Our food system

Cooking/House Dinners

House dinners are the foundation of the co-op. It’s when cooking and eating that you bond with your roommates. These bonds make living in the co-op enjoyable and make respectful, straightforward self-governance possible. Two people cook together for each house dinner, and they aim to make enough food to serve 8-10 people (in case the house has guests), with leftovers available for lunch or dinner the following day. These two people also wash and put away all the dirty dishes from the dinner.

Each house's cooking schedule changes depending on the schedules of the people in the house. A typical house schedule has communal dinners four nights a week—Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday— with dinner at 6:30p.m. on Sunday and 7:00p.m. on the weeknights. Some houses cook vegetarian or vegan house dinners, and some houses include meat or gluten free options. In omnivourous houses, there has to be something substantial in the dinner that meets everyone's dietary preferences. Most kitchens have at least two refrigerators, one for house food items (that are bought with house money and belong to everyone) and one for personal food items.

When cooking, it's good to allow two hours to cook dinner, so begin at 4:30pm on Sunday or 5:00pm on weeknights. It is OK if cooking doesn't start right at that time, but make sure the person you’re cooking with knows when you’ll be arriving. Talking with the roommate you’re going to be cooking with ahead of time (earlier in the day, the night before, etc.) about what you’re going to cook or who’s going to be in charge of which parts of the dinner (the main dish, the salad, sides, etc.) helps cooking run smoothly. Making good food for 8-10 people can be stressful and chaotic. Preparation is crucial. Special ingredients you want to cook with for house dinners (things houses don’t buy regularly week-to-week) can be obtained by either buying those things yourself (limit $15/house dinner) and getting reimbursed, or by putting it on the grocery list before the shopping trip.

Most co-ops assign two people to be grocery shoppers. They use a house debit card and go to the store a couple times a week to keep the kitchen stocked. The monthly food fee is $125. There are areas in the kitchens to keep your own food, but the $125 buys enough to cover all your meals for the month.