My freezer club started with a jar of homemade tomato sauce left on my doorstep. A friend of mine had messaged the girls group chat and said she’d just made a huge vat of veggie-filled passata but had way too much – would anyone else like some? Four of us said yes please.
I added Italian sausage and olives and cooked mine up that night into a tasty (and easy) bolognaise for dinner, had a glass of red wine and felt very relaxed that evening. It meant I didn’t have to go to the shops that day, and with a frenetic work day, a COB story deadline and Little Nerd to grab from daycare (with Mr Nerd away for work that night), I was grateful for one less thing to do. And I’m sure the other girls – each who had a kid and also juggled working or studying – felt the same. Sometimes just a little more time for yourself is really appreciated!
It made me think, wouldn’t it be convenient if that was a regular thing – friends cooking meals for each other, so that some nights, you didn’t have to cook at all, or just had to do some basic meal prep. It would definitely make some of those hectic days easier – especially now that a lot of my friends have a kid (or two) and also juggle a job out of the home, as well as other commitments. (Even without kids, who ISN’T time-poor these days when you factor in things like long traffic commutes, long working hours, exercise, study and social commitments?)
Could it work? I thought. How? Would the cook drop off the meal at each different family’s house on a different weekday of the week? That was my first thought before I immediately realised that would be WAY too hard to be sustainable.
What if everyone cooked a big bulk meal that could be frozen, divided it into portions, and then we all met in one place like a café or someone’s house and swapped meals, so each person left with a number of different, healthy meals? A freezer food club.
I don’t know about you guys, but almost every time I decide to cook something in bulk to save time – so we can eat leftovers over the next few days – by the time the meal is finished, I am SO bored and tired of eating same thing. We naturally crave variety. But say you could get six or seven people involved – generally speaking, it would be easier and cheaper to buy ingredients for one big batch meal and less time-consuming to cook it and divvy it up into seven portions, than it would be to buy ingredients for and cook seven smaller different meals.
Of course, once I jumped online to research ideas for big batch freezer cooking, I found out that freezer clubs were not an original idea in the slightest. I quickly discovered that the Americans (of course!) had been doing this dorky yet extremely practical idea for years and years. There were whole blogs dedicated to freezer clubs and freezer cooking written by super-efficient, slightly intimidating American mums who raved about how much time it saved them as they schlepped their 16 kids between soccer practice and ballet – and woah, had some of these mums gotten it down pat, with military-style organisation and precision. Some of the bloggers posted about how their freezer club members worked out the nutritional values of each meal, and at meetings they passed around score sheets so the club members could rate each other’s meals and give feedback on how they could improve and what they wanted to eat again (and what they definitely didn’t!)
That kind of freezer club sounded a little too intense for my liking and I knew the other girls in the group would feel the same! But it didn’t mean we couldn’t try a more casual version. So I pitched the idea to them and almost all were keen to give it a go. We decided to trial it for three months. And it turned out to be fun!