In coliving spaces, it’s kind of a tradition to have a family (or shared) dinners from time to time. The format always differs from one coliving space to another but the idea is always the same: spend some good time together around delicious food after a day of work and create meaningful connexions with other colivers.
Here at Alpiness coliving, we ended up having shared dinners every evening from monday to friday (don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds 😉 ) and in this blog post we will explain how it happened and why 🙂
Our temporary kitchen during the renovations
In fact, we have already experienced shared dinners from Monday to Friday at Anceu coliving in Galicia and we really loved it! There the situation is a bit different as the coliving is located in a super remote village (more remote than ours) and shared dinners are also organised to make the colivers life easier (you need a car to go to any shop there which is not our case). But honestly we just loved to share meals in the evening with other colivers… and also it was just great to cook once a week for everyone and not to think about cooking the rest of the week. It’s a very nice and efficient way of living together!
During the renovation phase of the summer 2023, we started doing the same because we only had a temporary kitchen with 2 stoves available (as we were working on the actual coliving kitchen). At that time, we were around ten people in the house helping with the renovations and it was just impossible that everyone cooks for himself on 2 stoves 😉 . So that’s how we started to organise groups of 2-3 people that would cook every evening for everyone.
Here are a few pictures of this period when we were cooking and eating in what is now the coworking space 😉
And it turned out that people really loved the shared dinners from Monday to Friday. It was a time of the day where we would all sit down together, relax, share some time, talk about the renovations or other things… It also allowed us to be more efficient on our respective tasks. It was for exemple great to know that after a full day of plastering walls in the house we wouldn’t have to think about cooking! 😉
And naturally, when we finished the first phase of the renovations (well… it’s never really finished 🙂 ), we kept organising shared dinners from Monday to Friday. We always asked our guests how they felt about it, if it was too much or if they would prefer another system… but they kept telling us how great this organisation was and how much they loved it 😉 . Even people that were not really convinced at first ended up loving it! So we just kept doing it 🙂 . Plus we cook in a brand new kitchen now 😉
How are our family dinners organised?
If this sounds a bit scary to you, don’t worry. Here is how it works and it’s actually pretty simple:
Once a week during our family meeting (weekly meeting where we organise a bit our week inside the coliving), we define the cooking schedule in fonction of everyone’s availabilities. The idea is pretty simple, when it’s your cooking day, you’re in charge of doing the groceries, cooking and cleaning the dishes on that specific day (by the way, we have a dishwasher 😉 )… which also means that the rest of the week, you’ll just have to sit down and enjoy some delicious home made food 😉 .
There are just a few rules to keep in mind:
- There should always be a vegetarian option in the meal… People have different diets for very diverse reasons (allergies, environmental commitments, eat more healthy and so on…) and we found that in most of the cases, offering a vegetarian option is enough. And in case some people have more restrictive diets, we will always find a solution… and so far it has never been a big issue.
- Family dinners are not a competition. We like to cook simple and healthy food for everyday life… There is no need to have a first dish, main dish and dessert every evening of the week. Of course it doesn’t mean we don’t put love in what we cook (or that you can’t cook a dessert if you want to 😉 ). It just means we try not to overdo it and to keep it simple.
- We try to cook balanced and diverse food… We do eat pasta and rice but we also try to cook lots of veggies, incorporate ingredients like lentils, beans, tofu… and we try not to over consume carbohydrates, meat and fish.
And that’s pretty much it 🙂 . You see, nothing to worry about right?
The benefits of the family dinners for the coliving experience
So far, having shared dinners from Monday to Friday has been great for the following reasons:
- It helps people to connect (both while preparing the dinners and while we eat): We all have different schedules / habits and it could be that we don’t really see each other some days… So it’s nice to sit down together once a day during the week to relax and share a meal all together. It is a small routine that helps people to get to know each other, to connect on deeper level. Same for the people preparing the food together. Spending 2 hours to prepare a meal with 1-2 other colivers is a great way to get to know them 🙂 .
- We eat super diverse food: Our colivers come from different countries and all have their own food culture / habits. Of course it shows when they cook and thanks to that we discover new meals, share our favorite recipes… And because we encourage people not to overdo it, we also eat quite healthy I would say. We never have crazy quantities in the evenings and we eat diverse meals.
- It’s a very efficient way to cook in a community: The way we organised our family dinners means that you only cook once a week while having the benefit of enjoying homemade food every day of the week. By dividing the dinners this way, everyone contributes equally and colivers just have to think about dinners once a week… which is super convenient and efficient.
- It’s cost efficient. You pay only once per week (for the meal you cook for everybody) and this is split with your co-chef. It of course varies depending on the menu you pick, but so far we’ve kept track of the expenses and we would say you can expect to spend about 25 CHF to 30 CHF per week.
- We sometimes even have leftovers for lunch 😉 : If there are leftovers from our family dinners, these are stored in the shared part of our fridges and colivers usually have them for lunch the next days.
Everything is always optional in our coliving! If for any reason you don’t feel like joining, if you have calls to take in the evenings, work to do… there is no obligation! Our experience so far shows that most of the people enjoy this organisation a lot! But if you have some personal constraints, we are happy to talk about it and I’m sure we can find some ways around 😉 .
So what do you think about our setup for shared dinners? Does it sounds scary to you or at the contrary, you would enjoy this kind of organisation? Don’t hesitate to leave us your opinion in the comment section below 🙂
In any case, if you’re curious about it and want to live/work from our little mountain village, book your stay now!