Recently, a company called CJK emailed to ask if they could send me some samples of their home-delivered breakfast and dinner offerings. They do prepared food deliveries in the South Loop, as well as Oak Park, and a few points in between. One of the meals promised to be "paleo," so that caught my interest, even though archeologists and anthropologists, while recognizing the food value of the paleo diet, have dismissed the notion that it's anything like what our hairier forebears had for dinner.
One evening, a truck with a cheese guy's picture appeared in front of our house:
When the bag arrived, it announced "local free range tasty grassfed fresh nutrient dense ready to eat meals convenient healthy anti-inflammatory chef crafted foods made with delicious organic ingredients." A mouthful, but hey, at least it wasn't a boring brown bag.
The food arrived cool and there were no cooking instructions. If I were a caveman, or a 25-year-old-man living on my own, I might have a hard time figuring out how to prepare this grub. The plastic containers were compostable but apparently not microwavable, which I think is a flaw in this system: it'd be best to deliver items in containers they can be cooked within.
With a collective cooking experience of about a century, Carolyn and I figured out how to cook it, not that it was that complicated: we pan-warmed, fried, toasted and out-of-the-container microwaved everything.
This was generally some tasty chow.
The Jicama Hash had hunks of spicy turkey Italian sausage, which I found delicious. The jicama added crunch without the heavy carbs of potato. The spice level was not aggressive, but you could feel the heat, which was nice. Chunks of veg in there helped: cabbage, spinach, bell peppers. We threw it all in a pan and warmed it, but you could also put it into another container and microwave it. This was the easiest of the meals to cook, and I could see having a few of these in the office refrigerator if you work late nights and want to eat somewhat healthy.B
The Tilapia was served on brown rice and roasted green beans with a decent remoulade, and the dish had a hominess to it that was comforting: it was not as rich as a restaurant meal, but it still satisfied. If I were single cave- or 25-year-old man, this would be a welcome change from eating in restaurants or wolfing room-temperature tuna fish from a can. I will say this though, again, that for cave person or modern twenty-something, it might be a little unclear how to cook this. You need to start by putting fish (the denser protein) in a pan, warming it, and then adding the other stuff. Directions on the packaging would help. A-
The final dish – Housemade Paleo Waffles – posed the most preparation problems. This dish came with two-hard cooked eggs, which had to be microwaved, along with the bacon, which we put in the oven, but the waffles seemed appropriately done in the toaster. There were also pickles, which added a tart dimension, though obviously we didn't want to cook those. Still, there was a lot of cooking in different cooking devices (microwave, stove, toaster). Having to do all this cooking could frighten and confuse a man in a cave or his mid-20s, and the waffles, made of yam, were too soft to be extracted by fingers from the toaster and so, homo fabricans that we are, we resorted to tools – in this case, a fork…which could have lead to extinction. C
Overall, at $12 or so a pop for the smaller meals, and $10-20 additional for delivery (provided you order at least $75 of food), this service isn't cheap, but it isn't outrageous either. And the food is good. Given your circumstances, it might help you survive.
If this sounds appealing to you, whether you're a caveman or just a single guy who doesn't know how to cook, you can find out more about CJK at http://www.cjkfoods.com/