In my last post, I mentioned one of the greatest mothering gifts I’ve ever given myself, an idea that was born out of necessity. I had been fighting the same weeknight supper battle for years and was ready to throw in the towel and resort to the age-old supper cheat–Breakfast for Supper!–for the foreseeable future. I don’t despise cooking; I just hate having to think about, plan, and shop for new recipes. My husband admitted that he would be happy with a taco, spaghetti, meatloaf, and pizza night each week which sounds enticing enough until reality sets in and you realize this would get old after week one.
Then one day the stars aligned as I was commiserating with a friend and coworker who shared the same woes. We first laughed, then grew more serious about the idea of doubling a meal we were already planning to cook and swapping to see if that helped alleviate some stress. And from this fated conversation was born The Supper Club, a very exclusive organization that only accepts those with the absolute lowest of expectations.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to start your own Supper Club, it’s best you consider a few guidelines:
Find Your Folks
This is key. First, you have to decide how many people you’ll need in your club. I was typically only cooking about three times a week (other nights were for leftovers, take-out, or even dry cereal–get over it), so I needed to find two other moms who were interested. Do what suits you. Next, you have to find like-minded (and like-recipe’d? Is that a thing?) people. Be sure to take into account special diets and allergies! I hate to admit that fancy supermoms have been denied entry into Supper Club because of their penchant for Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps. Sorry, but I’m more of a Chicken-in-the-crock-pot kinda girl, and I need others who are, too. But, hey! If you’re a Fancy Supermom and have friends who are, too, by all means — fancy it up! You just don’t want to feel like one person is pulling more weight than another in your Supper Club.
The entire reason Supper Club was created was to alleviate the stress of having to think about new weeknight meals (and while the goal wasn’t necessarily to save money, you can make the meals you prepare as expensive as you choose, so it has ended up cutting down on some of our grocery bills). If you find yourself cruising Pinterest for hours because you’re worried that what you plan to fix for your own family isn’t good enough for another family, you’re overworking it. Did you find something easy and delicious, but this will be the third week in a row that you’ve done chicken with a Mexican twist? Then the month will just have a Fiesta Theme. Ole!
Set a Standing Swap Date
Find a day that works for all of your people to prep and swap your meals. My Supper Club cooks and swaps on Sunday afternoons so we’re prepared to face Manic Monday (and Tiring Tuesday, and Wild Wednesday…). Imagine the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the entire week’s worth of food is already done before the craziness starts! All I do on a weekday is dump a bag into a crock-pot or pop a dish in the oven. Badda-bing, badda-boom!
Adhere to “You Get What You Get, And You Don’t Throw a Fit!”
This will probably be easiest for us moms to do, considering how much of a life-saver Supper Club becomes, but your kids (and spouse) may have to get used to other types of foods. This is where Supper Club is not for the faint of heart. We only swap entrees (sides and veggies are up to you), and whatever we fix is for supper, like it or not. My defense is that it forces us to eat beyond the foods in our rotation or even try some of the same food fixed a different way. Also, if we’re having a tough week or a recipe doesn’t lend itself to pre-cooked or prepped, we may simply pass off the ingredients if it’s an easy fix. We’ve all been there, so we understand if you hand over a pound of chicken thighs, a pack of seasoning, and half a stick of butter. Supper Club is a stress- and judgment-free zone.
This one sounds odd, I know, but our Supper Club has always kept a sort of unwritten rule about feedback: we don’t give any! We really think this one helps to keep it stress-free so that it doesn’t become some sort of competition or give anyone anxiety (again: keep it stress-free). “Here’s your meal. It’s pan fajitas … again!”
Best of luck with supper. Now if I could find a way to get these clothes to fold themselves…