Maggot Soup for Supper

This is a fly larvae/maggot.

Welcome back. It’s been a long time. Tonight’s post consists of two appetizing tales… But I hope you’ve eaten already. One of these chronicles you may have heard, and the other, you will be delighted to be informed.

The premise of this post is to reiterate the importance of thoroughly inspecting food and ingredients you buy and consume. I will warn you: If you use a certain meal kit delivery service, you may rethink such after reading this.

Maggot Soup

When my husband and I moved to our new house, we had little time or energy to fully shop for groceries and plan meals. Our commutes became longer and we just had too much to do. And to those who have told me, “YoU’Re Not BusY! WaIt uNtil You HavE thE BaBy,” here’s my message to you: leave me alone. I’ve now dropped a great portion of responsibilities and volunteer activities to prepare for a baby, but I digress. Basically, I was getting burnt out on making the same meals over and over again: kind of different, but essentially the same variations of baked chicken, spaghetti, and tacos. I thought trying a meal kit would be the best option, as I like to cook and it would be super convenient. I’m also a millennial who enjoys things delivered straight to my doorstep.

Anyway, HelloFresh was the meal kit I opted for. Tons of discount codes, good reviews, lots of food options, and quick meal prep time. Done. Sold. The first four weeks were marvelous. Any time a new week was revealed for meal choices, I was on it. It was thrilling, and I sort of became addicted. I had nothing but positive reviews for the first four to five weeks. I was such an advocate for HelloFresh; I was promoting it to everyone I knew and encouraged them to hop on the bandwagon. Key word: “was”

But this isn’t titled “Maggot Soup” for nothing.

For our delivery a couple of weeks ago, I changed our shipment date to a Monday rather than the regular Tuesday I chose for the prior deliveries. I chose one day sooner, because I picked four meals instead of three and wanted an extra day to cook them. They looked scumdiddlyumptious, and I couldn’t help myself.

Sunday rolled around, so I checked the tracking. It left the HelloFresh facility Saturday evening and made it to Champaign midday on Sunday. Cool; all was well. Then Monday rolled around, and the tracking information said it was still at the Champaign FedEx facility, not at my abode as planned. When I checked the status Tuesday, the box was still at that facility. The customer service rep for HF told me it would arrive later that day. Nope. On Wednesday I called again, and the representative informed me since the box was no good after 48 hours, FedEx threw it away.

Well, it would have been consumed if it had been delivered rather than sitting in a warehouse for three days. But K. They credited my account. A new box actually was reshipped and sent via UPS. I received the meals Friday. All was fine and dandy.

The following week, the food arrived to my house a day late. This would be totally fine if my package didn’t contain edible items. The ice packs and meat were warm and the bags the ingredients came in were soggy. I was fortunately able to salvage one of the vegetarian meals, which was quite delicious. Anyway, I was still annoyed. Again, they credited my account.

This brings me to this week. My shipment date was set for Tuesday, because I figured FedEx preferred to deliver to our house on that day? I don’t know? Mondays were troublesome, so I figured Tuesdays worked out better for all involved. I had given HelloFresh the benefit of the doubt, as the delivery issues were truly the fault of FedEx. If HelloFresh had forgotten to actually send the meals, that would have been another issue and I would have canceled immediately.

This week, the box arrived on time as planned, and I was elated. No worries. Supper for the week had arrived. It is Thursday when I’m typing this, so I cooked the third out of the four meals sent—“One pot chicken sausage and kale soup.”

I was looking forward to this meal since I chose it three weeks prior.

After prep and cooking for 45 minutes, the meal was complete. I was ready to savor the flavors of that chicken sausage ecstasy. However, when I stirred the stew before serving, something…… something caught my eye ball. I had been seconds away from placing the liquid decadence into bowls for us.

I grabbed this half-inch long hard, tan, rigid unidentified object from the pot and placed it on a paper towel for inspection. I tried really hard to come up with an excuse for what it could be. Could it have been a piece of the stalk from the kale? Maybe it was a misshapen piece of couscous. I was brainstorming and trying really hard to think of an excuse, because I really freaking loved HelloFresh.

Then after realizing exactly what it was, I started to cry for approximately 10 minutes. I was disappointed in the company, and I was pissed I spent nearly an hour preparing the food. I also had little to nothing in my fridge as a backup option. I’m also 35+ weeks pregnant, so that could have had something to do with the hormonal takeover.

It was a maggot. An actual maggot was in the soup. Maggot. Soup.

I was trying to figure out the source from where it came. It had to have been in the dried package of couscous, right? I didn’t see the bug anywhere during prep. I am still SO CONFUSED and disgusted.

Shout out to their customer service for always being top notch, though. She said how gross and embarrassing the situation was and fully refunded me for the box, the credits in my account, and the shipping I had paid. Needless to say, my subscription is CANCELED, and I will now use some of my now ‘free’ time to go to my favorite grocery store on the planet, Aldi.

To HelloFresh: Please step up your quality control game before some gets sick or sues you. And readers, please be aware of the food and ingredients you buy and cook. If I worked for HelloFresh, I would offer at least 3 months for free to try and reengage the customer. But, I don’t work for them.

Peanut Butter Predicament

I have shared this tale on my Facebook page, however, I’d like to share with the globe.

A couple of months ago, I went to County Market in Monticello to obtain some peanut butter. Yes, I am just calling out businesses this evening, because I think it’s necessary in these instances. I went to the store specifically to grab peanut butter because I had been devouring enough PB&Js to feed an entire kindergarten classroom for a week. This obsession has continued. I just finished eating one, actually.

When I got back to my abode from purchasing the peanut delight, I realized it had expired in June of 2019. I kept looking at the date to see if I was misreading the year. This meant the peanut butter had to have been sitting on the grocery store shelf for a minimum of nearly 2 years. When people buy peanut butter, I feel like it typically has an expiration date of at least 18 months in the future. Considering that, the peanut butter may have been on the shelf for nearly 3.5 years???

I went back to County Market with my receipt in one hand and the jar in another.

Me:  “Hello, yes, please check out this date. Quite gnarly I would say. I’ll swap it out.”

Worker: “Uhmm… yeah. That’s gross. Go ahead.”

So I moseyed over to the peanut butter aisle and scoped the selection. I grabbed another jar of the same thing I previously bought. It, too, had expired almost two years ago. I grabbed it so give to the worker. I looked at the jar behind it. I saw a date I didn’t want to believe….

M A Y  1,  2 0 1 6!

FIVE YEARS AGO. Following my previous formula, this means the peanut butter was likely sitting on this shelf for SIX AND A HALF (6.5) YEARS! Since I was a sophomore in college, this peanut butter was sitting on that shelf dying for someone to pick it up to enjoy. How lonely of a life it had.

Me: “Hi, yes, here’s another jar that expired in June of 2019. BUT LOOK AT THIS ONE,” I said while pointing to the ‘May0116’ on the lid. “PLEASE tell me that is fake.”

We both decided it wasn’t, and he got to work clearing the peanut butter shelf.

Lesson here:

  1. If you own a grocery store, figure it out. Check your dates and don’t sell food from biblical times.
  2. If you are the average Joe, check the damned expiration dates before purchasing to ensure you’re not about to consume something fossilized . Make sure your friends and family are doing the same.

Other ‘Woes’ from the First World

  • I ordered a cookie dough blizzard at DQ recently, and it had legitimately 2 pieces of cookie dough in it.
  • I spent an hour and a half at a store looking at shoes. I tried on two sizes. They need to make a 7 ¾ because I’m between a 7 ½ and an 8 in some shoes. Anyway, I ended up buying the shoes…. However, I grabbed the wrong size. Bummer.
  • I got a vaccine and my arm hurts.

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