Cooperative Living: Week 3

Week three and I’m doing laundry and using the laundry line outside to air dry clothes. We’re harvesting from the garden daily as well: squash, zucchini, tomatillos, corn, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cilantro, garlic,

We were told not to worry about how much each of us eat, or who cooks, or how much time each of us are putting into the house.

“That’s in the weeds,” Sam tells us. “We have much more important things we’d like to be thinking about than that. If someone fixes dinner, come over and eat it. If you want to fix dinner for everyone one day, go ahead and do it.”

Earlier this week we realized our freezer had completely defrosted, so we spent the evening shlopping melted unidentifiable food parts into the compost pile out back, and then prepared a massive stirfry with everything salvagable and invited people over to help us eat it all.

On Friday Carp’s aunt and uncle made a surprise visit to Syracuse, and we sat and had tea with them in our new kitchen.

Later that night we had strangers using our shower and brushing their teeth in our bathroom while one of my fellow Collective members leads a salsa dancing lesson in our living room.

On the weekend I went shopping for the cooperative’s food for the first time. The way that it works is much simpler than I had imagined. One person from each of the two houses goes shopping together, and we each get food for the house. Mostly we are just refilling the bulk foods we keep: dry beans, nuts, granola, spices, bread, veggies, fruits. We pay for the food at the time, and then that money is deducted out of our rent check at the end of the month. It’s pretty great. At any point during the week if we run out of something, anyone can run to the tiny food co-op we shop at down the street and buy whatever is needed. They just note that they need that amount deducted off their rent check as well.

I’ve been getting more creative with foods, partly because we have all raw foods here and most things need to be prepared. There are no quick snacks or treats in general, besides a bowl full of granola topped with a drizzle of maple syrup.

This morning before I went shopping, our house was almost completely void of easy to eat food. I pulled a few things out of the fridge, and came up with patty pan squashes, zucchini, tomatoes and corn on the cob- all from the garden.

Within an hour, I had concocted an awesome bean, tomato, squash, zucchini, corn and sage saute that tasted like restaurant food. I realized it’s not that we exactly run out of food in the house ever, it’s just that we need to get creative.

Sunday night we had our potluck outside and a bonfire following.

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midwestern librarian, writer, activist

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