Tuesday 11 August 2015

A group of people, eating together.

Sure, these days it’s more likely to be a group of people distractedly staring at one or several flickering screens, but they are together nonetheless. In the case of a group of people who have decided to live socially, it’s a good informal forum, even if the only topic under discussion may be the chefs cavalier use of salt. 

For me one of the most exciting parts of the cohousing idea has been the large group meals. Why? Put simply, it’s something I think I can help with.

Since joining K1 my thoughts have been split evenly between consideration of mine and my partner’s future house, and fitting out the Common House kitchen. The logistical challenge of feeding dozens of people poses questions that have me obsessively scrolling through catering websites. Do recipes scale linearly? Do the ratios in a Delia Smith beef casserole have to change once you increase the quantity from 4 persons worth to 40? My mind plays host to a procession of comically large pots. It all sounds like tremendous fun, I know the group contains people with professional catering experience and I hope they can fill in the blanks. 

A family usually has one grown-up who ends up being the primary cook. Despite the recent renaissance of cooking in the UK, and the likely presence of one or several recipes plucked from the pages of the Guardians Food & Drink section, any cook's repertoire will have its limits. It seems fair to say that a group with more cooks will, allowing for some overlap, be able to create a more varied weekly menu than even the most ardent foodie. Unless, of course, they all exclusively read the same bits of the aforementioned Food & Drink section. 

I think that with support and encouragement, people who don’t normally spend a lot of time pottering in the kitchen can find “That Thing I Like To Make”. It’s an opportunity for those without the time to cook to eat home-cooked meals using fresh ingredients. Equally an opportunity for those who fancy themselves as competent cooks to take on new challenges. In my case, exclusively vegetarian or vegan meals. 

There are still lots of questions, and a few good places to find answers. One of them being, unsurprisingly...


“The data collected from the survey, what folks told me, and observations from community visits over the years have confirmed my intuition that common meals are for most, if not all residents, "The glue that holds us together."”

Written by Dave