For those who crave a home-cooked meal but find the process of making food entirely from scratch … unnecessary, new services are springing up to combine the benefits of delivery and home-cooking, all in one neatly tied package. In D.C., for instance:

The food comes wrapped in a box with twine, and each ingredient has its own container: A salad of grape tomatoes, red onion, and organic blue cheese are already mixed together with balsamic and olive oil on the side. The raw flank steak is cut and marinated in a plastic Ziploc bag. The potatoes come whole with a container for the organic cream and butter and another for the salt and pepper. There are even two surprise cookie dough balls.

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All that costs $33 — less than a steak dinner for two from a restaurant, not much more than buying your own groceries. Those are all “fresh, locally sourced organic ingredients,” too. Scratch DC, the provider of this bounty, isn’t the only company with this idea: In Chicago, Meez Meals has been offering it for a while.

“Cooking” in this system has about the same definition it did to my sixth grade home ec teacher, who either wasn’t allowed or was too afraid to let us use knives. There’s a little bit of sautéing and boiling involved, but basically the cook just needs to mix ingredients together. If that sounds like too much work, there is always this option.

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