Oct 30, 2006

The Dream Dinners Experience

As I mentioned previously, I wanted to check out Dream Dinners to see if their frozen dinners are any good. So my brother-in-law, Eric, and I went to pre-paid our session this past weekend and each put together three meals.

The set-up is fairly simple. You are given labels for your meals, so you know what you are preparing. You then find the station for each meal you’ve selected and follow the directions at each station for assembling the meal. Eric and I selected different meals, which meant that we were at separate stations assembling our dinners. If you’re hoping to chit-chat with someone while you’re there, I recommend selecting the same meals so you can work at the same station at the same time. I also found that meals that are stored in zip-top bags were much faster to put together than meals that are stored in baking pans.

Our session was at 1:00 p.m., but since I hadn’t eaten lunch, I was disappointed that there were no appetizers out as the notice I had received after registering had stated there would be. The only refreshments offered were water and coffee. I suspect they might be more generous with the appetizers at their evening sessions.

It took me almost an hour to assemble three meals, or 18 servings, although I had been informed that it usually takes an hour to assemble 36 meals and two hours to assemble 72 meals. I suspect I took longer than the estimate because it was my first time and also because I selected the calzones and enchiladas, both of which seemed to take longer to assemble than most of the other meals.

As I stated in my earlier post, the introductory cost for 18 servings was $49.50, or $2.75 per meal. Future sessions will cost $4 to $6 per meal ($4 to $5 if ordering 72 or more servings and $5 to $6 if ordering less than 72 servings; there is a minimum requirement of 36 servings). That is more in line with how much it costs me to cook from scratch, so future savings would be more about time than money. There is also the question of quality, since I prefer to use organic produce, hormone and antibiotic-free meat and dairy products, and whole-grain products whenever possible. Many of the products that went into each meal at Dream Dinners were unlabeled, but based on appearance, I would say they were of decent restaurant quality but not of the same quality I would have in my own kitchen.

We plan to have one or two of the meals I brought home for dinner this week, so I’ll report back soon on the most important thing of all - taste. And I’ll have a final verdict as to whether I think a second, full-price session is worth the convenience.

No comments: