I am waiting for my third Blue Apron delivery, one of the numerous meal delivery services available in California. Last week, I cooked Blue Apron’s version of a Tagine, with beef and lamb, and it makes me think about what I expect of this kind of service.
At first, I was shocked by the ingredients: rice, a mix of beef and lamb, tomato paste… as a very French reflex, I thought that they didn’t know what they were talking about: where were the carrots, zucchinis, semolina (if any?), chicken… And of course, the Tajine dish, how could one make a Tajine without it? But then I tasted it, and I changed my mind. No need to make it “by the book” to have the spirit of it: taste, conviviality, pleasure… Isn’t it what it’s all about?
Tajine is a wonderful North African dish. In France, we are lucky enough to have great restaurants that serve it in the most traditional manner, and I waited to have my own lemon tree to make one, meaning my first try was here in America. I spent one week to make my confit lemons, waited three weeks for them to be ready to cook, put out my Tajine dish to cook the meat and vegetables for two hours, and served it to my family coming from France to discover our new life in America. And that was it.
As other traditional dishes, Tajine is not only a meal, it is a philosophy of eating. Choosing quality ingredients, taking time to slowly cook the meat, gathering people around the table and sharing pleasure together. So yes, one could think that cooking this dish in 45 minutes is not really the same, but that evening with the smell of the spices and the memory of France, I enjoyed Blue Apron recipe as if it was the real one…
Photo: Blue Apron Tajine