Re: food handling/partitioned dining rm
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Thu, 19 May 94 18:46 CDT
David and others have written about food handling, appliances and such...

I see your point in your situation.  We have pretty mainstream sized 
houses with their own large refers in them and so there is no personal 
food storage in the commonhouse.  The refer is only opened by the 
dinner crew to make dinner.  We also have an unwritten policy that 
anything in the community refer at the end of Friday night leftover 
potluck gets composted. Dinner food gets purchased usually the day 
before the meal or the Sunday before the week.

Viral infections are mostly spread through the eyes and mouth and thus 
eating in close proximity to an infectious person probably passes more 
viral stuff around than cooking does, especially given the high cooking 
temperatures.  It is very interesting that some individuals within our 
group tend to get each passing virus while others seldom ever do.  I 
think it is some sort of genetic, immune system thing rather than 
anything we do together.  We have no rules about coming to dinner when 
sick although since we have some frail elders we tend to keep a 
distance, especially when kids are sick.  If someone has a cold should 
they not make dinner or not eat? We tend to take food home if we are sick.

We get our bulk food orders mostly for dry goods and frozen meats. 
Since we live in an agricultural area we can get produce, eggs and 
dairy "from the farm" usually at roadside stands on the way home so we 
tend not to store much, since we can get it fresh enroute from 
neighborhood farms.  We do get 2lb blocks of cheese which can last a 
couple of weeks easy (the French find spoiled cheeses to be a delicacy).

An interesting thread on the public-privacy reality. (its amazing how 
one thing connects to another in email)  One of the best things (for me 
anyway) about Sharingwood is that whenever I need some space I head 
into our 25 acres of woods to my secret spots.  With our rural nature, 
its like being in the middle of a wilderness.

I sometimes wonder about how the public/private balance within site 
design effects recruitment efforts, retention of members, and group 
dynamic and expectations?  Since Sharingwoods design is a traditional 
cul-de-sac of individual houses  that filters out people who want the 
attached wall condo sort of living.  We tend on the private side of the 
scale and I have noticed we have much fewer requirements for living 
here than other groups in our area.  I was interested to learn that 
Muir Commons expects everyone to cook and clean up. At Sharingwood 
community dinner is totally voluntary and only those who sign up cook 
or clean.  This is true of most of our work together, rather than 
making requirements, we make opportunities for involvement and people 
self regulate their own commitments to the community.  (yikes, here I 
go on yet another thread!)  Of course what this sometimes means is that 
some people sign up for more than others do, but we have found that in 
the long run its not a problem and by not forcing a minimum 
requirement, people are happy to contribute when they can.  Given the 
enormous stress in some of our folks lives, the flexibility of 
participation under the current system allows for a good balance.  In 
my observation of other groups, especially forming groups, forcing 
equal participation all the time often means parents with small kids 
get locked out of the process, which is really a shame. (This is 
happening within a developing group nearby and they have lost 4-6 
parents in the last 3 months).

Anyway its interesting to learn how different groups do things. Thanks 
for the postings


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