Potluck has two basic meanings - they're not the same, but they are related. The first way of thinking about potluck is to think, literally, about the luck of the pot. My Mom used to invite people over for lunch or dinner at the spur of the moment. She would always say, "you'll have to take potluck," meaning that whatever she finds to cook and serve is what the meal will be. Often, those potluck meals were leftovers and little dibs and dabs of this and that. These potluck meals were only served to relatives and very good friends - they were meant to emphasize the company and conversation, not the food.
The other and more common meaning of potluck involves a meal where people bring food to share with others. It's customary to bring enough of a dish for nearly everyone attending, but you need not plan to feed everyone full servings of your dish. This way, you don't have a lot of leftovers but people get to try a variety of foods during the meal.
Now, how to organize a potluck depends on the organizer. I've been invited to potlucks where not only was I told exactly what to bring, but was given the recipe to use. Other potlucks have involved signing up for a category of foods, such as dessert, breads, entrees, vegetables, or salads. That is a good way to organize your party because you're pretty sure to get a good variety of foods. I've also been to potlucks where we're asked to bring whatever we want. Once, I went to one of these potlucks; 12 women attended. And we ALL brought shrimp! I recall that there were about 8 chilled peel-and-eat shrimp platters, 1 shrimp dip, and 3 shrimp salads! Our hostess scrambled in her kitchen and found some assorted crackers. I had a tin of Altoids in my bag, and so that's what we had for dessert. We had lots of good shrimp, a good laugh, and a resolve to organize it just a wee bit more the next time.
This blog will involve both of these: some weeks it will be a little bit of this and a little bit of that; other weeks, it will be more organized and I'll attempt to give good variety throughout the life of this blog. And, as always, I'd LOVE it if any of you have something you want to say. After all, the very best potlucks involve everyone contributing something!
See you next Sunday.