Re: dishwashing topic
From: John Patterson (
Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2012 11:24:38 -0700 (PDT)
After hovering on the edge of this fascinating cleanup/meals/ dishwasher thread, it's finally irresistibly to plunge in. Here in our 32 unit Burlington East Village Cohousing community, we proudly, happily, and generally tastily offer common meals every even numbered weeknight (plus a potluck on the even numbered weekend night).

Our community members have an obligation to help cook once a month. Each cook crew has 4 members -- a head cook, two assistants, and a late clean-up person, and each crew is separately formed (i.e., for one meal only, something that offers variety in menu and a chance to hang out with different people each time). Meals cost $4 for adults, $2 for kids, and meals include vegetarian/carnivore alternatives. In addition, our head cooks (I'm definitely not one) also do a quite amazing job of honoring a fairly extensive list of dietary restrictions.

We have two residential-style dishwashers (I'm told that using commercial style dishwashers would propel us into a situation where we had to have regular inspections by the state health department -- and our dishwashers do the job). Yes, they take a while to run -- but the task of unloading them does not fall to the late clean-up person. Instead, unloading the dishwasher is treated as a separate task, a "job" (part of our community's work requirement) that two folks have signed up to do regularly. (Another of of regular jobs involves the deeper cleanup of the stove and frig that goes beyond what we'd expect from the late cleanup person.)

Does all this always work perfectly? 'Course not. But it's pretty darn good, and I'm truly grateful to (a) several foresighted members who insisted that establishing an extensive common meal program was a great way help build our community (there's nothing like eating and socializing); and (b) our common meals committee, that keeps things running pretty smoothly and gracefully.

John Patterson
Burlington East Village Cohousing
Burlington, VT

On Jul 3, 2012, at 12:52 PM, Martha Wagner wrote:

To answer Ruth's question about whether there is a correlation between types of dishwashers used and ease of finding after-meal cleaners... I can't add much to the conversation. We are currrently using a standard home kitchen dishwasher in a kitchen which is too small for cooking and cleaning when we have more than about 20 or 25 diners. We have designed a larger, better-equipped kitchen for our new dining hall (finish date TBD) where we will use a commercial dishwasher and have the ability to reduce the noise factor with a sliding wall. Thanks, Adi, for the helpful information you've offered/

Martha Wagner
Columbia Ecovillage
Portland, OR

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