Re: Meals
From: Catya Belfer (
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 2015 07:31:00 -0700 (PDT)
Thanks Liz, I had a draft going but hadn't send it out.

To add to Liz's description (I write from the cook's and
assistant-to-awesome-scheduler point of view here):

* Cooks eat free for the meal they cook.
* When a cook sends out the menu, sie adds rsvp deadline.  If you rsvp for
a meal, and don't un-rsvp by the deadline, you get charged, doesn't matter
if you show up
* People who have not rsvp'd who want to come are often accommodated, the
cook makes the call depending on how much sie cooked.
* Leftovers are in their own fridge with a sheet on the front, honor
* Cooks who end up with a huge positive balance (who, me?) get cash back
from the scheduler when he feels like it to help balance the books.

It's an evolved, and thus somewhat complex system, but it works (really
well, in my not so humble opinion) :)  Number of meals is limited by how
many volunteers we have for each role, the limiting factor is sometimes
cooks/assistants and sometimes cleanup.

We also have a bunch of special meals for holidays, like next wednesday is
traditional jewish break-fast for dinner.  (my mom has cooked 95 blintzes
so far.  i think she's a little nuts :)

AND, the cooks have the option to do more expensive meals sometimes, if we
announce it.  e.g., I will soon do a fettucine alfredo meal that runs about
$6/person in ingredients, so as long as I tell people that, we can charge
them extra.  Those happen every couple months.

     - cat

Catya Belfer   -
Technical Director   -
Cohousing in MA -

On Wed, Sep 16, 2015 at 4:17 PM, Elizabeth Magill <pastorlizm [at]>

> Yes. At Mosaic Commons, in rural-ish Berlin, MA we have a system where, so
> far, you can do what you want to do.
> We have 34 households, oodles of renters, and I think that 3 households do
> no meals work (not counting the renter who just moved in nor the family
> with a member in hospice). There are several individuals who do no meals
> work.
> I personally have not done any meals work since I gave up the scheduling
> job 3 years ago.
> We have 3 meals a week (I think about once a month dropping one due to
> lack of workers). I can't think of anyone outside a small percentage of our
> renters who don't come to SOME meals and a large majority of the community
> comes OFTEN to meals. No one comes to them all. Meals run from 12 to 50
> people, but tend to be about 30.
> People tell the scheduler what they want to do for the next two months
> (cook, asst cook, clean-up) and what are their restrictions (not this date,
> only Tuesdays, only dinners, no mornings, etc.), and how often they want to
> be engaged: clean runs generally 2-5 times in two months, cooks 1-2 times
> per month.
> Our scheduler creates a big outline of the meals, and stickies with the
> volunteers, and people who want join him in making the next schedule by
> moving around the sticky squares. (when I did it this took 2-3 hours every
> 2 months but I didn't do the cool come help method.) (ALSO every two months
> one of the geeks said "there should be a way for a program to do that for
> you. I finally just learned to say "ok" and ignore them.)
> Cooks plan, shop, and budget (delegating whatever they choose to the asst
> cook), keeping their meal cost around $1 per person less but no more than
> $1.00 per person more than the amount we charge for the meal.
> Eaters read the email which gives the food, the adaptations available for
> food allergies and preferences, and a deadline to sign up. They sign up
> (generally by google form, sometimes by email) and then show up and eat. As
> part of the sign-up they identify if they should be billed half or full,
> and some cooks ask which items the eater plans to eat. Dinner is $4 and
> other meals are $3.50 (i think!!!)
> (Most of the time our meals have vegetarian, meat, nut-free, and gluten
> free options, many also have vegan and meat without dairy options.)
> Cooks turn in a sheet with who ate and how much they should be charged
> (that is, full or half) and how much they need to be "reimbursed". No
> receipts are required, and usually the household doesn't get any money
> back, it is just credited to their account. THose of us who never cook must
> put money into our account.
> The meals account is kept separately from the HOA and cohousing funds and
> handled by a volunteer.
> We also pay about $1 per serving for leftovers. This keeps our system
> "flush" for when someone falls behind in their account, and we sometimes
> use that extra money for food for parties.
> We are a new community (just 6 years from move-in) and our newly started
> "getting the work done" ad hoc team is discussing the challenges new
> communities face. I believe they are discussing now whether we will have
> "work" and "meals work" as one item or two.
> -Liz
> (The Rev.) Elizabeth M. Magill
> 508-450-0431
> On Sep 14, 2015, at 6:52 PM, Ann Zabaldo <zabaldo [at]> wrote:
> >
> > Are there any cohousing communities out there that allow members to pay
> only? And not cook or clean?
> >
> > Under what circumstances do you allow this? For instance if a person has
> a new baby, is elderly, has a serious conflict etc.
> >
> > Do any of you have a system in which only some people cook and clean and
> other people only pay?
> >
> > Thanks!
> >
> > Ann Zabaldo
> > Takoma Village Cohousing
> > Washington DC
> >
> > Sent from my iPhone
> > _________________________________________________________________
> > Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> >
> >
> >
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

  • Re: Meals, (continued)
        • Re: Meals Kathryn McCamant, September 14 2015
        • Re: Meals Muriel Kranowski, September 14 2015
      • Re: Meals Kathy Tymoczko, September 15 2015
      • Re: Meals Elizabeth Magill, September 16 2015
        • Re: Meals Catya Belfer, September 17 2015
    • Re: Meals Sean Davey, September 15 2015
    • Meals Rod Lambert, September 15 2015
      • Re: Meals Sharon Villines, September 15 2015
        • Re: Meals Sharon Villines, September 15 2015

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.