|Re: Paying for meals...and cooking them||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David L. Mandel (75407.2361compuserve.com)|
|Date: Tue, 7 Mar 95 07:43 CST|
Stuart of N St. writes that the rumor is true: Folks pay cash for each meal and may well not know the price until they actually arrive. Still sounds horrific to me, but hey, it takes all kinds. Invite me for dinner sometime and maybe I'll be amazed. A few questions: do you require exact change? When you haven't made it to the bank that day and need to borrow from a neighbor, doesn't that add hassles and complications to your life? And how do cooks calculate the cost of a meal? Surely you have a lot of staples already in your pantry. Also what about the cost of electricity, gas, cleaning materials, water? Replacing the fridge someday? True, any system must guess at eventual replacement costs and recurrent non-food expenses. But at least we know we're guessing and once a year or so we take stock to see how it looks in the big picture of covering these types of costs. And while there is a bit of bookkeeping, the person who does ours has it pretty much on computerized autopilot, she says. And very little money or even checks ever have to change hands. Finally, I assume N St. has some pretty low-income people, as we do. Aren't they deterred from going to the more expensive meals? That would feel creepy if it happened here. *** On another thread, it makes me nervous to hear about policies that say the more you eat the more you cook. Founders of a cohousing community may be highly motivated enough, for the most part, that this doesn't have a serious negative effect on the numbers of folks cooking and eating (though it sounds like it has deterred singles at Winslow and perhaps elsewhere). But think years from now, when some of us founders move away or mellow out. While we can't legally force people to cook, I'm worried that in some coho sites at least, the acceptability of opting out of cooking by not eating common meals could accelerate a tendency to revert to being a more standard condo development. Might it then lease the common house to a restaurant owner? If common dining at least a couple times a week is such a central feature of the cohousing concept, then shouldn't we at least exert major peer pressure to have all participate in the work (eating any given meal is still optional, of course)? I know that with us the issue never arose (not yet, anyway). If you live here, you're expected to be on a cooking team, and each cooking team is expected to do its thing once a month. Perhaps making the schedule less onerous than it seems to be elsewhere keeps anyone from feeling too oppressed by it. ***** Another issue that hasn't arisen (also yet) is any perceived unequal burden on childless adults, for instance a complaint that they're cooking for others' kids, whose parents thereby reap an unfair benefit. I have to agree with Stuart that from here, such a complaint sounds pretty petty. It probably has to do with folks' expectations, though. In our founding and recruiting, we always said that we intended to establish a "child-friendly" community, meaning that adults who chose not to have their own were welcome as long as they accepted that a lot of the facilities and policies would be oriented around kids. So for the most part, the childless adults who joined expected and even sought an environment in which they could relate (in some cases, wonderfully and intensively) to children without the constant responsibility for them. Everyone's home purchase included built-in $$ for the young children's room, teen room and playground, so in comparison to that, what's a few extra little mouths to feed when we're cooking for 30 or so adults anyway? By the way, we also all chip in for child care money for the teens during general meetings. And all adults, parents and non-parents, are encouraged to take turns too. If some folks want to start an adults-only cohousing and it's legal in your state, go ahead. May we come for retreats? David Mandel, Southside Park, Sacramento
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