06 March 2011

"Once-a-Month Cooking" by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg

Once-a-Month Cooking: Revised and Expanded: A Proven System for Spending Less Time in the Kitchen and Enjoying Delicious, Homemade Meals Every DayOnce-a-Month Cooking: Revised and Expanded: A Proven System for Spending Less Time in the Kitchen and Enjoying Delicious, Homemade Meals Every Day by Mary-Beth Lagerborg


Genre: cookbook
On my TBR list?: No

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If you've read any blogs about parenting or homemaking, then you've probably run into the concept of batch cooking. As far as I know, these authors are the originators; the first edition of Once-a-Month Cooking was published in 1986. The basic idea is to do one big shop for all the food items you'll need for a month, and then the next day you spend about eight hours cooking and freezing dishes. You group similar tasks together, such as browning all the ground beef and then dividing it among the different dishes that call for it. Then the rest of the month you just pull a bag out of the freezer, thaw, and cook.

I read the first version of this book years ago when I was a newlywed. I took the whole plan on faith, cooked every recipe, and hated it. Many of the recipes tasted good to me when fresh but awful when reheated. In hindsight, they probably weren't that bad, but ABM and I ate out several nights a week so I was a lot pickier about my food.

It is now 20 years later and with four kids and a job (and the lower standards that come with them!), I thought it might be time to try a newer edition of the book. Dinner has become a real sticking point around here; no one wants to cook so we all end up living on the quickest thing we can warm up, like ramen or French fries. Being able to pull something out of the freezer and heat it up sounds like a dream, no matter how it tastes. After flipping through the book, however, I could tell that most of the recipes for dishes that my kids wouldn't touch.

All is not lost, though. The benefit of this book is that is gives you the idea of what types of foods and recipes freeze well. For instance, I never thought of freezing the chicken breast in the marinade. I didn't like many of the marinade recipes in the book, but now I know that I can use my own. Also, I think for my time and budget, even the two-week plan is a bit much. I would take maybe two hours on a Saturday and do only beef recipes, then the next Saturday do only chicken recipes.

Bottom line: I would say take a look at this book for the methods, but not necessarily the recipes.



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