RE: common house meal preparation?
From: Rowena Conkling (
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 13:38:01 -0700 (MST)
At Cambridge Cohousing we typically have about 35-38 people at a meal, it
may go as high as 50.  The cook team is generally 3 people, but ranges from
2 to 4.  The clean up team is 3 people; clean up is about 30-45 minutes,
depending on what was cooked and how much mess the cooks left - sometimes
the floor needs to be scrubbed, sometimes everything but serving dishes is
already cleaned up!  We have three regular meals a week.  Monday is
Pizza/potluck - people sign up for one or the other, a coordinator orders
the pizza, those bringing pot luck are supposed to have enough to serve six
people; we also have our birthday cake of the week at this meal!  This is
very popular with the kids and doesn't require much time by the
coordinators.  The other meals are either Wednesday or Thursday and either
Saturday or Sunday.  People cooking during the week may choose to do
something simple if they have full time jobs - e.g. hearty soup or roasted
veggies and baked salmon, with salad, bread, fruit and cookies or pies and
ice cream from Costco.   It helps if you don't have to make a separate dish
for vegetarians.  Such a simple meal still takes 3 people about 2-2-1/2
hours to prepare because chopping and sauteing all those veggies for 35
people takes time! Often the prep work can be done the night before or one
of the cooks may prefer to make a dessert the day before. People without
"regular" jobs during the week and weekend cooks may spend more time - some
of our menus are quite sophisticated - but not necessarily.  Shopping
doesn't take more than an hour.  The cooks may divide that chore up,
depending who is going where - some markets are better for different items.

Be flexible. Encourage cooks to try different things.  In summer we may have
a cookout.  Breakfasts or brunches are popular.  Once in a while no one
signs up and the meal gets cancelled!



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