|Re: food service||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Jean Pfleiderer (pfleiderer_jWIZARD.COLORADO.EDU)|
|Date: Tue, 17 May 94 10:48 CDT|
David Hungerford from Muir Commons wrote: >Is there anyone out there who is currently serving family style >most of the time? > Yes. I'm in the Nyland cohousing community, and at this point I think our meals are mostly family style. We started using our kitchen a year ago February, I believe. (Our first move-in was August 1992, and the last folks moved in last summer.) We do, however, very frequently have some part of the meal available at the counter outside the kitchen rather than on the tables. This can mean anything from someone at each table comes to get the bowls for that table or picks up the dessert, to an occasional buffet style meal. For the latter, when you really have to pick up a plate and carry it through a line, we do set up a table so that people can go round both sides. We agreed as a community when we designed the kitchen not to incorporate a warming table/cafeteria style serving area. We didn't want to eat up the space that way, didn't like the institutional feel of it, and wanted to encourage "seatings", not constant coming and going. With a community as big as ours, all of those things are really major concerns. We have forty-two households, approximately 120 people, in our community. Weekday meals seem to attract about 40 people; Sunday dinner typically attracts more. We serve meals four nights per week, with two to three people cooking. A rotation is about 5 weeks, and people are expected to cook and clean up OR clean up three times, once per rotation. People are supposed to bus their own places, as a minimum, and the last couple folks at a table bring back serving dishes, etc., and wipe the table down. This leaves relatively little for the kitchen crew to do in the dining area. We have a restaurant style dishwasher, and one clean up person is usually pretty much dedicated to that project after each meal. I can't speak for everyone, of course, but I think that clean up is really not a major reason to avoid family style meals, especially considering all the advantages to having them. A major difficulty which I think we are successfully resolving is noise level. Discouraging kids eating at a kid's table and then jumping up to romp through the common house before most adults are halfway through the meal helps enormously on this one. Interestingly enough, I've noticed that after a few rounds of eating with their families, the older children (8 or 9) seem to be able to sit at a regular table as a group or three or four without being noisy. Some people have been advocating a kid-free second seating, but I'm not sure how much support is coming together for that. I think eating family style rather than cafeteria style also helps immensely on the noise level. A moment of silence before a meal starts things on a nice footing, too, and that's something that's really only effective when most everybody is present and sitting down. We've had some good experience with silent meals, too, or at least having the first ten minutes in silence. It's a surprisingly calming and pleasant thing to do once in a while. We haven't found a really good solution to the problem of creating a subset of vegetarians by making it necessary for them to come to the counter for their food. I'm sure they would say the solution is to just stop serving meat! :-) But it's my impression that vegetarians do not create a "veggie ghetto" at Nyland, nor do we typically put the veggie alternative out on all, or any, of the tables. Although begging from table to table certainly exists at Nyland, it is an activity for everyone! Sometimes, when the main dish is spaghetti, say, the cooks will wheel the sauces around on a cart, and actually serve each person individually. Obviously, at those times, the vegetarian and the meat eater are treated identically. Jean Pfleiderer Nyland Lafayette, Colorado
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