Dinners and daylight

Quitting Blue Apron and wishing for more daylight year-round

Several months ago, a friend of mine who's also a busy working mom turned me onto a food-subscription service called Blue Apron. Making dinner had become a time-consuming chore, and the online service made it a lot easier. I picked the meal plan that worked for my family and the service mailed me a box with three recipes each week, along with all the fresh ingredients to put them together.

I loved it at first. I got to skip my mid-week grocery shopping trips, and I didn't have to scour the Internet for new recipes. My husband and I could come straight home and get in the kitchen with everything we needed. The meals still required a lot of prep (so much chopping and dicing), but they certainly made life easier. Overall, the dinners were tasty. Some excellent. Most really good. A few just so-so.

The quality was spotty at times (moldy garlic, wilted peppers, a missing ingredient). I overlooked those things for several months, though, because the convenience made it worth it. But what really started to bother me was that I wasn't picking out my own vegetables; I had no idea where they'd come from. Furthermore, my husband and I made fewer trips to the local farmers' markets to pick up produce, which had always been a weekly ritual for us.

So, I quit the delivery service. If only a Butte County company would source local ingredients and put something similar together. We'd be all over it.

What I'd also be in support of is making daylight saving time year-round. Hear me out here. I love seeing the red and golden hues of the tree-lined Esplanade and taking brisk bike rides through Lower Park. What's really depressing, however, is that I can do that only on the weekends this time of year because it's already dark by the time I leave the office.

A few states—Hawaii and Arizona—already eschew the twice-yearly time change. Hawaii never observed it and Arizona switched back to standard time throughout the year nearly 50 years ago.

Daylight saving time was first enacted in the U.S. after World War I, as a way to conserve coal. It was widely adopted here in the 1960s. The idea was that the later the sunset, the less energy consumption in the home. But experts say that theory hasn't panned out. In fact, since daylight savings encourages more evening travel and entertainment, some argue it results in greater energy usage. Still, supporters argue that having longer days is safer, since crime generally happens at night.

There are several online petitions asking Congress to do away with daylight saving time entirely. States are able to opt out. A dozen are now considering doing so. California isn't one of them, but here's hoping our legislators eventually do something about this antiquated practice and simply keep the clock forward year-round (we're already observing daylight savings two-thirds of the year).

Lastly, I want to thank everyone who contributed to the Chico News & Review Foundation—CN&R's nonprofit arm dedicated to investigative reporting—during the annual Annie B's drive. With the additional $1,100-plus in donations, we're one step closer to launching this effort. More news on that front next week.