A Cooking Cooperative

I went to an anarchist potluck this evening. Among the things we discussed were the problem with restaurants and trying to build communities.

Afterwards, Kristen and I went to see the Protomen and while shaking my booty, I came up with an idea to work on those two problems.

  1. Open a grocery store.
  2. Right next to it, open a restaurant.
  3. Create a website for collecting recipes.
  4. Create another a site where people state foods they would like to eat and days on which they are free to eat them.
  5. Through some sort of mediation and voting process, tables and dishes are chosen for restaurant reservations.
  6. The one or two people at a table who haven’t cooked for the longest time meet to cook.
  7. They get whatever groceries they need from the grocery store.
  8. They cook the food and eat the meal with the other people that grouped online.
  9. Preference reservations to favor locality and people that fulfill their obligations.

Let’s say the restaurant seats 60 people at 15 tables. That mean, what, 40-50 meals a night? That’d allow quite a bit of variety in meals and would mean for me the consumer that I get quite a bit of choice in what I eat each night.

It would take the community members in the area of the restaurant and regularly sit them down together for a meal. I like the idea of a church as a place where people come together for peaceable community building, and this might serve some of those functions in a secular way. Instead of getting to know the community in one big group as a congregation, you get to know them in depth four or five at a time over tasty food.

It would also encourage people to sit down and eat rather than sucking down dinner in front of the TV. TV is the spawn of the devil. Well, perhaps not that extreme, but least it’s second cousin. I think almost anything that shifts the boob tube to real person ratio in people’s lives is probably a good thing.

So far as resource allocation, many of the implements of cooking could be shared. The biggest thing would be the actual food. It comes straight from the grocery store, so it would be fresh. Items could be prorated depending on the quantity used if there were refrigerators available for storage. You could charge a minimum of 50% of store price for getting something from the store to incentivize using already opened things. If things were done properly, it seems like food waste could be reduced beyond even what happens in normal households where food goes bad all the time.

The mean reservations, and thereby your diet, is in a computer system. Eventually you could have algorithms that help people stick to diet plans that they are interested in or that makes dietary suggestions.

Another thing that this would do is let amateur chefs strut their stuff. Some people will be really good at cooking and there will be a demand to eat with them when they’re going to cook. Even a minor notoriety such as that seems like it would be entertaining for someone learning the art of food.

Maybe after I redo the world wide web, open a bar and a bank, I’ll have spare time and I’ll do a restaurant / grocery store. ☺

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