In her comment on our freezer organization post, Christine mentioned she organizes a monthly dinner club devoted to swapping freezer meals. How could I possibly let this go uninvestigated?
I emailed Christine, and she was kind enough to reply with the details of how her freezer meal club works:
Our "Cook & Freeze Among Friends" dinner club meets once a month on a Saturday at noon. We prepare and freeze meals at home in aluminum pans, and then we meet to swap meals. Everyone who participates each month goes home with that many meals to store in their freezers.
You don't have to participate every month…so it works out great! I coordinate the club using a Facebook group. We figure out how many people are participating each month. That determines the number of meals each of us needs to make. For example, if five people are going to participate, you make five servings of your meal (that includes one for you). You then freeze it so it will keep well and be easy to transport.
We accomodate different families' food preferences and allergies, so that helps us narrow down what to cook.
We then decide the swap date by majority vote. We usually meet at a member's house, but if everyone's busy, we've also just met at a park or in a parking lot. I love this group!
I'm totally fascinated by the creative ways people collaborate on the work of running a household. Brings to mind quilting bees and barn-raisings.
Too often we feel we must tough it out by ourselves. We think we should be able to handle it all, or that we'll inconvenience others by proposing shared work, or that the planning itself is too much work.
But consider the benefits here, beyond the stocked freezer:
- A tangible way to help others
- An opportunity to introduce your family to new meals
- A money-saver when compared to take-out
- A chance to be social with actual grown-ups!
- A time-saver (making five pans of the same meal takes WAY less time than making five different meals)
- A sanity-saver (meals in the freezer is like money in the bank)
- A community-builder
I can't think of anyone who wouldn't want to be a part of that.
I'm inspired to think of other ways domestic jobs can be distributed among families, for the benefit of all.
Are you part of a dinner club, or some other job-sharing group? Tell us about it!
A practical aside: Christine buys lidded foil baking pans in bulk at a restaurant supply store for about $.30 each. But for smaller-scale cooking and freezing, I've had good luck with Glad disposable ovenware. It's sturdy, reusable, and readily available at the grocery store. If you keep your eyes open for coupons and sales, you can stock up relatively cheaply.