RE: CH kitchen equipment / design
From: Susan Sweitzer (
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2004 08:37:31 -0700 (PDT)
We have found that neither the layout nor the appliances are what make
preparing large group meals a chore rather than a pleasure.  For most of us
the lack of a consistent organization of the utensils and ingredients is the
greatest barrier.  In spite of labeled shelves and drawers, people seem
determined to endlessly create a "more logical order".  We may have a high
percent of independently minded members, but I suspect may co-housing groups
are like that.  

The only other thing that cooks consistently complain about is dull knives.

Susan Sweitzer
Sustainability Institute
3 Linden Road
Hartland, Vt 05068

-----Original Message-----
From: [at]
[ [at]] On 
Of Alexander Robin A
Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2004 10:22 AM
To: Developing cohousing - collaborative housing communities
Subject: RE: [C-L]_ CH kitchen equipment / design

Not sure if this applies here but a mistake I think cohousings make is
not getting the advice of someone who really knows the ins and outs of
commercial kitchens. One might think that residential stuff is ok but a
cohousing kitchen is or should be really a commercial type kitchen to
make large group meals a pleasure to prepare rather than a chore. Fixing
problems later is much harder than doing it right at the start. This
from painful experience.

Robin Alexander
alexande.robi [at]

-----Original Message-----
From: [at]
[ [at]] On
Behalf Of Greg Smith
Sent: Tuesday, August 17, 2004 10:18 PM
To: cohousing-L [at]
Subject: [C-L]_ CH kitchen equipment / design

Jamaica Plain Cohousing is well into construction of our 30 units and 
we are planning out our CH kitchen needs.  I've been looking at all of 
the postings for kitchen equipment (thank you Diane Simpson for 
collecting most!) and would like some confirmation / affirmation / 
updated information on my notes:

1. Dishwasher:
An under counter commercial with a preheat system.  We will need space 
for heat booster next to dishwasher.
Some models can recycle the water.  Is this important?
Any comments on a counter-height commercial dish washer?
Get 4 trays -2 glass/plate, 2 silverware, etc.

2. Dish washing sinks:
Definitely get a double-deep sink with a wide basin for big things.  A 
spray nozzle is very handy.  It is recommended to get a sink with a 
countertop that can hold wet/dirty dishes and a lot of water (from the 
spraying and the trays).  This can be an integrated stainless steel 
sink/counter from a restaurant supply company (used).

3. Cooking range:
Stick with a residential model to avoid expensive hoods and fire 
suppression systems required by building officials.  An electric 
convection oven w/ gas burners is preferred for control of temperature. 
  We will probably need two 30" units.
A broiler is not used often and not needed.
Will the burners be hot/large enough to boil water / cook a big pot 
o'chili?  Are there separate high-powered burners that can be 
How useful are stacked ovens? - any concerns raised regarding ADA?
3a. Hood:
A high powered residential one is preferred for above reasons.  Avoid a 
noisy one as it will not be used as often.

4. Refrigerator:
A single large residential (22 cubic feet) is enough for the average 
community.  The freezer-on-the-bottom kind is good.  If the kitchen 
committee is well-tuned, leftovers will be hard-to-find and unmarked 
tin foil blobs will be extinct.

5. Prep area:
A large separate prep area with a lowered counter height for kids / 
sitting / wheel chair accessibility.  We plan on having a sink here for 
food washing.  A butcher-block island is great with storage underneath 
for tools, etc.

6. General:
No cabinet doors.  Well-marked storage containers and drawers are 
We have linoleum floors which are preferred to ceramic tile for 
cleanliness and comfort.
A large pantry.

Anyone lock away expensive small things?  Knives, etc?  Interested in 
loss/borrow/theft and safety with kids.

What did I forget?
Thanks all, and happy cooking.

greg smith  .  jamaica plain cohousing

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