Signups for mealplan happen at the beginning of each quarter. If you're on our social mailing list, pika-social at mit.edu, the signup form will be sent to you then. If you're not on the list and/or want to join mid-quarter; email pika-mealplan at mit.edu to sign up.
Short answer: anybody! pika's mealplan is open to residents and non-residents alike. Non-resident membership is not at all unusual; the mealplan is often only half residents! Non-MIT students and even non-students can also join--we usually have a few of them around as well.
Mealplan is typically around $100 per quarter, which comes out to just a couple dollars per meal.
pika offers two mealplan options:
Both plans are the same price; the only difference is frequency of kitchen duty. All residents have full mealplan included in rent. Non-residents typically choose half mealplan.
Part of cooking for pika is making sure other pikans are healthy. All our meals have vegetables and protein. We always have gluten-free and vegan options, including vegan protein. Also, we post a spreadsheet of mealplanners' favorite and least favorite foods; it's previously been standard to offer cilantro-free and mushroom-free options as a courtesy to mealplanners with strong preferences.
Once a week, we have a fancy supper that we advertise to our social mailing list.
If you're going to be late for dinner, put in a request to lates.pikans.org and the cooks will save you a take-home box!
Sometimes, pikans and mealplanners use pika's kitchen and house groceries to make extra things, usually baked goods. As long as the results are shared with the house, and the dishes are cleaned afterwards, this is totally OK!
Sometimes, pikans get together and bake. We don't actively advertise this, but if you hang around after dinner on the right nights and ask the right questions, you might be lucky enough to find yourself in the midst of one of these spectacular events.