The company started out as “Marley Spoon” in 2014, founded in Germany by Fabian Siegel and Till Neatby. Recently, they partnered with Martha Stewart, and the company adopted the new name Martha and Marley Spoon. If you’re familiar with Martha Stewart’s trademark qualities of simplicity, quality and making things look easy, you’ll immediately recognize her mark on these meal boxes. “Delivered and designed with simple weeknight cooking in mind” is the promise made by Martha and Marley Spoon, and they nailed it. They also have a great blog that will give you ideas about how to incorporate more fresh, healthy foods into your day-to-day dining.
When the Martha and Marley Spoon box arrived, I appreciated the thought that went into the promotion of the company’s partnerships with carefully selected food suppliers and those suppliers’ stories. It reminded me a little of that Portlandia skit where the diners need to know the name and life history of the chicken they were about to eat; it’s such an Oregon thing to want to know the provenance of everything on your table. For me, though, it’s nice to know that this company is supporting small suppliers such as Vermont Creamery, the condiment company Sparrow Lane, and meats from Pat LaFrieda. The pre-portioned ingredients eliminate much of the prep work and you don’t have leftover portions of ingredients, so there’s no waste when cooking, either.
The recipe cards are the same size as a regular sheet of typing paper, but on a much heavier paper. This was nice because I didn’t need to flip around to follow along and make sure I was on track. The front side showed a large photo of the dish along with a short explanation about how the recipe has been tweaked for better nutrition. For example, the Creamy Bean and Poblano Tacos I tried notes that the recipe started with a traditional Mexican dish, added pinto beans for protein, but used cream cheese instead of heavy cream to cut calories and fat.
The photos on the flip side showed the important steps and provided cues on things like how to peel poblano peppers. That’s something I would have had trouble with if not for the photo. It’s always helpful to read through the entire recipe before starting, but I found that the instructions provided cues like, “While you do this … ” which was really nice. There was also a concise list of what they’d sent, what to pull from my own shelves (salt, pepper, and olive oil), and what cooking items I’d need (a rimmed baking sheet and a large skillet).
For the two recipes I followed, the time estimate was fairly accurate, even when one of the meals was prepared by myself and some friends visiting from my hometown and we were focused much more on chatting than cooking. Most of their meals can be prepared in 30-45 (or less), making it very do-able after a full day at work while the little ones run around and make messes. By the way, if you have kids with more mature palates (as in, they like things like asparagus), there are also family boxes you can order.
The cost varies based on how much you order, but it’s comparable to what you would pay dining out at a low-priced sit-down restaurant (only you don’t have to leave a tip and you won’t be eating anything deep-friend out of the Martha and Marley Spoon box). When you order 4 meals for two (so, a total of 8 portions), the cost is only $9.50 per portion. We found that the portions were pretty generous, however; definitely enough for my husband to take leftovers for lunch the next day.