, Dinnerly has been receiving a large number of emails, etc. and they said that they were doing their best to get in touch with everyone personally as quickly as possible. They gave me a time frame saying that someone should get in touch with me within 72 hours, thanked me for my patience, and apologized for the inconvenience.

I thought this was a really nice touch. It let me know that my email had been received by Dinnerly and that a response was coming, so I didn’t just have to sit and wait thinking nothing was coming of my efforts to reach out. They also sent a follow up two days later to check in and let me know that they hadn’t forgotten about my request and would personally respond as soon as possible! In the meantime, I decided to work on the one recipe I had all of my ingredients for…

What’s Cooking?

Photo of a pan of bubbling ravioli lasagna.

One recipe I chose this week was a “Ravioli Lasagna”. I was really intrigued as I have made both dishes separately but never combined like this! I was incredibly pleased with how this dish turned out! It allowed me to work with various kitchen tools such as the can opener. I’ve used one before but the one I currently have is a little difficult to maneuver. For me, it’s really difficult to visually see if the can is attached to the opener. Trying to rely on feeling for it is also nerve wracking because of the sharp edge of the opener. Luckily, this can opener makes a very distinct click sound when the can is in place. Listening for that has made it easier for me to safely make sure the can is secure.

I also had to use the cheese grater for this recipe. Based on the wording of the recipe, I felt like if I had no vision at all it would have been difficult for me to know which side of the grater, they wanted me to use. The recipe said to use the side with the largest openings. On the grater that I have, there is a side that has large openings for slices of cheese and the others have circular holes of various sizes. Based on the recipe itself, I could conclude that they were talking about the side with the largest circular holes but it made me think about how someone who may not have used a cheese grater before or seen one might interpret that. As a visually impaired person, I feel like it is helpful when recipes are very specific-that way you can interpret the action words that are used. This is something that I will definitely be keeping in mind as my fellow bloggers along with the other CTA participants put our cookbook together!

Final Thoughts!

Like I said, this recipe was a little different, but it was really delicious! I was extremely happy with how it turned out! I will definitely be making it again!

After a few days, I did hear back from Dinnerly. They offered me a refund for the ingredients that were ruined in the form of a credit towards my next box! The email they responded with was very personal and kind. I was happy with the way the company handled what had happened!

Though I was still unable to make one of my recipes, I found a way to problem solve and make my second recipe. I also decided to choose another recipe with the ingredients I had at home to try out! I ended up making the chicken lo main I had chosen with some chicken I had at home, and also chose to substitute chicken parmesan for my third meal!

My biggest take away from this week was that sometimes things don’t go the way you plan for them to. It can be frustrating because as a person with a vision impairment, it is so important to plan things out. But as important as it is to plan, it is just as important to be able to adapt and adjust. I can’t wait to see what the next week of cooking teaches me and to share it all with you! Thanks for reading!

-Frankie Ann

Hey readers…

Welcome to my second week of cooking. This week I cooked Lobster with shrimp and ravioli. Because one of my mistakes I made on last week, I don't get to choose this week's meal, they chose it for me. Guess what mistake I made, ahh of course, forget to choosing my meal before.

Than here is coming my tip for all lovely blind friends, number 1, choosing your meal immediate after last week's meal, you can even choosing it before, don't wait, but sometimes if we want to try what they going to pick for us, we can. Get a surprise is not bad sometimes. 

So, after that, I immediate went to pick my last week's meal, but problem coming! On the menu, it already selected your last week's meal for me, I am like what, I want something different, how to do that? Another important tip, if you want to pick something different, you have to delete the meal they already picked for you, and then go through the menu. And remember, it’s not going to show all the meals on same page, you have to flip up and down, android user, 3-fingers flipped up and down, go back and forth. iPhone user, sorry, but I don't know how the app worked on you guys. It takes me a while to learned them. 

Cooking is not too bad, except working with my shrimp. I used a pan; the problem is I can get my food out of my pan easy. That which is annoying. Tip 3, when you stiring, go back for forth, don't go to the same direction, or you can drop your food out of the pan, or you can use a pot instead. I got that idea from my friend; I think is a great idea. 

Cooking the pasta is not too hard, so easy. Just boil the water, put pasta in, waited, using the fork to poke it, if you think is soft enough, get it out. Some people like softer, some people like harder. 

All right last but not least, the recipe can help us know how long we have to cook our food, but sometimes can be a little off. But sometimes said 18 minutes, but after that, my food burned. I did what the recipe said, on the right temperature, but it burned. I learned that meat usually cook a little long than what the recipe said, because sometimes even on the right time, is still raw. Would you rather eat raw meat, or wait 1 or 2 more minutes to eat? Just you know.

All right, thank you for reading my cook week 2, hope see you guys soon!

-Conner

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