I don't have much to go on; my memory is very hazy. I only recall the idea of the story, which is that a city in the future becomes so full of people that they can't have their own kitchens ... There's not enough room, and even if there was, they can't move produce into the city fast enough to distribute it to shopping centers.

The only way people can eat is in huge community canteens, and then only in very strict shifts. If you miss your shift, you don't get to eat until your next allocated shift.

That's all I remember. But I'd love to read it again. Any guesses what the story could be?

Many thanks.

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  • What do you mean by "old"? 1930s? – user14111 Feb 19 '17 at 22:27
  • I really can't say for sure — pre 1970s for sure. – 4D4M Feb 20 '17 at 17:19
  • My memory of that story merges with elements of "The Roads Must Roll", so it might have been in an anthology with that. But what sci-fi anthologies don't include that story? – 4D4M Feb 20 '17 at 17:20

Community canteens feature in Isaac Asimov's novel The Caves of Steel, in which humans of the future Earth live in crowded underground cities. The protagonist, Elijah Baley, has a typical housing arrangement: he lives with his wife and son in private sleeping and sitting quarters, sharing a large dining area and bathroom facilities with the district's other residents.

  • 1
    Perhaps. Other stories by Asimov describe societies so efficient that it's impossible to have, e.g. pets, which would be a huge waste of needed resources. – Mr Lister Feb 20 '17 at 9:16
  • Sincere thanks, Gaultheria. I'll read The Caves of Steel and report back. – 4D4M Feb 20 '17 at 17:22

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