Re: Common house meal prices
From: Ann Lehman (
Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2018 15:28:08 -0700 (PDT)
Our meals at PDX Commons appear to be a bit more expensive ($5-$10,
generally $7/8) but our system is fairly easy except that it involves cash
and more people.  Cooks sign up in advance, currently for a meal on a
Monday or Thursday. They also ask for helpers for both prep and clean up to
sign up (can be 2-6).  The cook is responsible for shopping for food, we
have a kitchen team that takes care of basics but often we end up buying
something for the kitty.  Folks sign up for a meal and the cook just adds
up how much they spent (honor system no receipts), divides by how many have
signed up and sends out an email on the day of the meal with the cost.
There is sign-in sheet where you can check off your name and having paid.
Anyone can take leftovers although generally, cooks take first. Our meals
include a salad, main course, and dessert.  The bar has been set fairly
high for meals, which can be intimidating for some so a lot of folks just
help.  If you sign up you pay, even if you don't show, you can have a meal
saved if you are late. You can sign up guests but they (or you) also pay
for their meal.  There is generally (but not required) a vegetarian,
non-gluten option. BYOB for drinks other than water or tea.  Our latest
addition (but not required) is for cooks to provide a specialized drink for
the helpers:-) This is our first year so we will see if we can maintain
this as time goes on.

Ann Lehman
Governance and Gender Consultant
Zimmerman Lehman*forging futures for nonprofits
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On Sat, Jun 23, 2018 at 11:37 AM, Sharon Villines via Cohousing-L <
cohousing-l [at]> wrote:

>  in actuality the charge is usually somewhere around $6, give or take .50.
> So, it’s not a set charge but based on the actual cost of the meals that
> quarter. Easier for cooks not to have to stress if they’re a tad over
> budget because it all works out in the end.
> On all the comments on “it works out in the end” — In the early 70’s I was
> book keeper for a Unitarian food coop. On Sunday people placed orders and
> on Saturday morning a group of 3-4 people would go shopping at a large
> vegetable maket on the wharf. While they divvied up all the vegetables into
> paper bags for members, I would tally up the receipts. They were pretty
> good about bringing back receipts but often, like Farmer’s Markets, the
> vendors didn’t give receipts. If anything, shoppers would have little
> scraps of paper with an amount but not the name of the item or just tell me
> what something cost. And sometimes what members had already paid for with
> their orders (people actually used checks and cash then) was too much or
> too little.
> The books never added up. Everyone was doing the best they could and there
> was no doing better given all the circumstances.
> Instead of showing unbalanced books or trying to figure out what was
> missing and not closing the books until I figured it out, I created an
> Ostrich account. Except for refunds for unavailable items, all overs,
> unders, and missings were credited to head in the sand. The purchases
> and/or receipts were usually under or over $25. We were purchasing for 15
> or so households. And miracle of all miracles, over the course of year, it
> always balanced out.
> (We lined up the bags with order sheets for the next week under the coat
> racks and people picked them up on Sunday.)
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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