|RE: cooking and time||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Rob Sandelin (robsanmicrosoft.com)|
|Date: Fri, 20 May 94 14:00 CDT|
Laura Bagnall asked: > How long on >average does it take to prepare food for 60 (to pick a number) people? >If one supposes that the majority of adults in a cohousing community >work full-time (aside: is this a valid assumption?), when do those >people find time to cook? >Do you end up having people take a >half-day off of work once or twice a month, and work late other >days to make up for it? Is it generally harder to find cooks on >weekdays versus weekends? At Sharingwood we only do meals for 20 at this time so I can give that perspective. Last night I cooked dinner which was 5 kinds of quiche and two types of salad, plus melon. We use teams of three which sign up in advance and one person is the chef each week so you meal plan and purchase food once every three weeks. My team of three broke out the tasks so that I did the menu planning and baking and they did food prep. I spent 30 minutes the night prior doing some food prep and the other team members also did about 30 minutes, mostly chopping stuff. The salads and melon took 1 hour to prepare and shopping took me about 45 minutes, which was an addition to my regular household shopping. Here is how the schedule worked for me and this is a good typical example of how it works for us generally showing how people work community dinner prep into their life schedules. Wednesday morning before leaving for work I spent 10 minutes in a cook book making a list of the things I would need. I stopped on the way from work and picked up the ingredients I needed which we didn't have in the community food store. (I did actually walk up the commonhouse to check on what we had which took a couple minutes) After my kids went to bed(8pm) I distributed a bag of ingredients to be chopped to my team members and spent 30 minutes making the crusts for the quiche which I stored in my home refrigerator. Thursday evening I left work at 4pm to make dinner. Starting at 4:30 I assembled the quiches and began baking with 3 in my home oven and 2 in the commonhouse oven. At 5pm, 2 other crew arrived at the commonhouse and we assembled the salads and cut up the melon, made juice and sliced bread. (note: we were listening to a hilarious comedy on the radio and at times were laughing so hard our productivity was pretty much reduced to zero) At just before 6:00 we took the quiches out of the commonhouse oven and all three of us each carried one quiche from my oven to the commonhouse. All food was ready to be served at 6pm, our typical community dinner start time. As to the aside about working full time - about half the people who are part of community dinner work full time and usually do less elaborate meals than those who have more time, although we have some good cookbooks such as Marion Burroughs, You Have It Made, which offer good ideas which are pretty quick. (one of my future writing projects is a list of good community dinner recipes from our cooks, a community dinner cookbook) Community dinner is a team effort and so sometimes I don't even show up till 5:30 to start helping, depending on what is happening for that meal. I have been consistently delighted and amazed by the variety and quality of the food we serve. I expected a lot more repetition than we have. This weeks dinners were Pasta Pretoria on Monday, Stir fry chicken or tofu on Tuesday, Chicken tetrazinie on Wednesday and quiche on Thursday. Most meals also have side dishes of rice, beans or potatoes, usually have some kind of fruit and usually have salads also. Weekend meals for us are spontaneous combustion potlucks. The other day several us ordered out for pizza and last weekend we had a community barbecue potluck. We also do weekend breakfasts sometimes in the same way, just everybody bring stuff and we eat together. These tend to draw more people (usually everyone and assorted hangers on show up too) I would encourage any groups which are forming to start a dinner club within your membership, hosting meals at each others houses once a week or so. It gives you real insight into cooking for each other, is an incredible opportunity for group interaction and lets you figure out strategies for doing meals (you bring the extra tables, Sally has 6 folding chairs, Mike has a large Salad bowl etc..) as well as good recipes. Some of my non-cohousing friends got so jazzed about our community dinners that they created a supper club. Just do it!
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