It seems simple enough, having a meal ready and waiting for you. So simple that giant food companies have been doing this for years, preparing meals that you just pop in the oven. A classic example is the “TV Dinner” that originated in the mid-twentieth century; typically a TV dinner is frozen, and goes into the oven solid as a rock for about half an hour to 45 minutes. Then in the eighties we got microwavable dinners that still hog a large part of the market.
But Julie Languille, a Seattle based homemaker who owns a dinner planning website, Dinners in a Flash, has come up with a great idea and and a great book; Meals In a Jar-Quick and Easy, Just-Add-Water, Homemade Recipes.
This is a how to book, a recipe book for preparing entire meals that can sit on your shelf, in the pantry, at the cottage…ready to take along on a camping trip, for use in an emergency and attractive enough to give as gifts, especially for someone who doesn’t like cooking for one, or is unable to. The “Meals in a Jar” are also great for food drives or to give to families in need. No freezing or refrigeration required, Languille also teaches workshops on preparedness and long-term food storage so she knows what she’s talking about.
“Pull it off the shelf. Mix it with water. Cook. Serve.”
The book is divided into a dozen parts including chapters on Breakfasts, Soups, Pastas, Snacks, Main courses and a helpful short chapter on logistics; how to stock your pantry, buying in bulk, equipment needed and so on. Languille takes you through “water bath canning” and “pressure canning ”step-by-step, includes procedures for dehydrating and an extensive list of ingredients you are likely to need, from bouillion soup bases to powdered egg and milk. She even includes instructions on how to can cheese! Each recipe calls for storage in a mylar bag or vacuum bag, instructions on assembling the meals in a jar with instructions on how to label each container for preparation, when the time comes.
Imagine having Coq au Vin in your pantry and at the ready, or Tamarind-Braised Pulled Pork and Sweet Cinnamon Roll Biscuits. These recipes, and dozens more are all in this inventive book.
Most of the recipes make several 6 and 8 serving meals as well, so Languille suggests hosting food preparing and packaging parties, where guests can build their own food storage pantries and stockpile for a rainy day. This book is a wonderful, creative and unique idea whose time has come; it incorporates common sense, thrift, preservative-free food choices and best of all, good, healthy eating.
Hey Torontonians! You can win your very own copy of Meals in a Jar, to win all you have to do is go to our facebook page and share the link to this post. We’ll draw a name at random from those that share and announce the winner on facebook. Start sharing!