Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gotta Love a Potluck

Don't you just love a potluck dinner?

I can remember loving these events as far back as my memory will take me. My Grandma Blanche helped organize potlucks at the local Grange Hall in northern Wisconsin.


As I've mentioned before she was a little firecracker, barely 4 feet 10 inches tall. That's her leaning over in the hot pink and white dress. Look at the lady behind her in the half apron. Gotta love aprons as much as you do potlucks.

The beauty is that everyone brings their best dish, lovingly made from their best (and sometimes guarded) recipes. After awhile you begin to look forward to these dishes and if the person brings something different, chaos ensues!

Here's just part of the spread at my neighbors recent pig roast.


This was the snack station and pretty soon this table was groaning under the weight of good things. Layered taco dip, chips and dip, deviled eggs, cowboy caviar and tortilla chips were just some of the goodies.

The dining room table was loaded down with desserts and the big island in the kitchen was covered with the pork, beans and other goodies.

It was an eating and visiting fest. I love when people come together over good food and I'm so thankful for neighbors who host these parties.

But...... can you believe in the county where my sister lives potluck dinners are ILLEGAL! The County Health Department has made it illegal to have a potluck dinner with homemade food. This applies to events that are advertised to the public. A church could have a poluck if the information was kept inside the church walls and not publicized in the newspaper or any other way.

Call me crazy.... but that's CRAZY, and probably un-American. There's nothing more iconic in the midwest than a potluck dinner. I'm pretty old and I've never heard of anyone even getting ill from potluck food. The really bizarre thing about this is that my son and daughter got extremely ill after a potluck dinner but it was from the store bought milk that contained salmonella. This was a big, big story in the Chicago area and thousands of people were ill and some hospitalized. Remember, NOT from the potluck food but the store bought milk.

Call me foolish but I'll take my chances and eat that delicious potluck food.

Is there a special dish that everyone expects you to bring to these events? Are there areas that don't have potlucks. How about Europe ..... do my overseas readers enjoy potluck dinners or is this a north American thing?


Becky said...

Oh Lord! I haven't heard this one. That just takes the cake. I don't understand why everything has become so difficult. So are personal parties next?!

My favorite food at potlucks is the deviled eggs. I'm all over the deviled eggs.

Thirkellgirl said...

We started going to a new church last year and I was so excited that they have monthly potlucks! It's a true potluck, some months are better than others. Somebody always makes chili, I seem to have cornered the fancy-salad prize with things like broccoli-bacon-raisin salad and chinese-chicken-salad, and somebody always makes a great chocolate cake.

Tess said...

I am famous in the surrounding 3 counties for my potato salad. My grandmother taught me how to make it; adding a little bit of magic at the end. Yum.

Yours at the Menger,


Vee said...

I do love a potluck...the finest food around. Usually. I'm still staying a mile away from Marta's Pea, Rice, and Pork Special Casserole. *shudder*

Now that is crazy. Somebody has just gone overboard in the big brother department. There should be a big old hullabaloo over that decree. What are the candidates going to eat if they can't have potluck? Where will it end?

Lisa D. said...

Potlucks illegal? That is madness!
I have fond childhood memories of church potlucks. You always have to know who brought what because you need to know what dish you will want to try, and whose dish to always avoid. Then, you make sure your parents are nowhere near when you go through the line and you sit on the opposite side of the room from them, because parents have crazy opinions about what should be on your plate - like including veggies, and more entrees than desserts, etc.
The church I grew up in always had lots of homemade pies for dessert. Our current church has a monthly soup and bun potluck, and I am known for homemade buns, or focaccia bread.

Lily said...

Potluck dinner - sounds really great.
When we have a party it gets more and more usual to ask if you shall bring a cake or something. And when I am invited to our fireworks seeing and drinking session I usual take a big bowl of my homemade cheese-salad with me.

LeslieT. said...

Potlucks. Ah, such fond memories. The staple of my youth.
These days, at family gatherings I'm always asked to bring my garlic cheese dip and some crackers. Since I've gotten lazy in my old age, I'm pleased as can be to get off with just making a big batch of dip. I do also make a couple of other easy things on occasion to add to the festivities. My sister doesn't get off so light though -- we all frequently beg for her broccoli bake. Ummmm, all that cheesy goodness, surrounded by tender broccoli. I hardly ever eat cheese. Except, as you can see, at family gatherings. There are no calories if you eat standing up, right?

Millicent said...

I love potlucks. I don't understand why the gov't feels it must get involved in our everyday happenings. I also read where they are trying to outlaw growing vegetables in Michigan.

Our church has a potluck 3 Sundays a month. It was good at first, but now it's such old hat (and I'm sure ladies running out of time each week) that we keep seeing the same ole stuff and it's not their best (as you mentioned). My kids wanted to do a rating system. The higher your rating that week, the closer to the front of the line you would be ;) I think once a month would be better - better food and times.

Aaahhhhh for the simpler things in life.....

Anonymous said...

Would any of the ladies be willing to share their recipes with you and therefore all of us? I'm particularly interested in the garlic cheese dip.

Most of my potlucks these days are at work. As for me my fruit salad and my pasta salad are always a big hit. Lately I get lots of requests for the corn and black bean salsa I make. Yes these recipes are up for grabs if anyone is interested.

Marilyn from Norfolk

Sandy said...

My go-to dish is a big ole pot of chicken and dumplins! Either that or a three layer fresh coconut cake. I'm making myself hungry! My Mom went to a potluck recently and all they had was CORN. I think they'll assign dishes from now on!!

Paula Jo @ Outdoor Garden Decor said...

Oh, I remember potluck dinners growing up, and when I grew up with my own family, there was several occasions for potluck dinners. I always made strawberry pretzel delight. I've even made chili, deviled eggs, potato salad, and the list goes on. I've even been to several that you exchanged recipes and that was alot of fun.

Ruta M. said...

Pot-luck dinners or as we call them here bring-and-share dinners/lunches are not so common here in the UK. Mainly when it is a group of friends getting together. Our last church sometimes organised such meals but generally you would chose a ticket which would specify the kind of food to bring.

lifeinredshoes said...

Outlaw potlucks? Why that's just un-American!
The thing I see happening around here, is more and more people are bringing something they picked up at the store, not much is homemade :( Isn't that part of the fun?

jrmom said...

When I first opened this post it was like looking at a picture of my family. My Grandma had 12 sisters and brothers so we had many many potluck gatherings. Every August we still have a HUGE family reunion and everyone brings something to share. When you talk about your "favorites" Great Aunt Sis was our resident baker. She always brought big pans of apple pie...YUMMY! Sadly she passed away a couple years ago...what a wouldn't give for a spoonful of apple goodness, some of her coconut buttercream icing and a hug.

It's sad that government feels they need to outlaw this wonderful tradition. They must not have anything better to do.

Thank you for sharing. Btw what is on the snack table to the left of the deviled eggs? Looks delicious.

Thirkellgirl said...

A few years ago, a church not far from here gave food poisoning to a couple hundred people with a church dinner to which they sold tickets. That was the impetus for cracking down on church suppers around here. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

Marilyn said...

In addition to Sandy's note I one time attended a dinner where all everyone brought was chicken. Not sure this was an improvement over only corn. : )

A closer look at your picture Suzanne shows me that as usual the deviled eggs have already taken a huge hit and that some poor soul tried to dip that yummy looking mexican dip with a potato chip and had to leave it behind. The picture really does tell the story.

Marilyn from Norfolk

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Illegal potluck suppers? That is insane! So are they going to raid Sunday School potlucks? So ridiculous, but I did hear once of a 6 yr. old boy being arrested for pointing a fish stick at another child at the lunch table!
Well, it is dreadful to think that someone could get poisoning at a church supper, but I still can't see how you can legislate that! I am careful about what I eat at public places. My family has had the most troule eating at Taco Bell--we don't eat there anymore!

Suzanne, I DO remember a knife sharpening/scissor sharpening man!!! I had forgot--we also had broom salesman, and of course Fuller Brush and vacumn cleaner salesmen--different times.

Packrat said...

Popping in to say hi. Oh, heavens! Illegal potlucks? Isn't that illegal?

Deb said...

Oh Lordy do I remember potlucks. We went to the Church of the Nazarene and potlucks were common. My mom's specialty was fried chicken and potato salad. She used to get so mad as a family from church used to bring bologna sandwiches and eat all our food:). It is sad here in CA as people bring bought food which I consider a sin at a potluck!!!