RE: Common Meals
From: Eileen McCourt (
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 21:06:02 -0600 (MDT)

Resentment can come from doing things you don't want to do, or are not
inclined to do, and having values placed on one type of contribution over
another.  I certainly hope that the many hours I put in as treasurer, and my
future plans for the landscape committee will be as valued in their
contribution to community life as cooking and cleaning.  Just what is the
value of cooking and cleaning over other forms of work?  Are there other
forms of work that people are "required" to do in order to participate in
the benefits?  That's the question I'm asking.  I guess it's been solved at
your community by separating food and other forms of work.  I'm not clear on
the values driving the decision to separate different types of work.


Eileen McCourt
emccourt [at]
Oak Creek Commons Cohousing
Paso Robles, CA

 -----Original Message-----
From:   cohousing-l-admin [at]
[mailto:cohousing-l-admin [at]]  On Behalf Of Elizabeth Stevenson
Sent:   Tuesday, April 17, 2001 9:16 AM
To:     cohousing-l [at]
Subject:        Re: [C-L]_Common Meals

This is in reply to Robert's and Sharon's posts.

Our meal costs are lower. Older than sixteen, and it's 2 bucks, under, it's
1, and under 4 don't pay at all. We still end up making money. My guess is
the expensive meals are organic, or have fancier food. Or maybe it's just
that we live in the Central Valley of California and food is plentiful,
cheap and fresh.

As to required cooking, Sharon, I think your analogy is deliberately
overstated. We require cooking, and we require other work, too. They are not
related in our work system. "Require" isn't like it's written into the
CC&Rs, though. Things are flexible. One person likes cooking so much, she
does it as her work requirement as well, cooking for weekend work parties
once or twice a month. Others do a bare minimum of cooking and like to buy
pre-fab meals they mostly just heat up. Lasagna bought at the warehouse
store is great for that.

I don't understand all this concern about resentment. How can something
everyone has to do be unfair?? I would think there'd be alot more resentment
if only some people cooked!

I think the idea of people cooking if they want to eat is very fair. But if
you have someone putting in horrible numbers of hours on bookkeeping, and
they resent it, why not make it more flexible and let them eat without
cooking? I don't see that as a reason to throw out mandatory cooking at all.
Just keep things flexible for special cases. BTW, our bookkeeper cooks great
meals, and doesn't mind.

Liz Stevenson
Southside Park Cohousing
Sacramento, California

tamgoddess [at]

>From Sharon:
> what does this mean for other kinds of work in
> the community?
> Do people who look at the flowers have to plant them? Do people who pay
> their condo fees have to do the bookkeeping? Can only people with children
> provide child care?
> If someone is working long hours as treasurer, do they also have to cook
> order to eat?
> I _think_ I would rather see all work for the community valued equally.
> will cook more and others will be working in the garden more. Some will be
> doing computer support and others kid support. Having everyone required to
> do everything seems a prescription for burnout.

>From Robert:
 (Three people X three meals X
> seven days X two dollars per meal=126 dollars a week, which is just a
> whole lot more than I ever spend on groceries).  I've been assuming that
> economy of scale would keep meal prices lower than that, but maybe there
> are other factors?
> Thanks,
> Robert Arjet
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