Well, I figure if you are reading this, you are seriously interested in freezer cooking. I like to call it that rather than “Once A Month” cooking, because it is a little more accurate.
I first learned about the method of Once A Month Cooking while I was online one day. Intrigued, I went so far as to purchase a book on the subject, thinking that I could do some research before I actually tried it on my own.
I have to admit, what I read was pretty impressive. It seemed that the women who did OAMC were able to feed their family of eight on about $65 a month. “Wow,” I thought to myself, “wouldn’t that be great!” They also claimed to be able to cook everything in one day, leaving time during the month for crafting projects, sewing, and saving humanity, among other things. My motivation was that I get too tired to cook every day, and I wanted some way out of it.
First, I made my menu and went to the grocery store. I spent about $400. There are five people in our family. I about died. I thought I was only going to spend $65! At this point, my heart started racing, my chest started to tighten, and I began sweating. I was definitely having second thoughts about this thing.
By the time I got home, I was so tired and stressed out about spending $400 all at once, that I just looked at all the groceries in my kitchen and went to bed. The next day was going to be cooking day, and, according to my research, cooking day seemed to be a 6 hour thing. No problem. I neglected to register the part that you should ALWAYS chop and do a little cooking the night before.
The next day, I started cooking at eight in the morning. At eight that evening, I was still cooking. I really, really, really wanted to cry. Really. At eleven that night, I was almost done. At midnight, I was sweeping my floor. At that point, I was crying! I went back and read the book I bought. It stated only that cooking day might take a little longer than six hours. I decided that maybe I would never do this again.
During the month, as I took out my frozen meals every day, I realized how great it was not to have to cook every night. I didn’t take that extra time to save humanity, but I did actually get to read part of a chapter of a book! We didn’t go out to eat as much because if I was too tired to cook, I could just heat something up. Still, as meals in the freezer depleted, I started having anxiety about the next cooking day. I did not want to do it. I REALLY didn’t want to do it. But, I decided to suck it up and try one more time. What a totally different experience!
First of all, I chopped and cooked some chicken the night before. Then, the next day, things just seemed to go more smoothly. I ended up being done in 4 hours. I thought maybe I was doing something wrong, but we didn’t have any problems that month. One thing I think was better the second time was that I used my own recipes instead of someone else’s, and I didn’t measure so much (I hate measuring!).
So, give it a try. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but I think the benefits definitely outweigh the trauma of cooking day. Don’t forget, it’s REALLY hard the first time, but after that it gets easier, and it sure is great to have time in the afternoon to enjoy my children rather than worry about what I’m going to feed them!