The DietChef Thing: Day 21

Hey everyone.

Well wel, three weeks and counting. That is, three weeks since I started this blog, one more week to go of me yattering at you every night. Yes, I think four weeks of daily diatribes is definitely enough. However, twenty-eight days definitely isn't the end of my journey, just the end of the beginning, if I can use that turn of phrase, so I might post the occasional update on here, we'll see how I feel. Anyway, we've had another good day, so let's get to it.

My eyes do not want to open this morning. They grumble something about needing a raise. I grumble right back about being broke after yesterday's shopping and could we please get on with it? They finally drag themselves open and I drag myself up, with Karen's help.

We go through the morning routine, and as soon as I'm settled, Karen sorts out the food. Oh dear, birdfood for breakfast, original Granola. Oh well, at least it's not muisli, the ultimate birdfood. I've had this before and it's very edible. A nice lunch and oh, something new for supper, oh blah, I'll have to get to grips and cook rice! Oh well, boohoo! My portion of birdfood is soon mixed with my yogurt and I'm soon munching away. It's actually rather good.

A busy morning then commences. There are packages arriving thick and fast, new things need to be put away, tried out, sized up, other things need to be gotten out from storage, cleaned out and gotten ready for use at the end of the week. Before I know where I am it's lunchtime. Cream of Tomato soup, nom! I've had this before and it's nearly as good at Heinz! I heat it up. Trouble is I'm peckish but not really hungry. I sip it, it's tasty, but about halfway through the bowl my stomach tells me it has had enough. Noble husband finishes it for me. I have learned to listen to what my body says, and if it doesn't want any more food I'm hearing it this time! I do not, repeat not, want another repetition of the mushroom soup episode!

The afternoon is slightly less busy but I still have things to do. A survey comes from Dietchef. That's how they really spell it, I put in the extra capital because it looks neater to me and my screenreader then pronounces it properly. Anyway, an Email arrives from them with a link to an online survey. "Give it to us straight." They say. Ok, I think, if the survey is accessible, I will.

I click the link and it's fairly easy. It's one of these radio button jobs. Strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree etc. I fill in the set questions which I won't bother with here, they're the usual things about the customer service, delivery, quality of food etc, but I will tell you what comments I make in the free writing edit box labelled "Any other comments", you might find those interesting.

I say that overall I'm very impressed with the program, its good quality and ease of use, it's working for me and I want to stay on it. However, there are some areas that need work.

1. The lack of a telephone helpline makes customer services more stressful than it needs to be, especially for people who are not computer profficient or who have accessibility problems.

2. The overall quality of the food is good, but the dinners are in need of work as they can be very patchy. Some of the meals are so good that you would never know they were low calorie, some are of so poor a quality, no matter what your taste in food, that they are inedible.

3. The dispatch department needs to be drastically tightened up. I have experienced incorrect items being sent out, and in my research I have found I am far from alone. Sending incorrect items which then have to be exchanged at our own cost is very unacceptable at the price we pay for this program.

I read, when I have filled in my form, that the director of Dietchef reads the comments personally. Hmm, I might take that with a pinch of salt. Oh well, don't know what, if anything, will come of it, but they do seem keen to hear what people think, that's the second Email I've had asking for my thoughts.

It is, by this time, getting on for five-thirty. Time to cook that blasted rice! My bones give me a twinge of protest. Oh shut up, I tell them fiercely! Then I have a brainwave. I have about three more dishes that need rice. I'm allowed a quarter cup, or just under, so I'll cook a cup of rice and store the rest in the fridge, reheating it when I need it.

I can't get the rice bag to open. It's tough. My wonky hands won't work on it. I use the scissors only now my hands are shaking. Bag rips. Rice spills. I swear.

"Can't we have pizza?" whines whining winnie.

"No we bleddy well can't, now shut up!" snaps Lady willpower.

"Smeagol doesn't eat smelly grainses! No, precious!" hisses Gollum in my ear.

"Well neither do I usually, not for the last few years, now shut up the lot of you, I'm trying to concentrate!"

The internal house guests pipe down and I manage to fill a cup measure with rice, add it to a pot with two cups of water, a little salt, stir it, put it on the heat. Turn on burner. The wrong burner. Dash hang and triple bust it!

"Haven't they got any nice fisheses?"

"Shut. Up!"

The dang rice takes twenty minutes to cook, in which time I have to keep adjusting the temperature to make sure the pot's not boiling too hard. My bones hate me. They tell me loudly I'll be sorry for this in the morning. I tell them loudly I hate them right back and I'm sorry already! Why in hades couldn't DC give us rice with the meal, other people do!

Finally the rice is in a serving bowl. I put the tray of sweet and sour chicken, that's what we're having tonight, in the microwave. I set the timer. It pops and bangs all the way through its cooking. Towards the end it makes a really loud bang, loudest I've ever heard and I'm certain the container of food has exploded all over the inside of the oven. But it hasn't. I pick it up. It sloshes. Not a good sign. I bet it's mostly sauce.

I measure a quarter cup of rice into a deep noodle bowl. Add the contents of the tray, it's boiling, the red hot sauce burns my hand.

"We should have had nice fisheseseseses!" snickers gollum. He nearly got my dinner on his head.

First bite: This is a real shame. It's good, the sweet and sour sauce is just right, but this meal is all sauce, no substance. There's not much chicken, some tiny little bits of fresh pineapple and some tiny bits of crispy water chestnut and not much else I can find. All the calories have gone into the sauce. I really do not think DC do the oriental thing well at all. Apart from the hassle of having to cook accompaniments, they're cowardly with the spices, overdo the amount of sauce for the amount of rice you're allowed and stint on meat and vegetables. I'll have ample opportunity of proving this theory over the next few days, as I must eat chicken curry, beef rogan gosht and thai red chicken curry to finish off all that rice! I'm not expecting much from any of it.

So that's that. A pile of dishes and a load of mess, not to mention achy bones, and I'm hungry again in half an hour. Peh! The evening is a leisurely one, I help noble husband work out a problem he needs to solve, and look forward to snack time. Before I know where I am, my cup of tea is beside me and the lovely smell of caramel popcorn is filling the room. This definitely is my favorite type of popcorn, it smells even better than it tastes, the aroma lingers for ages after you've finished it.

So that's my day. Two more sleeps. Oh my gosh. I'll probably be even more busy and be even less hungry tomorrow. Goodnight everyone.

Food eaten today.

Breakfast: Original Granola, plain, no fat yogurt.

Lunch: Cream of Tomato Soup.

Dinner, Sweet and Sour Chicken, 60g rice.

Snack: Caramel Flavored Popcorn.

Drinks: Tea, no milk or sugar.

Bad? no.

Are you hungry? no.

Mood? Excited.

Music: Peter Hollins: I See Fire.