When I took the four session webinar, “Discovering Sharing Housing” one participant, a chef, mentioned that one of her must haves was a home-mate who appreciated good and healthy food. That statement resonated with me because my late partner had a tendency to eat a lot of processed food. It was a rare occasion when he actually ate vegetables. Because we had different views on food–mine was you are what you eat, and his was I’m immortal nothing will kill me–we began to eat different meals and at different times (he liked the early bird times, whereas I wanted to eat between 6:30 and 7:00 pm). It’s important to take the time to get to know your needs so you’re aware of issues that will be important to you.
Looking back to how we ate when our relationship was relatively young, the concept of breaking bread together had been important to us. Planning menus, shopping, and cooking together formed a bond and that also carried over to when we entertained. Our friends and family congregating in the kitchen, enjoying a glass of wine or pitching in with the chopping, basting, or stirring.
Why that changed isn’t relevant to this post, but when I reach the point that I want to share a home with someone, it’s important that we share the same philosophy about food and the concept of breaking bread together. Does it mean we both need to be eating the same meal? Not necessarily, but to be able to share a meal now and then helps build a stronger relationship.
Coffee Kitty and Weekend Brunches
One way to break the ice and get to know your new home-mate is over a simple cup of coffee. Back in my San Francisco days, my flatmates and I kept a coffee kitty and caught up with each other during the weekends over brunch. We’d discuss issues at our respective jobs, talk about events happening in the City, the state of affairs, and gossip. Nursing our coffees, eating our brunch helped form a bond that made our shared home a happy one.
Let Me Entertain You
One of the best ways to strengthen that bond is to entertain together. As I mentioned in my previous post, my flat mates and I shared holidays together. We also hosted dinner parties, inviting friends to join us for a night of great food. We’d shop and plan the menu together, share KP duties in the kitchen, and once our friends came over it was time to hang out in kitchen while we continued to prep the grand meal.
The Comfort and Kindness of a Shared Cooked Meal
Let’s also not forget about sharing a cooked meal with someone who might not be feeling well or is little blue. As Omar Khayyam wrote, “a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou.” What more can you ask for?
From all of us at Sharing Housing…Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza. Whatever you celebrate may you eat and share!
Learn more about how to live in shared housing: Keeping and Sharing a Healthy Lifestyle , You’ve Moved In. Now What?
I love this post because I too recognize the value of sharing food an important ingredient in a successful co-housing arrangement. When Sharon asked me if I liked to entertain I wasn’t sure what she meant. When we had our first party with 30 plus attending I knew what she had in mind! And I like it too. Not too often and not so many but planning and setting up we share. Because of her Parkinson’s there’s only so much sharon can do, but she foots the bill and I’m happy to do the schlepping. As for dinner, which I prepare she likes whatever I serve. And over the past 16 months we have many favorite meals. Thanks for sharing your story!
I’m so pleased you enjoyed reading it! Sharing meals together is so important to me. It just makes the living situation much homier and intimate.
Have a very happy holiday and a terrific new year!