Friday, December 7, 2007

How To Feed Your Suburban Family

I don't like to cook. I'm not good at it. I can't look in the fridge and whip-up a wonderful meal. I am no Bree.

Even more importantly than my lack of cooking skills, is the fact that I would rater be outside playing with my kids in the afternoon. I used to bring the kids inside and plunk them down in front of the TV so that Mummy could cook dinner. That doesn't seem fair to anyone.

For years I wrestled with cooking good meals that cost me a ton in terms of money and wasted food every time I bought an ingredient that I only used once, calling for take-out that was laden with junky ingredients or going out to eat and paying a ton while eating at record speed before the kids got itchy. About five years ago I found a solution. Not a perfect solution, but one that works for now.

Once a month I would drive 45 minutes each way to one of those food preparation places. You've heard of them. You visit for 2 hours and prepare your meals for the month using their recipes, chopped ingredients and foil pans. All of my preparation for the month was done. Easy smeeshy.

Eventually I got a little queasy about the meals. Yes, they were easy. But, no they weren't too green. None of the ingredients were local or organic. The meat was getting a little dicey. I took a break.

After moving to Connecticut, I found a food preparation store that wasn't a chain. The owner buys all of her meat from a local butcher, lots of the veggies are organic and many are locally grown. The only drawback is that the store is located one hour away.

I tried this food preparation place even though it is a hike. And really love it!

Last month I chatted with an acquaintance, Amy, at library story time and she mentioned just how stressed dinner was making her. I of course talked up the food preparation store. She bit! We devised a plan where we would alternate months for picking-up the food and delivering it to the other person. Whoo hoo!

By "carpooling" our food, I am feeling a little less guilty about driving so far. Now, if we could just find a third mummy I would only have to make the trip four times a year. Any takers?

Last month Amy picked up the food and loved it. Today it is my turn to drive the two hours total to pick-up our meals. Tonight the family will be munching on freshly made chicken, black bean, spinach and chicken enchiladas. Much healthier than the pizza delivery that I would have ordered in the past.

Crisis in the suburbs averted. Dinner is done!


Erikka said...

what is a food preparation place...? I am not sure I've heard of these things, but am intrigued.

Gruppie Girl said...

There are lots of food preparation chains out there. Dream Dinners and Supper SUppers spring to mind.

Basically, you choose from their menu online, visit the location and create your meals using their ingredients and recipes. They do all of the clean-up for your.

You are done creating all of your meals for the month in two hours.

Personally, we take a break during the summer when we can get so many good foods at the farmer's market.