Being fans of the once-a-month cooking concept, my wife and I have been eager to at least take a look at Super Suppers, which is basically a shop devoted to that concept. Basically, you go there, prepare a ton of meals at once, then take them home and put them in the freezer until meal time.
How does it work? The store basically consists of several small kitchen-like workstations. You pay a fee and are able to prepare a certain number of dinner entrees – each of the workstations is set up with the ingredients for one of the entrees on the menu. They rotate the menu monthly. You can also pay a bit more to have them prepare your meals for you.
It took me about nine minutes per meal on average to prepare them using their setup – I had never done it before, but I am also reasonably adept in the kitchen.
Is it worth the money? Basically, what you’re buying here isn’t food, but time. Super Suppers allows you to prepare a meal yourself by giving you the assist of having all of the ingredients all ready for you and also cleaning up afterwards. By going there and preparing most of a month’s worth of dinners in about two hours, you’re not having to prepare them at home, saving a huge amount of time. The food itself is good – I might have made a few other choices for some of the recipes, but almost all of them seemed reasonable.
I made twelve full entrees, which serve four to six, in about two hours. Since my family consists of me, my wife, and a toddler, I actually split each entree into two separate packages, each serving two to three, which actually makes twenty-four entrees for us. The cost was $216, which makes the cost per meal exactly $9, or $3 per head at the dinner table.
That price is a bit high, but not incredibly so. I typically figure a home-prepared main course is a success if I can get it under $2 per serving, so I’m basically paying an extra dollar per serving for the convenience of having it all set out for me. I was able to assemble these twenty four entrees on my way home from work, whereas preparing all of those meals at home would have taken over the kitchen for a solid day. I would estimate that I saved roughly eight hours of effort by doing it this way, but it cost me about $72.
To me, an hour’s worth of a weekend day is worth $9, even if the meals were slightly constrained by Super Supper’s monthly menu. Unless we find the food to be bad (and the samples I tried were quite tasty, though I will probably modify them a bit with extra spicing), I can see us potentially using the service again.
Having said that, we won’t be using these for every meal. I enjoy cooking too much for that. Basically, I view it as being much like the “once-a-month” cooking philosophy, except you just go somewhere else to do it more quickly and pay for the ingredient organization and the cleanup.