The thing that surprises me most about the traditional cohousing developments I’ve read about (by “traditional,” I mean those that are based on a neighbourhood rather than a home) is how rarely people actually eat together.
It seems to be unusual for people in a cohousing development to take meals together more than once a week. Some plan community meals no more than once or twice a month.
To me, planning, preparing and sharing meals together is one of the big draws of a co-housing community. I love cooking — but not every day. I love cooking — but not for only two. I even like clean-up — but it’s more fun to do it with others.
And the act of eating together is in itself a powerful tool of community building.
I presume anyone who wants quiet time, or just isn’t feeling sociable in the moment, would always have the option of fixing a plate and taking it off to their room. And they should be able to do so with no one thinking unkindly about it.
But in our co-housing model, the assumption is tilted toward sharing at least the evening meal as a norm.
We’re going to start compiling some of our favourite recipes here (where they’re easier to find).