Re: data on the benefits of cooking together.
From: Elizabeth Magill (
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2009 07:35:46 -0700 (PDT)
A comment last night in our Cohousing group:

"It was so great to come home from a long trip and find there was a potluck I could come to instead of needing to cook alone in my home."

That wasn't me, but I sure do love having a common kitchen here at Mosaic Commons, in Berlin, MA. And I'm very pleased to have my own kitchen, too, as I sit at home having coffee and breakfast and introvert time.

And I work with great folk in downtown, about 1/3 of which live in SROs or rented rooms.
(The remainder are homeless.)

Those that live in SROS and rooms find that their food costs are greatly increased. Essentially, it is easier to eat out than to negotiate the various rules and personalities that come with a common kitchen.

One guy cooks a meal for his neighbors in their common kitchen about once a month. They love the way it creates community to share in this way. But the other 29 days he sneaks a hot plate into his apartment to avoid the squabbling over the common kitchen.

The trick to intentional community, I think, is that all the participants are "intentional" about being part of it.

(The Rev.) Elizabeth M. Magill
PastorLiz [at]
Worcester Fellowship
PO Box 3510 Worcester MA 01613

On Oct 19, 2009, at 10:21 AM, Joanie Connors wrote:

I think that the issue is much more complex than this.

I'm sure there are psychological benefits, but cohousers have a strong
commitment to sharing and use a great deal of structure (signup lists,
systems for costs) but there are still problems that must be hashed
out in community meetings.

Without that strong commitment, I don't know how east Harlem residents
would cope with dividing the work, costs and cleanup.

On Sun, Oct 18, 2009 at 8:34 PM, Daniel Bowman Simon <dbs429 [at]> wrote:

hi, i am working on a conceptual project for an urban planning class at nyu.we need to put a significant # of residential units into a large development in
east harlem.
i'd like to propose that kitchen spaces be communal.
i am looking for data that shows economic, health and other benefits of cooking and eating together. hard data is most helpful, but anecdotal
evidence is welcome as well.
also, any photos and rules for such kitchens would be nice to know.

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