Re: Common meal frequency [was: common meal accounting]
From: DHCano (DHCanoaol.com)
Date: Sat, 9 Oct 1999 07:59:18 -0600 (MDT)
In a message dated 10/9/99 8:42:11 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
tomtours [at] netscape.net writes:

<< To me, the group meals are perhaps the main attraction of cohousing
 (cooking for one is a waste of time).  Certainly in Denmark group meals are
 the standard.  What is different or wrong here?  Can Americans just not get
 into group cooperation?
  Tom Pendleton, Takoma Village Cohousing >>

I live in an intentional community that is not cohousing, one where community 
breakfast as well as dinner is available nearly every day.  In this community 
there are also several fully equipped kitchens, stocked with staples, where 
community members may cook for themselves or in smaller groups.  I regularly 
use the nearest kitchen -- for a weekly dinner with a tiny subgroup, and also 
for individual meals.  Sometimes my meal schedule is different from that of 
community meals and sometimes I just feel like a quiet sandwich or omelet on 
my own.  Sometimes I have a guest that I want to share a meal and 
conversation with in private.  Sometimes I greedily treat myself alone to 
some favorite dish.  Other members use the kitchens similarly, but with 
varying degrees of frequency, from daily down to hardly ever.  And we are 
mostly childless adults.  If my (now grown) children were still with me -- as 
many co-housers children are -- I would want in addition to all the above to 
have some family meal times to focus primarily on each other.

I don't think of any of these behaviors as 'different or wrong'.  To me it 
would be a stretch to decide that because most American co-housers like to 
eat together about twice a week that Americans can 'just not get into group 
cooperation'.  Indeed it indicates that Americans brought up to eat in 
nuclear families or on their own like to share meals with neighbors enough to 
go to some trouble to create a living situation in which they can do so 
regularly.

Is there some norm or standard that we ought to be living up to in order to 
be considered able to 'get into group cooperation'?

At what point would it slide over into terminal group-think and 'having no 
life of one's own'?

Diane Cano
Ganas 

P.S.  Preparing something good to eat for myself -- or together with a small 
group, or for a guest -- doesn't feel like 'a waste of time' to me, but maybe 
that is partly because I don't *have* to do it.  

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