Re: Common meals - mandatory participation?
From: Muriel Kranowski (
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:26:55 -0700 (PDT)
Common meal participation is voluntary here. We put out a Meals Teams
signup calendar 4 times a year for the next 3-month rotation, calling for 3
cooks and 4 cleaners for the Sunday night prepared meals, and 2 cleaners
for the midweek and one-Sunday-a-month potluck dinners (with adjustments
for some holidays and special events), and send out notes asking folks to
please (please!) sign up.

Someone transfers all the meals teams info from the paper signup sheet to
our community e-calendar, and once a week a message is auto-generated to
our listserv showing who is signed up to cook and clean in the coming week.

This would be a great reminder system except that not everyone reads it and
sometimes people forget to show up to clean, or forget to mention that
they'll be away on their scheduled date. The head cook gets in touch with
the co-cooks a few days ahead to plan the cooking work and make sure
they'll be available, but no-one personally contacts the cleaners in
advance. Sometimes you can phone a missing cleaner the night of the meal
and they'll hustle over to the CH; other times one or two of the diners
just pitch in.

A few households either never or extremely rarely participate in common
meals. Two of them don't participate in anything - they or their tenants
just live here. Three others that come to mind participate in general
workshare but not in meals. I wouldn't want to co-cook or clean with
someone who hates it and feels coerced to do it, and as long as they don't
make other people cook & clean for them (ie, they just opt out altogether),
I feel they're missing an important element of living in cohousing but that
is their choice.
   Muriel at Shadowlake Village Cohousing

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