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Mike Filigenzi

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"Food Assembly Centers" ????

by Mike Filigenzi » Mon Mar 27, 2006 11:22 am

This article in the NY Times today discusses food assembly centers. These are franchise businesses set up for people to go in and prepare meals from prep'd items like pre-chopped vegetables and canned beans. The meals are then taken home and used for supper for the following week. According to the article, they're catching on all over the country. I'd never heard of such a thing and it seems like a strange concept to me. But I guess if it gets people cooking at any level at all, it can't be too terrible.

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ScottD

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Re: "Food Assembly Centers" ????

by ScottD » Mon Mar 27, 2006 11:38 am

Mike, my wife did this early this year. There are actually a couple of different ones here in our area. The concept is kind of interesting. I like your description of it "Food Assembly" because that is very appropriate, no cooking involved at all. It must be pretty popular, one of the places here has only been open a little over a year ago and is doubling it's square footage.

I think we ended up with 12-14 frozen dinners. We never ate the strawberry french toast breakfast thingy. The final product was probably what you'd expect it to be, pretty casserole-ish, but definitely edible (isn't that a stellar endorsement?). And convenient. She's actually headed back next week with the kids, they have a special for spring break.
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Re: "Food Assembly Centers" ????

by Mike Filigenzi » Mon Mar 27, 2006 2:51 pm

ScottD wrote:Mike, my wife did this early this year. There are actually a couple of different ones here in our area. The concept is kind of interesting. I like your description of it "Food Assembly" because that is very appropriate, no cooking involved at all. It must be pretty popular, one of the places here has only been open a little over a year ago and is doubling it's square footage.

I think we ended up with 12-14 frozen dinners. We never ate the strawberry french toast breakfast thingy. The final product was probably what you'd expect it to be, pretty casserole-ish, but definitely edible (isn't that a stellar endorsement?). And convenient. She's actually headed back next week with the kids, they have a special for spring break.


Good to hear from someone with some experience with these, Scott!

What did your wife like in particular about the place? The article mentions the convenience, but people also seem to have a lot of fun prepping their meals with others.

I'm surprised that we don't have one here yet.


Mike
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Chris

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Re: "Food Assembly Centers" ????

by Chris » Mon Mar 27, 2006 3:11 pm

Mike, there is a "Dream Dinners" located on Butano Drive (behind Country Club Plaza) in Sacramento.

http://www.dreamdinners.com

They have franchises available.

These companies are known under a variety of names. In Napa, there is a "Dinner Solutions". Not my thing - I still enjoy the "shopping and putting together a meal at home" routine, but perhaps if I was younger and still had small children, this would be appealing.
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Re: "Food Assembly Centers" ????

by Mike Filigenzi » Mon Mar 27, 2006 3:15 pm

Chris wrote:Mike, there is a "Dream Dinners" located on Butano Drive (behind Country Club Plaza) in Sacramento.

http://www.dreamdinners.com

They have franchises available.

These companies are known under a variety of names. In Napa, there is a "Dinner Solutions". Not my thing - I still enjoy the "shopping and putting together a meal at home" routine, but perhaps if I was younger and still had small children, this would be appealing.


Wow! I had no idea these places existed until this morning.

Not really my cup of tea either, but I'll be curious to see how they do.

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Re: "Food Assembly Centers" ????

by Jenise » Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:07 pm

Chris wrote:Mike, there is a "Dream Dinners" located on Butano Drive (behind Country Club Plaza) in Sacramento.

http://www.dreamdinners.com

They have franchises available.

These companies are known under a variety of names. In Napa, there is a "Dinner Solutions". Not my thing - I still enjoy the "shopping and putting together a meal at home" routine, but perhaps if I was younger and still had small children, this would be appealing.


When I read Mike's description, I thought "Didn't I read that article already?" Now I realize why I thought so--I heard about Dinner Solutions from you.

I'm surprised these are catching on that rapidly. I have to admit it didn't sound like such a great idea to me, even for people who don't cook. I figure people like to cook or don't, and that going somewhere else to 'assemble' food is in the same category as being "too much trouble" as cooking at home.
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Re: "Food Assembly Centers" ????

by ScottD » Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:13 pm

The way the one works here, you put together a group of folks, maybe 8-10 if I recall, and once at the place that group splits into a couple of smaller groups and they go to different stations where they put together the meals. They can take in wine and the place has little munchie stuff around and it's a real party atmosphere. I know they really enjoyed themselves. Spent maybe 2-2 1/2 hrs, I guess. I think the whole thing broke down to $2 or $3 per serving when it was all said and done. She figured the time saved in shopping, prep, and by not having any waste that it was really a pretty good deal.

Here's this months menu... like I said, nothing too extravagant, but a nice mix of styles/flavors/etc. But definitely not anything that you wouldn't think to do or be capable of doing at home with pretty basic pantry items. http://www.maindishkitchen.com/yourmaindish.asp?MenuMonth=4#menu
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Re: "Food Assembly Centers" ????

by Jenise » Mon Mar 27, 2006 9:26 pm

ScottD wrote:The way the one works here, you put together a group of folks, maybe 8-10 if I recall, and once at the place that group splits into a couple of smaller groups


Sounds like high school Home Ec! Which was plenty of fun, actually. Can't argue with the price per serving, either. [/quote]
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Re: "Food Assembly Centers" ????

by Karen/NoCA » Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:07 pm

In Redding, we had a Personal Chef who cooked a different meal everyday, in her home. You could go buy and pick up or she would come to your home and cook a weeks worth of meals.

I see Dream Dinners is in our area also. They have a big warehouse type building. You go there and assemble your packages, take home and freeze. I seem to recall $200.00 for ten days worth of dinners, but I don't recall how many that fed. I'm sure they have a website.
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Meal Assembly Centers

by Cynthia Wenslow » Mon Mar 27, 2006 11:42 pm

I go past one in Albuquerque called Super Suppers and it's always packed. I don't get it myself. But then, I love to cook.

When my kids were small I considered shopping and cooking with them to be part of their essential life-skill education. At 19 and 14, they are both great cooks and enjoy and appreciate good food.
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Re: "Food Assembly Centers" ????

by Paul Winalski » Sat Apr 08, 2006 12:13 am

[quote="Chris"]Mike, there is a "Dream Dinners" located on Butano Drive (behind Country Club Plaza) in Sacramento.

"Dream Dinners"? Sounds more like a nightmare to me. But it's better than Mickey D's, and if it lets people socialize and unwind from a hectic day/life, it's something positive.

-Paul W.

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