Re: about meal cleaners
From: R.P. Aditya (
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2012 09:04:24 -0700 (PDT)
[Martha, I'm sending this to C-L just in case others are interested in
a possible answer to your question]

On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 08:41:56AM -0700, Martha Wagner wrote:
> I am the original poster of the question about finding people to clean
> the kitchen after meals. Why is this work popular at your community?
> Cleaning of any spaces is not generally a popular job at my
> community. Is it the sociability? Is it popular more with a particular
> group, such as teens?

Of course, I'm not 100% sure why it is the case, but based on
conversations I have a theory that in our community, the cleaner job is
consistently popular because it is:

- social (you work directly with others) 

- you have help doing it as part of a team so it doesn't seem as daunting

- you don't have to cook to clean or vice-versa (we have many cooks who
  will not clean and many more who are happy to clean but never want to

- happens after business work hours

- it is for a fixed duration (so it is easy to tell how long it will
  take and when you are done)

- is easily tradeable (because there are so many meal shifts)

- doesn't involve a sit-down meeting

- everyone feels competent at doing it after the first time

- feels like it really helps the community and thereby leads to a sense
  of accomplishment

- doesn't feel as weighty a responsibility as a head cooking shift

- you get to use the Hobart! (warms you up in winter and you feel cool
  after your shift in the summer) -- mostly just kidding on this one

assistant cook is also popular, but since it typically involves work
between 4-6:15pm it isn't as easy for many adults to participate because
they are at work

we have 4-5 meals a week, and we have fairly low turnover, so many of us
have been cooking and/or cleaning a few times a month for 8+ years and
see it as a routine in our lives and so it has just become habit. I
know, for me, this plays a big part in it not feeling like a chore or
something I resent.

It is a fairly serious social blunder to miss your meal shift (we have
automatic email reminders, online calendar etc. and scheduling is done
in advance every 3 months) and so it doesn't happen very often, but does
provoke palpable ire especially when it happens more than once for an

There are of course as many reasons as there are people, so the above is
my best guess at the list.

Great Oak Cohousing
Ann Arbor, MI, USA
(where we take our eating very seriously)

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