I regularly read The Juggle, the WSJ's blog about/for working parents. The readership is, understandably, upper middle class. Yet it always surprises me how many women in this cohort would give up pretty much anything before they'd give up their cleaning service. I'm a bit bemused mainly because I can't imagine that my house would ever be uncluttered enough so that a cleaning service could work.
But my indulgence involves cooking. I don't think I could hire a housekeeper, but I sure would enjoy a personal chef. Cooking is my chore (my husband does dishes), and over the years, I've come to resent it more and more even as I care more and more about what I eat. Is a dilemma. Many working parents rely on takeout, but we prefer not to eat so much fast food. TV dinners were a mainstay once upon a time in America, but we all know now that they're filled with salt and are over-processed.
A new kind of food service has been evolving: the meal assembly business. They have names like Mixing Table and Super Suppers and Dinner By Design. You go there and prepare your meals from fresh ingredients, usually 6 to 10 meals at a time. The stations are set up with the ingredients all ready and chopped, measuring spoons and cups close at hand. It's nice to have food that is fresh, not processed. It's easy to pop the food out of the freezer and cook it up. Some of the recipes are mind-blowingly delicious; others are average; an occasional one or two are stinkers.
But now it's going a step further. My husband e-mailed me yesterday that someone involved with his workplace (a major university) is starting a business to make and deliver fresh meals daily. Lasagna, meatloaf, a special of the day, side orders: $8.99 per order, and $2.99 for side orders. She'll deliver it to his office, and he can store it in the office fridge.
I am ecstatic. It's like having a personal chef, or having a restaurant meal, without the intrusiveness or effort.
You all can have your housecleaners. I'm not ready to give up my freshly prepared dinners.