Re: Oh no, it's that Kitchen topic again
From: Joani Blank (
Date: Fri, 5 Jun 1998 03:45:07 -0500
Whoever mentioned the session in Seattlle on Kitchens (actually it was on
the care and feeding--eating--of common meals) was wonderful. And I too
wonder if there were/are notes. 

I have a lot of ideas about common house kitchens, especially the
refrigerators and stoves (No commercial, and certainly no walk in
refrigerators, and commercial/residential stoves). But I am more interested
in the organization of the preparation of common meals. 

Somewhat briefly, because it's very late here:

1. Same team of 2, 3 or 4 people cooks and does the clean up. That means
fewer mealtime jobs per person per month (or quarter or whatever). Also, no
one should have to clean up the messes of others, and cooks are not
inspired to keep things tidy as they go along if they know others will
clean up.

2. Decide how often folks want to cook/clean. Then, after deciding how many
people need to be on a team, figure out how many meals a week you can
manage with the number of adults in the community. No way meal prep should
take 8 hours or anyway near that. At Doyle Street (only 12 units) the cook
usually spends six hours or less, sometimes doing the shopping and a couple
of hours the night before, if he or she is a 9-5er, and the cook and
assistant are in the kitchen for three hours including prep, serving and
cleanup. The assistant's usually present for just three hours. Believe it
or not, the extra work it takes to feed twice that many households is not
anywhere near double. Of course it will take somewhat longer, but with one
or two more people and thoughtful division of labor, I would estimate that
for a 25 household community (remember that not everyone will eat every
meal), meal preparation (and cleanup) shouldn't take more than 12 total
person/hours/meal. And remember, when you just attend a dinner you probably
take 1-2 hours out of your evening to do so. Since you presumably will eat
what you cook <smile> this makes the "extra" time commitment to cook even

Joani Blank
Doyle Street and Old Oakland Cohousing 

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