I was diagnosed with an allergy to wheat and rye almost four years ago. You might think that would result in preparing more home-cooked meals and brown-bag lunches, but to be honest, I seldom cook (my tiny studio apartment renders it nearly impossible). Instead, I often turn to a select few gluten-free restaurants on Seamless, and I'll be the first to admit that after a while it can get old.
I have no qualms with following a recipe, but my lack of culinary experience stems from the frustration I feel seeing leftover ingredients go to waste. So when I heard about DICED, a new gluten-free meal delivery service with rationed ingredients and illustrated recipe cards with step-by-step instructions, I was the first to raise my hand and give it a test-drive.
DICED founder Tinsley Meloy was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2008, and soon came to realize the challenges gluten-free eaters face. “I would spend hours reading recipes, looking through blogs, calling manufacturers to see if their products were gluten-free, and then grocery shopping," she tells me. "By the time I did all of that I was too exhausted to cook, so I typically had a bowl of gluten-free cereal and called it a day.” And so she created DICED to help make the gluten-free world easier to navigate. Currently delivering meals to New York City's five boroughs, plus Long Island, Westchester, Northern New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut, the service is expected to expand farther north and to Philadelphia and Virginia within months.
The recipe that piqued my interest in particular was "Take Out Style Chicken and Broccoli with White Rice." As most gluten-intolerant people well know, soy sauce—a common ingredient in Chinese dishes—contains gluten. And soy sauce is on, well, pretty much everything. After receiving a small cardboard box with all the necessities inside, I got started on my meal. To my delight, it only took 25 minutes to complete, from start to finish. And it was perfect for a novice chef like myself: All it involved was cutting the pre-rationed veggies and protein and making the sauce while the rice cooked on the stove. As for my much-missed soy sauce, in my kit I received gluten-free soy sauce and other ingredients like ground ginger, sesame oil, and honey to mix in it. The result was a delicious gluten-free version that mimicked my favorite dish at my neighborhood Chinese restaurant.
But the best part? The portions were generous enough for a leftovers the next day, saving me from another round of cooking and dishes. I'll get on board with that.