Re: Meals [was Common house design
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 26 May 2015 11:23:45 -0700 (PDT)
> On May 26, 2015, at 12:33 PM, R Philip Dowds <rpdowds [at]> wrote:
> Cornerstone does the buffet thing, and I see it as producing long lines and 
> some messy crowding and cross-reaching.  I don’t find that it is a good way 
> to start a meal.

We serve from both sides of the counter or table. It helps a LOT to have 
someone helping with serving. Helping children, being sure two serving spoons 
are available. Refilling bowls or putting out additional condiments. Bread and 
pies/cakes already sliced. Butter not ice cold. If a dish has a lid (like the 
rice cooker), there is a place to set it down while serving yourself. Cutlery 
is sorted so people don’t have to fish around. 

Buffet serving does take oversight, at least for the first servings.

It also helps to put beverages and desserts in other, separate places. And to 
spread out dishes so they aren’t all on top of each other. We don’t have room 
to do this, but it would help.

In some serving lines (I don’t remember where), I’ve seen the first serving 
done from the dining tables so the dishes can be spread out and then 
consolidated on the counter after the first line has passed through. That way 
the tables are available for diners but also help with serving. This would also 
be helpful for children and those in wheelchairs because they could reach the 
food sometimes. They have to have plates made for them now.

These are all things to think about when planning a common house. Even if you 
don’t have children or people in wheelchairs now, you will.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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