Sunday, October 30, 2016

What REAL Freezer Meal "Cooking Days" Look Like

You may have seen great websites like Stock Piling Moms that show beautiful smiling women who have successfully prepared multiple meals in just a short period of time. Well, I did, and I got sucked in. In my ever-so-positive world, I envisioned Bart and I sitting together simultaneously doing his favorite thing -- cooking -- with smiles on our faces and our very engaged children and grandchildren participating with joy.

So, now I'm going to show you what I would put on their site IF they allowed imperfection and reality on the site. Yes, it is true. We did make 20 meals in less than 4 hours (if you don't count preparing, shopping, etc.) And it wasn't a completely horrible experience. But this is how it really went.

The night before the "event" Bart and I had bought some of the meat and I had made a list of the recipes. Instead of writing on Zip Lock Bags, he decided that we would print labels for the bags, instantly making us cooler than the "stockpiling moms" chicks. So we took the cooking instructions and made labels and we even made a ratings sheet to put on the fridge to put the date when we would eat the meal and if we liked it or not (Also making us cooler).

I also prepared the children. Wilson needed to earn a lot of money for his phone bill, Dominyk wanted a favor, and Gabby always is up for anything if it involves me and grandpa. So I had my crew. I told them we would start at 11.

At 11, Bart was home with all of the groceries and in the office making labels. Gabby helped me get the groceries out of the car and we organized the items on the table. Then Bart helped us find the ingredients that were already in our cupboards and then he said he was "feeling off" and went to read a book in the bedroom. Gabby and I looked at each other, the stack of 20 recipes I had printed, and the large assortment of ingredients and sighed.

I texted Dominyk and Wilson and by 11:45 they had appeared. I sat in my chair and we began. Bart came through on his way to changing laundry and I asked him to take a picture. He vetoed my idea to follow the instructions on the site and said I should just go one recipe at a time so I didn't confuse anyone. Check this out. Am I completely NOT like the perfect people on the website? I didn't even comb my hair! And Wilson and Dominyk were less than thrilled to pose. Fortunately, though, Gabby is always up for being in a picture and she had the perfect shirt on!

3 hours and 37 minutes of chopping, measuring, etc. Wilson became the meat guy -- he was very careful to wash his hands between meats. Then he helped me chop. Dominyk helped measure, and Gabby was the fetcher. Surprisingly we had a good rhythm going. Dominyk lasted an hour and 20 minutes. Wilson made it through the whole time (but did I mention he was being paid?)

At that point I decided to send Dominyk to get lunch for us. This was a fiasco that would be traumatizing to recall in detail, but let's just say unmedicated agitated young men should NOT go get lunch if the person behind the counter doesn't know what they are doing.

So, in the midst of Dominyk obsessing about the fast food joint and the person behind the counter, we attempted to cook meals and supervise a quite active two year old who insisted on racing his cars on the table. At one point he escaped from the house and ended up the street riding his trike, but I'm not going to print that. :-)

When the last bag made it to the freezer, I forced them to help clean up, Wilson is the only one I could force to be in the last picture because he was being paid....

How much did we spend? I think we're supposed to tell you that. But I lost the stupid receipt. I know Bart spent about $200, but he bought Halloween Candy and frozen pizzas for the kids so it may have been closer to $175, plus the meat the day before, plus the stuff in the pantry that we already had, so honestly, I have no clue.

At the end of the day I was super tired. I had chopped more things in one day that I have ever chopped. My muscles hurt. My shoulders and neck ached.

It didn't turn out anything like I planned. This was going to be Bart and I enjoying some time together... But it didn't end horribly either. I just didn't realize I would be that tired.

In fact, the after pic shows what EVERY after picture should look like. Wilson so done that he refused to look at the camera. Me so tired I'm about to fall off the chair.....

When we were done at the end of the 3 hours and 37 minutes, we had 20 meals in the freezer. We decided to do these twenty meals if you're interested. I'll let you know if they taste like crap.

But this, my friends, is what REAL freezer meal "cooking days" look like.


AnnMarie said...

I have always loved the *idea* of freezer cooking days...but have been afraid of it being more like what you described! Except worse, because my kids couldn't even be that helpful. ::sigh:: But maybe I should try it with Maggie--she always seems to need to earn some money!

Claudia said...

In retrospect, I would recommend only a kid or two. Dominyk was only helpful for a bit -- and Gabby did it as well a a six year old kid can. But I would definitely not ever do this with an oppositional kid -- a mature, compliant, desperate kid in need of money worked perfectly. Wilson did great and I think that we probably could have done it almost as fast without the other's help.