Sunday, October 14, 2012

Why I Spent the Weekend Reliving The Torture of Childbirth (or, My Attempt At Once A Month Cooking)

Before having kids, if I started a sentence with “Hey, I’ve got this craaaaazy idea …” chances are good it was an enticement to actually do something crazy. Or, you know, something at least moderately interesting. This is how I spent 6 months in Southeast Asia, this is how I planned a bachelorette party at a strip club, and hell, this is even how I won a “Win Your Wedding” contest before Jamie & I were even engaged yet. So not, like, ridonkulously crazy, but at a minimum, fun.

Fast-forward a few years to a conversation I recently had with a friend:

Me: Hey, so I’ve got this craaaaazy idea ….. would you be interested in trying Once A Month Meal Cooking with me? Its where you spend an entire day …
Carmen: I’m in.

Ok, so the conversation may have been a bit longer than that but you get the general jist. Carmen was DTC: Down To Cook. And we were both DFALCIAMAHP: Down For As Little Cooking In A Month As Humanly Possible.

Thanks to a site called Once A Month Mom, our dreams were about to be realized. We were provided (free-of-charge, if you use the stuff posted from 2011 or older) with a menu, grocery list, and prep plan for 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 6 dinners that could then be doubled and frozen, effectively handling half of your cooking days for the month. And since I usually spend the other half of the month in a wine-induced coma, I was all Done! This. Will. Be. Awesome.

Two nights ago Carmen and I found ourselves stumbling through Costco, filling our cart and checking our lists (twice. We were like goddamned Santa Claus) along with about 137 elderly couples. Clearly Costco is “the” place to be on a Friday night, y’all.  

We rolled up and down the aisles, hoisting sacks of potatoes and onions as big as small children, struggling with the metric system at every turn. “So, if there are 8 oz. in a cup, and we need 240 oz. total for the recipies, then that means we need ….. Wait! Fuck! The cans are in millilitres! Retreat! Retreat!”. 

A quick stop at Wal-Mart to buy the remaining groceries (and maybe a pair of snazzy slacks), and we were $647 poorer, headed for home with a car full of groceries, hope and dreams.
There was also a dead body or two hiding underneath all that, but who's counting?

At home, the dry goods took up the better part of my large kitchen table:
Salty canned goodness
Please note my anal-retentiveness and need for all the labels to be facing out:
That wine was just for Carmen

We decided to begin “just a bit” of the prep work that night, to save us time enough the next day to bask in our respective glories at having just pumped out almost a month’s worth of meals.

At 11:20pm we finally stopped, and may or may not have peed ourselves in terror at the realization of the amount of work ahead of us the next day. My fridge peed itself in terror at the realization that it might actually be full for once.
The following morning, I lost one of my children in the pile of cans on the table:
What breakfast is like in a Hoarder's Home
and then the dads took the kids off into the fall sunshine, while Carmen and I began our work at 9am sharp. 

And we ended 12 hours later. 

There will be NO mothereffing vampires in THIS house

Wine, top-right. Time, 9:02 am
We took a four minute break for lunch (I wish I was joking), and a one hour break for children’s bedtimes but other than that, from 9am – 9pm we chopped and baked and cooked and cried. And drank wine. And cried some more. And drank more wine.

And no, you did not misread. There was no dinner break for either Carmen or myself. How ironic.

Here’s the thing, though: at the end of it all, we actually had chest freezers full of surprisingly delicious, seasonal meals cooked and ready for our families to devour at a later date:
Pumpkin Black Bean Tamale Pie, Pumpkin Loaf, and Chai Muffins. Its a damned fall harvest.
Untitled-1*for a full list and recipes of what we cooked, head over to*
And, better yet, we won’t have to do anything much harder than throwing pans into an oven for over half our meals this upcoming month. So it bears asking: was it worth it?

While we’ve only eaten the cream cheese pumpkin loaf so far at my house (give me a break, I just finished cooking last night), it was
And Carmen texted me this morning to say that her family tried the sundried tomato, goat cheese and basil frittata for breakfast and loved it. So thus far, the recipes are a hit and we’re thinking most of the rest will be, too.

If you’re thinking about trying Once A Month Cooking, here’s how I’m going to explain it to you:

It will be like childbirth.

Like childbirth?

Yes. Like childbirth.

You will start the day off in nervous-yet-excited anticipation, not quite sure what’s to come and just praying you don’t poop.

Midway through you’ll be crying and screaming, “I can’t go on! I can’t go on! It’s not possible! WHY didn’t I take the drugs? WHY?”.

Near the end you will simply bear down and get ‘er done because, well, its not going to happen any other way.

And then, mere minutes after it’s completion you will sit back, hushed and in awe of yourself, your body, and all that you can accomplish when you just set your mind to it.

So is it worth it? Yes.

Well, probably. No wait … yes. Yes. I think.

Let me get back to you in a month.


  1. Looks awesome! I can't wait to hear which meals you liked - I have been wanting to do this for a while, but haven't had the guts yet :)

    Was the $647 divided in 2, or was that your share?

    1. Morgan, that was the total cost between the two of us. :) So my cost was about $325. Pretty good, no?

    2. That is awesome! Can't wait to hear how the kiddos like the meals. Sounds like a great idea!

  2. Looks delicious!! What a genius idea! I might have to do that one of these days. Once you say whether or not it was really worth it!

    And on a completely unrelated note- I ADORE your dining room table! Where did you get it?

    1. Nicole, I'll definitely update in a future post so anyone who's interested about OAMC can decide for themselves. :) As for my kitchen table, our old neighbor sells it (and other types of furniture) at sales around the city. If you're interested in his contact info, send me an email .... It was reasonably priced, that's form sure, and the wood is rock hard so absolutely no dents, scratches or anything else!

  3. I want an update on how it went and how you liked the meals!

    1. I'll have an official update in the next week, but I have to say ... so far its been pretty worth it. Seriously.


Related Posts with Thumbnails