Re: how many people for common meal...just starting
From: Craig Ragland (
Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2006 19:09:39 -0700 (PDT)
Another Songaian weighs in...

On 8/10/06, R.P. Aditya <aditya [at]> wrote:


On Thu, Aug 10, 2006 at 05:21:39PM -0700, Douglas G. Larson wrote:
> 5) We have food buyers who do all the buying. In fact we discourage the
> cooks from doing the buying, to minimize impulse buying and expenses. We
> buy a large part of our food wholesale and the buyers watch for specials
> and the various outlets they use. As a cook I personally would feel
> overwhelmed if I have to plan a meal and buy for a crowd of 36 people. I
> am thankful for our buyers. Of course this systems only works if you
> have people with the time to do buying.

this is quite inspiring -- and brings up more nuts-and-bolts questions:

- who decides menus?

The lead cook sets the menu, sometimes with feedback from the buyers (who
are more aware of prices and what's available in the garden, etc.)

- how far in advance?

depends on which day you are cooking, Friday morning is our BIG shopping
day, but some things get bought closer to the day they will be served
depending on what the buyers find.

- how do you store perishables? or does a buyer buy them often enough that
don't need large refrigerated storage?

we have many refrigerators and freezers - one is dedicated for common meal
support, with separate sections for each meal.

- what dietary restrictions do you have?

Every conceivable possibility - you name it, somebody avoids it.

- how many different cooks do you have?

Every adult participant (23 right now) is a potential cook. In practice,
about half of us cook on a regular basis and about half of us clean.

- how do you schedule meal shifts?

signup sheets a couple of weeks in advance. The shifts sometimes need to be
actively managed, to ensure they get covered. Especially when people are on

Our program is pretty ambitious, but its a really important part of our
social glue.

Great Oak Cohousing
Ann Arbor, MI
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