Purple Carrot fumbles with Tom Brady’s $78 TB12 meal kits
Forget about Deflategate – Tom Brady’s biggest crime is having the balls to charge $78 a week for this Purple Carrot meal kit.
The New England Patriots quarterback has teamed up with the vegan meal delivery service to create TB12 Performance meals. TB12, which stands for the player and his jersey number, features gluten-free, plant-based dishes that were developed in partnership with Brady. They even come with a handwritten letter from the QB, himself, that says he’s “excited to share meals I’ll be eating with you too.”
The $78 price tag covers three meals a week, at two servings apiece – so enough to feed two people for three nights, or one person for six meals if they plan to eat the leftovers. Then unless you unsubscribe, each week you’re charged $78 for another three meals for two.
It sounds like a great game plan – who doesn’t want to eat as clean and healthy as the Super Bowl MVP? Even if his diet is infamous for being strict, such as cutting out all MSG, iodized salt, coffee, fungi and dairy products, and eating a diet that’s 80% organic vegetables, and only 20% lean proteins. Plus, the recipes’ Instagram-worthy pics of perfectly sliced watermelon radishes and white lentil risotto look mouth-watering.
Unfortunately, this kitchen playbook is not for amateur chefs like myself. While the recipes are theoretically supposed to take 30 to 45 minutes to make, including prep and cook time, each one took me between an hour and 90 frustrating minutes to complete. And this isn’t my first meal delivery test drive. I’ve also experimented with HelloFresh and Blue Apron, which ship boxes of pre-portioned recipes for three meals at $60 a week.
But those other meal delivery boxes didn’t have me using two pots, a skillet, two mixing bowls, a strainer and a baking sheet just to make two servings of ramen noodles. My kitchen was a wreck. As I leaned over my sink for 15 minutes trying to squeeze water from handfuls of shredded turnips, it dawned on me that the Bradys likely have hired help to piece these impossible meals together. Even my roommate, who went to culinary school, was surprised at how advanced the TB12 dishes were.
The problem is that vegetables require a lot more prep time than simply sizzling slabs of meat. Think about it. You season a chicken breast and throw it on the skillet, or drizzle some olive oil on a salmon fillet and slide it in the oven. But if you want to make quinoa tabbouleh, it’s a process. You’ve got to: dice the cucumber; pick the mint and parsley leaves off their stems before chopping them; peel and dice the scallion; halve the kumquats; and mince the fresno pepper. And that’s just for a side dish. Those blasted turnip cakes require peeling and grating the root vegetables, squeezing all of the moisture out of them, and making a batter to bind them with before frying them.
Also, I lost count of the times I had to Google what an ingredient was. Kohlrabi? Watermelon radish? Amaranth greens? They all sound interesting enough, but they are definitely an acquired taste. I simply didn’t like many of the ingredients that I worked so hard to prepare.
Worse, the quality of this fresh produce left a lot to be desired. My shallot was half rotten, with a huge, wet brown spot on it. Half of my amaranth greens arrived blackened and slimey. Same with one bunch of parsley. Oh, and a couple of my recipes were actually missing ingredients. There was no flax meal for the turnip cakes, so I cheated by cracking an egg. So much for eating vegan. And another recipe was missing its shallot, so I had to sub in an onion.
Purple Carrot said there were “problems” with the amaranth greens for East Coast subscribers in an email to Moneyish, and also noted that greens are “delicate,” which makes them “easily bruised, crushed” and “sensitive to temperature” during shipping. The missing ingredients were “a result of human error,” and Purple Carrot said it would credit customers when this happens.
Still, these three meals were $26 apiece, or $13 a plate? Fumble!
But the biggest rip-off was that these performance-enhancing dishes that supposedly fuel Brady to Super Bowl greatness actually left me starving. The night that I made the ramen bowl with gingered amaranth greens and watermelon radish, I had to order Domino’s. The next night, when I attempted the turnip cakes (really, latkes with shredded turnips in lieu of taters), I ate the leftover sausage and pepperoni pizza slices to feel fully satiated. And the night I whipped up the white lentil risotto with cashew gremolata, I ended up ordering Thai.
Sorry, Brady – the only peak performance these meals helped me to maintain were my Seamless-ordering skills.
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