Springwise, a "daily fix of entrepreneurial ideas" shows us Destination Dinners, which makes "cooking authentic dishes from around the world fun, easy and educational." For $25 or $30, you get "pre-measured hard to find spices, sauces and dried ingredients, preparation instructions, shopping list for fresh items and trivia about the destination."
Plus a lot of plastic.
It is an interesting idea; learning how to cook new and different foods is often intimidating, and buying exotic spices can be very expensive. It might be a good introduction to for people who have not tried cooking more "exotic" foods.
A lot of people are afraid of entertaining at home, and this could be a real ice-breaker. Destination Dinners even sells eco-kits with all of the tablewear that you would need to serve your dinner.
On the other hand, there is a lot of packaging. And, you don't even necessarily get the main ingredient; if you order the Japanese dish, the Black Cod in Miso Marinade, you still have to buy the fish and the sake. This is going to get really expensive as a dinner for four. And how much do a few felafels cost at the neighbourhood joint? A lot less than this kit would.
It also is a good rule never to try something for the first time with guests, and instead to test it first so that you get it right. These only come in servings for four.
At Planet Green, Kelly ran a series on how to stock your kitchen for various kinds of cooking, complete with PDFs you can take to the store. Is doing that and getting that and a good recipe a better approach? See:
Cooking Basics: Stocking Your Kitchen
Stock Your Kitchen Part 2: Chinese Cooking
Stock your Kitchen Part 3: Thai Cooking
I am conflicted; anything that encourages people to cook at home and try new things should be encouraged. But is Destination Dinners better than a trip to the ethnic grocery?