RE: [C-L] Dietary Accomodations
From: Rowenahc (
Date: Wed, 4 Jul 2001 05:29:01 -0600 (MDT)
Our meal sign up sheets have particular dietary requirements posted next to
each name so that the cook can easily determine what needs must be
accomodated, and we have a general agreement that identified needs will be
accomodated, if possible.  For instance, there are several people who cannot
eat dairy products, so if lasagna is on the menu and they sign up there will
also be a small dairy-free dish using soy products.  If the person who can't
eat peppers is coming, we serve the peppers on the side, etc. Most of the
time there is meat or fish for the main course and if there is a solid
selection of vegetables and salad, folks with diabetes can usually put
together a meal that is not too hyperglycemic.  We always have some kind of
vegetarian alternative.  Luckily, we do not have any vegans so the
vegetarian meals are relatively easy.  Some of the dairy-free or vegetarian
versions are a bit wierd but mostly they are pretty tasty.   Some cooks will
also make all vegetarian meals, but then you need something for the
diabetics!    There is also a children's alternative if the main dish is a
casserole or something less than toddler friendly - usually Annie's Mac &
Cheese - and PB&J is always available.  It sounds a lot worse than it
actually is for the cooks and those with dietary needs feel welcome.

We also encourage low fat cooking for everyone!  We try to support organic
and locally grown food and have some connections to CSAs in Massachusetts
and buy our coffee wholesale from Equal Exchange. However, organic food can
bust the budget in winter and there are no rules about using it!

For desserts - we tend to alternate among fruit 'n cookies and birthday
cakes and Trader Joe's evil pies!   However, we always have no-fat yoghurt
or sherbert as well as icecream to go on the cake, so that makes it healthy,
right?  :^)


-----Original Message-----
From: cohousing-l-admin [at]
[mailto:cohousing-l-admin [at]]On Behalf Of Sharon Villines
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2001 9:16 AM
To: Cohousing-L
Subject: [C-L]_Meals and Dietary Preferences & Requirements

We are just getting our meal program going and I have some questions about
how you handle all the diet stuff.

I have diabetes that is diet controlled except when I eat commonhouse meals.
Then I go over the top with all the high-glycemic-index food and it takes
several days to get back on track.  Starch seems to be the order of the
day--starch over starch with salad on the side followed by sugar.

No one  is forcing me to eat the absolutely delicious food, mind you, but
when faced with another meal where the only thing I _should_ eat is salad, I
can see I need to do something differently.

THEN when I think of cooking for the group I start with a menu, calculating
amounts and logistics, thinking about how delicious this meal will be, etc.,
and run right into restrictions -- wheat-sensitive, lactose-intolerant,
vegan, vegetarian, meat necessary, no "junk", child friendly, no hot spices.

I know perfectly well how to cook for all these preferences/restrictions
(and have been on one or the other of these diets myself at one time or
another) but the complexity of cooking for all of them at the same time
takes all the anticipated fun out of it for me. You become a short order

Commonhouse meals were one of the things I was looking forward to most but
they have become a booby-trap. How do you all handle this?

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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