Re: how many people for common meal...just starting
From: Bonnie Fergusson (
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2006 15:21:57 -0700 (PDT)
    We use an old fashioned way of tracking meals, we
have a calendar where cooks can sign up for doing the
common meals they want to cook and a Binder which has
a sheet for each common meal date which has a place
for the cooks to sign up and write in their menu and
how much each spent on food and then every person's
name in the community printed with boxes where you can
check if you want to go to that meal, if you want a
vegetarian meal and lines for guests if you want to
sign up to bring a guest or two.  A day or two before
the meal the cooks can draw a line through the page
"closing" the meal after which supposedly no one can
sign up (so you know how many mouths you are cooking
for).  In practice however there is always one or more
people who ask the cooks if they can come to the meal
after it is closed.  It's up to the cooks to decide. 
I always cook for more than are signed up in
anticipation of this but some cooks are careful to
make only enough and might say no.
The person in charge of tracking the meal money adds
up what the cooks spent and divides it by the number
of people who ate that night and charges each family
that amount times however many family members or
guests of theirs ate that night.  Every 3 to 6 months
we get a "bill" for our common dinners.  Some folk who
don't eat common dinner very often may be owed money
(if they spent more on the nights they cooked than
they owe for nights they ate), most of us owe
something.  Our meals generally cost between $3 and $5
a head and we don't charge for small children.  It all
works out.  And nobody has had to do any computer
programing to make it work.
            Bonnie Fergusson
            Swan's Market Cohousing
            Oakland, CA

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