Where would my children be without Boojum? Probably in McDonalds, Burgerking, KFC or Nando's. I'm no better. My very guilty pleasures are burgers and fried chicken. If I couldn't have them I'd be sticking my face into a Black Forest gateau or jumping into a vat of beer to achieve the same hedonistic kicks.
Fast foods are the height of gratification and we abandon all sense of adult responsibility when we bite into a Whopper with cheese meal or a Big Mac, or my favourite guilty pleasure, the Zinger burger.
But Boojum is different. It has all the primary, cartoon colours and cool Mexican-inspired graphics in its branding, something essential to its draw and the delivery point is quick, friendly and upbeat. It's also cheap. But where it differs from the others is in its focus on wholesomeness. Fresh, raw vegetables, tasty pulses, spiced peppers and onions and slow cooked meats with an abundance of quality rice, all appear sound to me.
So for the past number of years, the advisor and I have tolerated the runs to Botanic Avenue to get into the queues for the veggie bowls, burritos, tacos, salads (rarely) and whatever else we've been requested to bring back. Even though both of the daughters drive, I still find myself suckered into doing the Boojum run.
So imagine my delight and relief when Boojum announced they were delivering home packs of meals for four. Boojum at Home kicked off two weeks ago with a set of fajitas for £24 including delivery. But would all the components we are used to seeing when we make it to the serving counter be there? As far as we could see all was present and correct. The green salsa, the small tortillas, the tomatoes, sour cream, grated cheeses, jalapenos, peppers and pickled pink onions were in abundance as was the barbecued chicken and the Mexican flavoured rice.
Heating things up to the right levels was a doddle and quite fun. Cooking somebody else's food creates an unexpected and mysterious connection with the anonymous chef. It's almost like wearing somebody else's clothes for a short while giving you a mildly uncomfortable insight into their soul.
But this is a very minor discomfort when all is ready and placed on the table for a sharing meal. Flavours are as pronounced and assertive as the original. In fact they may even gain something from their second cooking in the house.
Putting the tacos together was a pleasure, the shared exercise of everyone doing the same thing creating a warm glow of togetherness (I can hear the children retching from here) for the meal's duration.
And because we are at home, there is a lively debate as to what to drink with this Europeanised Mexican street food. It's far too easy to reach for the Dos Equis or the Coronas but in the absence of any Mexican wine I open a bottle of Herdade do Esporao Private Selection (from Direct Wine Shipments), a rare enough Semillon in Portugal let alone Alentejo. There's a creaminess to it which works well with the high spicy tones of the chillies in the salsas.
We look back on the Boojum dinner kit experience as an oddly and unexpectedly successful hybrid. Boojum is a sit-down restaurant as much as it is a takeaway like any other fast food place. It's functional rather than aspirational. The food is the thing here, not the mood. So would we be better just getting a takeaway that's fully cooked with no added faff or is the interaction with the kit adding to the experience?
Personally, the kit works for me in that it satisfies my need to do something in the kitchen. It alleviates the guilt of a sitting down to a big ignorant takeaway where the only interaction has been to take the stuff out of the plastic tubs. But there is a distinct upgrade in the textures and flavours too. So in conclusion: with the Boojum kit you have something wholesome to eat and some kitchen action before dinner is served. We loved it.
Boojum fajitas for four £19.99