If you’re anything like me, deciding what to cook every day is something of a chore. Nutritious, easy to prepare, and delicious is what I aim for, but I don’t always crack it. This is where Real Food comes in – Zimbabwe’s first recipe box scheme.
Sign up and all you have to do is let them know by Sunday evening whether you want a box in the coming week and bam, three of your meals are taken care of. You get all the ingredients for two people, and the recipes telling you how to cook with them for $36 a week. The order is done simply online, with payment options for everyone: cash on delivery, MyCash, ZIPIT Transfer, and RTGS. The fact that they source their ingredients as locally as possible (organic if they can) was definitely another plus for me.
Delivered on Tuesday between 12noon and 4pm, the box arrived with three bags – one for each of the meals. My fridge wasn’t quite large enough to fit the bags as delivered, but the packets of pre-measured ingredients had thoughtfully been colour-coded to the recipes so I would know what was for what – important if you want to get the right spice in the right dish.
Though possibly a little on the light side for a main meal, the recipes that I made were pretty straightforward: a vegetarian chilli, cheesy stuffed tomatoes, and a goat’s cheese salad. Suggestions of what meat to add to each meal are included if you are a meat eater. Each recipe is created especially for the scheme, is clear and easy to follow, and is tested by Real Food’s Chef Tendai. Customers are urged to prepare their meals within four days of delivery, as ingredients are mainly fresh, without preservatives or additives.
Recipe Box schemes are nothing new but this is the first one in Zimbabwe. Now six months old, Real Food has over 250 members on its books with 20–50 of those ordering each week. “We have delivered the makings of 1,300 meals to date,” says Jules Costa, one of the two founders behind the venture.
When I met with Costa and co-founder Kate Worsley-Worswick, there was no doubt that the pair are passionate about what they do. While neither has experience in the food sector, Costa says, “We are entrepreneurs and we strive to learn everything we can in all relevant areas to make our business a success. We ARE the customer – which is how we saw the need for what we provide as a valuable service in Zimbabwe.” Currently the two are involved in the sourcing of ingredients from local suppliers, creating recipes, packaging, marketing, accounting, selling, and everything in between. They’ve employed two delivery guys to help with getting the boxes out on time.
They are also running a pilot project at St Joseph’s Boys as part of their social mission. Called ‘Orphan Grown’, the project has led to the planting of an organic hay bale garden with the boys and volunteers. Vegetables in excess of the boys’ needs are bought back by Real Food and integrated into the recipe scheme. “We are working with Urban Farming Zimbabwe to create an educational video and model which can be transplanted to other orphanages around Zimbabwe,” explains Costa. “Our intention is to teach and breed self-sustainability and uplift community and we hope this will be one of the ways we can do so.”
If you need more convincing to try a box, take a look at their Instagram account @realfoodzim and be inspired!
Image: A delicious meal prepared using a Real Food recipe and ingredients.