Martha Stewart does it all. A pioneer in the lifestyle space, she has a magazine and plenty of cookbooks to her name; she even has a hit cooking show with hip-hop artist, Snoop Dogg. Perhaps most impressively, Stewart recently figured out a way to box and sell her essence. Her latest venture, Martha & Marley Spoon, is a weekly meal subscription service that blesses us mere mortals with recipes and prepackaged ingredients straight from the entertaining goddess herself. Recently, Stewart took things to the next level with the debut of her Dinner Party Box. This new meal kit delivery concept is available for one-off purchase, with no prior subscription membership necessary, and promises to deliver just as its title suggests: a pre-prepped, boxed, and shipped Martha Stewart-quality dinner party spread that's ready in just two hours time.
As someone who's tried out meal subscriptions in the past — and ended up deviating from recipe cards, excluding ingredients, and skipping ahead on steps to get it over with — a dinner party in a box originally sounded like more trouble than it was worth. But admittedly, the concept felt different enough from the usual meal services that it still intrigued me. I tend to wing my solo weeknight cooking, so planning for a well-executed group dining occasion was unchartered territory. Not to mention the all-inclusive, upfront price-tag could conceivably save me from not buying enough ingredients or going over budget. (The boxes cost $78 for a party of four or $148 for a party of eight.) I chose Martha's Fiesta Box for four and invited a few guests (a.k.a. my roommates) for a Wednesday evening affair. Ahead, find out if the work (and price) is worth the reward — and if it's actually possible to pack Martha Stewart's cooking prowess into a box.