Staples for Common House Pantry? - Joani Blank
From: Fred H Olson (
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 08:12:01 -0700 (MST)
Joani Blank <joani [at]> is the author of the message below. 
It was posted by Fred the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]> 
because the message included HTML ;      PLEASE do not post HTML, see

--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------
I originally wrote this in December to an individual who inquired directly 
to me, but I thought my response might be of interest to others. Then I 
forgot to send it to the rest of you.  Here it is.


I've just received a request from a relatively new cohousing community for 
""a food staples list for the common house kitchen."  I expect this is 
based on the fact that I authored the article on common meals in an issue 
of the Cohousing Journal earlier this year. (hey, if your group is not a 
member of the Cohousing Network, you should join--I can talk this way cause 
I'm a Jewish mother over the age of 60).

Rather than responding to this query in an individual email, I thought I'd 
broadcast my response via this listserve because I thought other groups 
might be interested, AND because I expect others of you may have good ideas 
to add, or disagreements with me or whatever.

STAPLES FOR THE COMMON KITCHEN PANTRY:  I have not looked systematically at 
CH pantries, so I can't post actual lists, and I don't know that such lists 
have ever been circulated, but  I can describe a few different ways that 
staples are dealt with.  The most casual way--and perhaps the most common 
though I don't have any data--is that when a cook or cooking team is 
shopping for a common meal, they buy more than they need of an item for 
their meal--either because that's the smallest quantity that they can buy 
(e.g. spices or red wine vinegar that they need only 1/4 cup of)  and the 
leftovers are "stored" in the kitchen or pantry as staples.

The next step up from that is that a staples list is posted somewhere in 
the kitchen and the cooks who use up the last bit of flour or brown sugar 
or olive oil post that fact to the list, and the kitchen committee or an 
designated individual periodically shops for those staples. Small kitchen 
gadgets, sponges, and other kitchen needs may also be posted to that list 
as well. ("Didn't we have like two or three veggie peelers around here 
somewhere?") A neighbor at Doyle Street called large utensils, "kitchen 
weapons," but I don't remember cute name she had for the small stuff.

It gets more complex and formal than that so that a couple of communities
buy large quantities staples and/or make regular runs to a farmer's
market, then pass the stuff along to individual households with a little
internal "store" set up, as well as supplying the common kitchen with
basic ingredients.

At 08:11 AM 12/19/01 -0500, you wrote:
>Hi Joan
>I am with Blueberryhill Cohousing and we are trying to put together  I was 
>told that you would know best what other groups have in their pantry.  I 
>checked out the cohousing list database but I could not find a 
>list.  Could you please send us a list from the groups you have been and 
>are in.
>Veronica Sheehan-miles
>Veronica Sheehan-Miles
>Sheehan-Miles family home page: 

Cohousing-L mailing list
Cohousing-L [at]  Unsubscribe  and other info:

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.