Eating and cooking together is a great way to build community and friendships. We have five weekday dinners, Sunday through Thursday, each cooked by a pair of people. The labor coordinator schedules people to cook dinner. Should you be unable to cook when scheduled, feel free to swap with any housemate. Sunday dinners tend to be a time when nearly all house members are present, which is why we usually have meetings on Sundays.
The house is not entirely vegetarian, but is certainly vegetarian-friendly. Vegetarians must be able to eat a yummy, complete and nutritious meal at each house meal. Our members also have varying tolerance for spicy food, so if you're making something spicy, try to make something milder too! Please make sure to wash fruits and vegetables before cooking with them. In addition, cooks can each spend up to $10 on ingredients specific to a particular meal and get reimbursed from house funds via the finance coordinator.
You are welcome to cook for yourself and for others at times when no house meal is planned. If you use house ingredients to feed non-members (e.g. cookies for a potluck), please make extra for us!
In addition to following good meat handling procedures, meat must be kept separate from vegetarian dishes. Treat dishes, utensils and surfaces that have been used with cooked meat as though they had been used with raw meat when you are going to use them on a vegetarian dish. Meat eaters and vegetarians are expected to live in harmony. Instances of intolerance by either camp will be settled by a fight to the death, with the victor either eating, or growing veggies in, the body of the other.
Cleaning after MealsEdit
Cleanup after the meals is handled by the dinner cooks and includes:
- washing dishes
- putting things away
- taking out compost
- wiping down the stove, counters and tables
- returning to put away the clean, dry dishes from the dishwasher and drying rack
While some people may enjoy growing mushrooms, in general the kitchen should not be a fungus farm. Clean all your dishes promptly. People tend to forget if they don't do their dishes right away and.... one or two dirty dishes tend to breed others! Hot water and soap should always be used. Also, clean any surfaces you have dirtied while cooking. Following these practices should reduce the chances of plague decimating our house.
We do encourage use of the dishwasher, which is less work and is often more effective than hand-washing! Dishes, cups, and silverware should go in the dishwasher, which should be run as often as needed. Pots, pans, knives, wine glasses and anything containing wood should be hand-washed instead, promptly after use. Cutting boards should be thoroughly dried before being put away. Pointy things, like knives, should be stored pointy end-down to avoid blindness. Check to see if the dishwasher is full or nearly so before you start cooking a house meal – it can be frustrating for after- dinner cleaners to face 14 new dirty dishes plus a dishwasher full or dirty dishes, too! If you have a few minutes to spare, putting away clean dishes is always appreciated!
We are often fortunate enough to have leftovers from our delicious dinners that we can save for later consumption. These should be labelled with the name of the dish and the date. Private food should be labelled with the owner's name and the date. Never leave only a small amount of a leftover in the container – we all know that this is just an excuse not to have to wash the tupperware!
If you are unable to attend dinner, you may email the house and ask the cooks to save you a plate, or add your name to the late-plate board. This is in the understanding that there may not be enough of everything to go around. Priority is given to people present, then plates are put aside, then people can get second helpings. Please use non-metal plates (metal cannot be microwaved) and label with the person’s name, date, and perhaps a drawing of their favorite animal. These will be saved for the person whose name is on the plate as long as possible, but if we are out of fridge space, housemates reserve the right to remove the plate at noon the next day.
In addition to having leftovers, we often have various bits of vegetable matter that can't be eaten (banana peels, old bread, carrot tops...). These should be composted. The plastic pitcher on or near the kitchen counter is for short-term storage, but vegetable scraps should be put into the big compost bin in the backyard every day. Various non-food items (cans, bottles, paper) can be recycled in the green bins by the back door. Please rinse out bottles and cans before recycling them.
To Buy or Not to BuyEdit
Most of the food we eat is bought by our house food buyers. Ideally, all members let the buyers know ahead of time what food items they will need for preparing house (and other) meals. Remember, cooks can do some shopping themselves up to $10 each per meal. It's also important to check that required items are truly missing before you buy! Dinner cooks can reserve foods they need for dinner by writing on the packaging-this saves them from surprises.
Our buying habits can change depending on the mood of the house, but we try to be healthy and respectful of all eating habits. Meat may be purchased for house meals or for other meals, but should be highlighted on the receipts given to the Finance Coordinator. Please note that in order to prevent food shortages, it's best to add an item that you notice is running low to the shopping list posted on the fridge.