In 2019–2020, I was working with a team to redefine a meal kit service’s mobile experience. This was a super fun project, because we were reimagining what it would be like to use the app in someone’s kitchen to plan and cook the meals we were shipping, disassembled into their disparate ingredients, to people’s doors.

We were doing a bunch of iterative prototyping and testing by inviting folks to come to our culinary team’s test kitchen in Berlin and cook real recipes end to end. To make the logistics of this as easy as possible, we asked our distribution center to just send us a box with five “copies” of the same recipe each day of testing. Then we’d use that recipe as a reference for the prototype.

We learned so much from watching folks use our prototypes.

We also learned that when someone cooks a meal in your test kitchen, they’re super proud of it, and when someone’s super proud of something they’ve cooked, they want to share it with you.

That’s how I ended up eating chicken parmesan five times in one day.