It was a dreary Monday October evening. The sky was gray and rain was
falling against the windows. Five-thirty had rolled around quicker then
I had expected. I had no dinner on the table, and no plans to cook that
night. Was I worried? No way. I knew that in about a half hour, a warm,
home cooked meal would be delivered for my family to enjoy.
No, (you may ask), I am not wealthy. I have not hired a caterer. In
fact, my meals on wheels, so to say, are delivered every Monday through
Wednesday, every week, on time. Like clockwork, they come. Hot, fresh,
ready to eat.
My Kitchen counters stay clean, and my family and I enjoy wonderful
recipes like meatballs and sausage with oriental slaw salad, or breakfast
casserole with applesauce. My discovery? Meals on wheels-girlfriend
I am not a miracle worker, I am not rich, and I am not even a chef. I
am a mom, who happens to know 3 other moms who live life as hectically
as I do. We are girlfriends who desired to share our load, and grow in
our friendships. Together, we share the cooking responsibility for our
It all started about a year ago when my dear friend, Carla, approached
me about forming a cooking co-op with her and 2 other girlfriends. So
Carla, Amy, Audrey and I got together to discuss the possibilities. It
almost sounded surreal at first, but we decided to give it a try for 3
At a cozy table in a local Applebee's, we met to plan our meals. Over
cold glasses of iced tea, we discussed what meals would work best for
our families. With recipe cards in hand, we planned 3 months worth of
meals. We each picked a day to cook, and later, printed 3 months of menu
calendars for each of us to have.
Our family sizes are also a good fit. We each have 3-4 children from 8
years old to 10 months old. And tastes? Well, let's just say that with
preschoolers around, it is always a hit or miss with what they will eat
or turn their noses up at.
As mothers of preschoolers, we all knew that some recipes will just
work better; like macaroni and cheese or baked spaghetti. But we decided
not to limit ourselves only to kid-friendly meals. We also cook for each
other and our husbands. So some recipes include Swedish meatballs or
What we do is cook and deliver 2 dishes for each meal; a main dish and
one side or dessert. Then, each mom is able to add another kid friendly
(easy) side dish (like applesauce or bread) on her own. That way, we
can tailor each meal to fit our family's individual tastes. I prepare 4
meals for Thursday night supper, and deliver 3 to my girlfriends. (One,
I keep for my own family.) I actually cook Wednesday evenings after
supper, and deliver (kid free) later that night (around 8:30 pm).
With only about 2 hours worth of work, and no additional costs, I have
4 nights of hassle free supper, courtesy of meals on wheels-girlfriend
Nine months have passed, and we have fine tuned our menus. The kinks
seem to be working themselves out, and we are definitely into a rhythm.
Most importantly, we have found that in sharing the chore of cooking
for our families, we have also shared in the joys of our friendships.
Together, we can go farther then any one of us can go alone.
Other Suggestions For Starting Your Own Cooking Co-Op
1. Ask a few close friends to pursue the co-op (Choose friends with
families around the same size as yours, with similar tastes and lifestyles).
2. Ask friends that live near by so delivery is not an added burden.
3. Choose recipes to start with that are family favorites and kid
4. Purchase inexpensive, glass baking dishes and Ziploc containers to
share meals. Do not expect to get the exact dishes back you sent out.
5. Be honest about what meals your family liked and did not like to
decide which ones to repeat.
6. Buy in bulk for your meals, and try to budget recipes so you don't
make 2 expensive ones in a row (i.e. pot roast is more expensive then pizza
7. For more information on starting your own cooking co-op, including a
FREE e-mail newsletter, visit Trish's website at http://www.trishberg.com.
Trish Berg is a freelance writer, published author and inspirational
Christian speaker. Through her writing and speaking engagements, Trish is
“Celebrating motherhood and marriage, and teaching women how to walk
with confidence in faith as they travel life’s journey.” She has
published over fourteen articles and inspirational messages for ministries like
MOPS International, and is currently working on publishing her first
book. Trish and her husband, Michael, live on a 200 acre family polled
Hereford farm in the heart of Ohio, near Amish country. She is a
stay-at-home-mom with four children, part-time college professor, and is now
following her dream of becoming an inspirational Christian author. She
would enjoy hearing from you at email@example.com, or visit
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