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Once a Hero (NCIS)

Once-a-month cooking

The concept of once-a-month cooking (OAMC) is to spend a set time cooking, be it a day or two, but with an end result of having enough meals to last through the whole month. OAMC recipes usually involve freezing the meals until needed.

The idea of cooking ahead for the freezer began many years ago, probably at about the advent of home refrigerator/freezers. But in recent years, thanks to bestselling books like Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month and Once-a-Month Cooking, the concept has acquired almost a cult-like following. There are now numerous books, popular online discussion groups, official cooking clubs, and even businesses that allow people to prepare meals to take home for their freezer.

The primary advantage to this method of cooking is to save time over the course of the month by buying groceries in bulk on the cook date. There are some other substantial advantages, however:

  • Saved food resources. Buying what is needed and preparing it into a finished dish right away rather than losing track of it or losing it to spoilage
  • Saved energy. Cooking several dishes at once means less pre-heat time and better use of the energy that is being consumed
  • Saved money. Having a ready supply of finished meals makes it less tempting to eat out because "you're just too tired to cook"

Many groups participate in a batch cooking or OAMC for communal consumption. When practiced on this large scale, the benefits mentioned above are even more pronounced. Church kitchens are often usurped for these cooking binges as they are usually the readily available source of commercial cooking equipment. Many restaurants (especially dinner-only establishments) are also available for rental if a church kitchen is not available.

Naturally, as with any home cooking, it is best to cook dishes that are diverse when one practices OAMC. It is important not only to vary the flavors of these dishes but also to consider the nutritional value of each dish. Since these dishes are going to largely comprise the eater's diet, it is essential that the different dishes allow for all the nutrients that the eater needs. Therefore, the preparer of the dishes should have some rudimentary nutritional training else the consumer runs the risk of anemia or other vitamin/nutritional deficiencies.

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