Why It’s Time to Upgrade Your Cookware

large_made_in_05

Be honest: how many of you are still cooking on the frying pans your mom bought you for your first apartment right out of college? We know that a lot of folks live by the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But there are actually quite a few reasons why it does pay to fix this situation in your kitchen.

Investing in a high-quality set of Made In Cookware stainless steel pots and pans will not only take your cooking to the next level but will literally be a lifestyle upgrade. Seriously!

Need more convincing? Here are four solid reasons why upgrading your cookware is the best decision you can make for yourself this year. 

made_in_cookware

Your Cooking Will Improve

When you have the right tools you’re able to do things your cheap cookware can’t. You think crisp sears and evening heating are just a fantasy? It’s not with premium 5-ply stainless.

With a quality pan, you can learn to cook in ways you thought were reserved for Gordon Ramsay. Before you know it, you’ll be folding omelets like a pro, whipping up silky pan sauces, and even baking cornbread. The cooking world will truly be your oyster.

Because You’re A Grown-up

At some point, it’s just time to level up. When it comes to your cookware, there’s a reason professional chefs don’t use pots and pans they pick up at Bed, Bath, and Beyond when their moms are in town. They choose high quality, reliable products that will yield consistent results time and time again.

Upgrading to professional quality cookware, even if you just start with a 10” frying pan, is a real mark of maturity. It shows you’re ready for the big leagues and you’re not still doing laundry at your mom’s house every other month.

High-Quality Cookware Is An Investment

And a real grown-up knows a good investment when they see one. If you spend the money now on a solid set of stainless steel pans you’ll have them for years. Made In pans heat more evenly than cast iron, are easier to clean and care for so your pans will stay shiny for years and are just as versatile. While everyone else is wondering why they can’t achieve a perfectly golden brown crust on their rubbery steaks, yours will be perfect every time.

Not only is Made In cookware a good investment in yourself, it’s a great investment in America! Each pan is made in the US with materials carefully sourced from right here at home.

You Deserve To Treat Yourself

Let’s be real, you also deserve this. You don’t need a reason to buy yourself something nice. Upgrade your cookware because you deserve to have nice things. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Upgrade Your Cookware!

large_made_in

Giving Thanks…

jac-team-photo

As the staff at Just Add Cooking, we’re pretty lucky to work in a place where we get to eat delicious food on a regular basis, help to design recipes that land on the tables of so many families around Massachusetts, and work with some of the region’s best farmers, fishermen and artisans. So we wanted to spend a moment this week giving thanks. Here’s what our team is thankful for when it comes to food this holiday season, and a few of their foodie faves!

Katie, Customer Success Manager
Favorite Thanksgiving Dish: Pie
Favorite Leftover: Cold pie!

“I’m grateful that my work helps support an industry that places value on the integrity of the food we feed ourselves and our families. By fostering the local food economy, we are able to push back on a system that prioritizes profits over human and animal wellbeing.”

Dan, Head of Recipe Development & Meal Planning
Favorite Thanksgiving Dish: Cranberry sauce
Favorite Leftover: A turkey sandwich with stuffing, mayo and cranberry sauce. And maybe some gravy. And some mashed potatoes too.

“New England has a great mix of the land and the sea. The seafood we get here is some of the best of the world and being able to pair that with high-quality local produce is a dream come true for home cooks.”

Kevin, Director of Operations
Favorite Thanksgiving Dish: Potatoes
Favorite Leftover: Potatoes

“I am thankful for the ability to eat food that is produced and grown in a sustainably conscientious way, and for the reduced food miles that eating locally allows for.”

Fredrik, CFO

“As we are going to have lobster on Thanksgiving, I am thankful to be able to eat lobster that is fresh from New England water.”

Jan, Co-Founder & CEO
Favorite Thanksgiving Dish: Turkey
Favorite Leftover: Pecan pie

“I am thankful for the amazing quality and freshness of local food and most important that together we’re building a local, sustainable food system for the future.”

Katerina, Chief Marketing Officer
Favorite Thanksgiving Dish: This will actually be my first Thanksgiving in the U.S. so I am looking forward to exploring this holiday. 

“Since I am from Sweden fresh fish is very important to me. I am thankful to get my fish from Red’s Best, one of our local vendors at Just Add Cooking, and I love the fact that I know who caught my fish and that it is so fresh.”

Rachel, Marketing/Development Intern
Favorite Thanksgiving Dish: Stuffing
Favorite Leftover: Cold pie for breakfast

“I am thankful to have the opportunity to support local farmers and producers who work hard to feed us food whose origin we know. To me, there is nothing like biting into a fresh apple that was picked the same day and hasn’t traveled across the country. Especially since I eat at least one apple every day.”

Amanda, Chief Gastronomic Officer
Favorite Thanksgiving Dish: A hybrid of Korean and American cuisine: Kimchi, Bacon and Mushroom Stuffing
Favorite Leftover: Pie, cold and right out of the tin

“I am thankful that I live in a community where there are so many people who take pride in what they do when it comes to growing and producing food. I am fortunate that I get to benefit from their hard work and support them by eating their food.”

Caroline, Product Development Intern
Favorite Thanksgiving Dish: Stuffing
Favorite Leftover: Sandwiches made with leftover dinner rolls, mayo, turkey, cranberry sauce, and kale salad.

“I am thankful for the New England food economy and the opportunity to eat locally because it is an environmentally conscientious choice I can make daily and one that supports local jobs in the agricultural sector.”

Six Essential Kitchen Tools

six-essential-kitchen-tools
We’re big believers in the idea that you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment or a big kitchen to make a great dinner. In fact, the idea of a meal kit using locally sourced ingredients like ours does is just the opposite: we love working with what we have to create delicious, flavorful dinners quickly and easily. Part of being successful in the kitchen is having what you need right at your fingertips.

To that end, Just Add Cooking’s Chief Gastronomic Officer Amanda Mayo has put together her top six essential cooking tools, which are especially perfect if you’re cooking in a small space and storage is at a premium. Overall, these tools won’t break the bank and you’ll find them being used on a variety of recipes–breakfast, lunch and dinner!

1. A Heat-Resistant Rubber Spatula
A great spatula isn’t just for mixing cake batter. It’s also a perfect way to gently stir sauces, scramble eggs or melt chocolate on your stovetop. Make sure it’s heat resistant, and a rubber spatula can stand in for a flat spatula or wooden spoon to mix, toss or stir anything on the stovetop or in the oven, encouraging things not to stick to the bottom of the pan.

2.Tongs
A great set of tongs goes from stove to table. They’re a perfect way to take control of your proteins while cooking for a quick flip or stir, and to toss salad or serve at the dinner table. Consider them an extension of your fingers – and a great way to protect your hands from burns or your meat from burning!

3. Microplane
Small but mighty, a microplane is a kitchen star for its multi-use capabilities. You can use it to zest a lemon or grate everything from cheese to garlic to ginger. Pro tip: use it to grate whole spices like cinnamon for a fresh and flavorful kick.

4. Half Sheet Pan
Roasting is the perfect set-it-and-forget-it dinner, and the half sheet pan is your roasting champ. You can cook anything on this baby, from veggies to proteins. After dinner, use it to bake cookies. Or spread dough over it for a delicious square pizza.

5. 4-qt Pot
A 4-qt pot is just large enough to handle a wide variety of tasks, from cooking grains to stirring up sauces. No need to stuff your cabinets full of pots and pans – just be sure you have a few good ones in a variety of sizes to get the job done.

6. Cast Iron Skillet
The cast iron skillet is perhaps the home chef’s best secret for making incredible meals. It’s heavy and requires a bit of love, but a cast iron skillet is absolutely worth getting into your kitchen. It’s oven-safe, which means you can transfer it directly from the stovetop to the oven. The big benefit of a cast iron pan is that it gets–and stays–extremely hot, so it’s great for cooking meats and proteins when you want a good sear.

A More Eco-Friendly Meal Kit

National Meal Kit Vs. Just Add Cooking Comparison

 

 

Meal kits bring incredible convenience to your dinner table, eliminating the need for meal planning or grocery shopping by shipping ingredients straight to your door. But as with many things, convenience often comes with a price. One of the largest complaints that we hear from customers who have used national meal kits in the past is that the packaging is wasteful, with more than 10 lbs of insulation and ice packs to ship food across the country for up to a day and a half.

That’s why we’re different. As a local meal kit, Just Add Cooking is able to create a more sustainable and eco-friendly meal kit that brings all of the convenience of recipes and ingredients delivered without the wasteful packaging. We’re always looking to improve upon that promise. That’s why we’re excited to announce: We have eliminated gel packs and foil cooling bags from our packaging.

Our packaging was already sparse, recyclable and compostable, thanks to the fact we ship ingredients less than 45 miles and they’re in transit for 4 hours or fewer. But by replacing our gel packs with frozen water bottles (which customers can then drink and recycle) and our cooling bags with a 100% recyclable box liner, we’re taking further steps towards sustainability.

Combine this with the fact we ship local ingredients and rack up fewer food miles than any other New England meal kit and you’ve got convenience you can feel good about. In line with our ethics, we’ve chosen givn water as our water bottles. They supply a day of clean drinking water for each bottle sold, so our customers are contributing to this important cause with each box purchased.

Curious about the impact of this switch? We’ve broken down a few of the numbers.

  • Over the next year, our switch to water bottles will save 50,000 pounds of frozen gel packs from going out into the world–that’s more than the weight of a Greyhound bus. (If we shipped with as many gel packs as national meal kits do to begin with, that number would be 300,000 pounds–the weight of two space shuttles.)
  • We’ve eliminated foil bags–saving enough of them to cover a football field each year.
  • Just Add Cooking customers will donate 70,000 days of clean drinking water through givn water this year. That’s enough to provide water to 200 people for a whole year.

We continue to innovate to be the most sustainable, eco-friendly meal kit on the market. Keep an eye on this space for our next steps and initiatives. Plus, get $10 off your first order to see the Just Add Cooking difference for yourself. Click here for details.

  • givn-stats-1

An interview with Just Add Cooking founder Jan Leife

jan-5

We’re celebrating the fifth anniversary of Just Add Cooking all week long! Over the past five years, we’ve been proud to deliver Boston’s only local meal kit and support local farmers, fishermen and artisans by delivering their ingredients to our customers. Today, we’re going back to where it all started with an interview with founder, Jan Leife.

And don’t forget to take a moment to celebrate with us in our social media contest. Simply post to our Facebook page or tag us @addcooking on Twitter or Instagram with #justaddcooking5 to be entered to win a free week of meals. We’ll be picking one winner on Friday, November 3. Leave us a review, photo or tell us why you love Just Add Cooking!

Why did you start JAC?

Back in Stockholm my family used a Swedish “matkasse” for many years and we found the service was fantastic. We saved time, had a healthy and delicious dinner every day of the week, got variety, and improved cooking skills (both me and my sons). When moving to Boston with my wife in 2012 I thought it would be a good idea to start a similar service.

What was the experience like setting up this service in the city of Boston?

It was easy and inexpensive to set up the company in Boston and there was a great enthusiasm from those around me about what I was doing. The entrepreneurial culture is amazing here and everyone thought it was fantastic that I started a company and they wanted to help. As an example, one of my neighbors started to work with me and help me out a lot.

What is special/different about JAC?

We’re the only full-service, local meal kit company in New England. We think of ourselves as a farm-to-home service. There are many benefits of being local when working with food. Fresher ingredients, fewer food miles, less packaging material, and supporting the local community. The fish is fresher than what you get in the store and we use two frozen water bottles instead of 10-15 lbs of gel packs when we package our boxes.

What are you most proud of regarding JAC?

With our “Local Scalable Business Model” we’re building a true sustainable food system for the future. We’ve started a movement that will change the way people eat locally produced food. We’re not just putting lipstick on a pig.

Tell me more about this “Local Scalable Business Model”

This is what is really unique about JAC. We are not just another meal kit company doing the same thing as everyone else, we have a completely different model for doing this kind of service. Because we are local, we cut down significantly on food miles and are conscientious about our packaging materials. Our food is being packed and shipped on the same day within the Boston area, it is not being frozen and traveling across the country. I think that a sustainable business model, an eco-friendly business model, will be necessary in the future and we have already rooted this in the core values of JAC.

Tell us about the evolution of the meal kit industry

It started in Sweden 10 years ago and is still growing there. It has grown from a 0 to a $5 billion industry here in the USA and is expected to reach $36 billion by 2025. Meal kits are expanding all over the globe, and are here to stay, definitely.

What is it like to be an entrepreneur in the city of Boston?

Exciting! Boston has a great culture for entrepreneurs with all accelerators, startup communities, and investors. We have received great support and encouragement from our partners because they believe in our business. An extra treat is that I can bike to every meeting.

Speaking of biking to work, how important is it to you to follow through on the sustainable practices you preach in your business also in your everyday life?

I think it is very important to follow through on the sustainable practices that we preach as a company. Composting and recycling are things that I do every day.

What would you say about the work environment at JAC? How do you create a positive work environment for your team?

I truly believe in teamwork and a flat organization. Information is essential, all employees should know what’s going on in the company and know how they contribute to the overall goals. I want to delegate and not hang over people’s heads. I believe that my staff will do their best to achieve the goals for the best of the company. I am there to be a supportive guide. I think as a leader it’s important to ask your employees: how do you want to solve this problem? I respect their knowledge and I want to hear what they think.

We also implement the Swedish concept “fika” — informal meetings over coffee accompanied by pastries. We enjoy eating together and trying new things. There is frequently test cooking happening and people will often bring in different foods for everyone to try.

What are some of the differences in the work culture in Sweden versus the U.S.?

There are many differences, the single one that is most obvious in day-to-day work is that Swedes will answer you more directly. Americans are excellent at marketing themselves and their ideas but tend to talk excessively while Swedes are really focused when they execute and spend less time selling or talking. This is not a question about ranking because there are different approaches in both places but if a Swede is in a room of Americans and a questions is asked, you can probably expect ten sentences from the American and one from the Swede [laughs].

Do you have a favorite recipe from JAC?

There are many delicious recipes, if I need to pick one it would be really hard, maybe the Irish Smoked Haddock Chowder or the Asparagus Risotto or the Poblano Pork and Dumpling Stew or Seafood Paella or…

What is your favorite thing about utilizing local Boston produce?

I love the fish and seafood we have here in New England. Lobster should be every man’s right ;-)