Thursday, June 5, 2008

Potlucks: Windows to Your Soul

I love potlucks. The appeal is obvious: No one person does all the work, there is always way too much food and lots of things to choose from, and mayonnaise features heavily. I am devoted to mayonnaise. Mmm, emulsified fat.

And now, the point goes off the rails:

Let me tell you about the best potlucks in the WORLD. We lived in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu, for a few years when I was young and both my brother and I were very active in sports. The best potlucks ever are on Oahu after baseball games. Seriously, if you're ever there on vacation, skip the beach on a Saturday around lunchtime and crash a Little League potluck. Who's gonna know you're not a parent? The quality of the food has a lot to do with the very large Japanese population on Oahu. This results in the BEST noodle salads and sushi and . . . nnnghhhSLUUURP. Sorry, the nostalgic drool got away from me there.

Aaaand, back on the rails:

So I was reflecting on potlucks when we went to a potluck birthday party for our friends' son last weekend. I was also considering that what you bring to a potluck says a lot about you. Your tastes and cooking skill are on display to the whole world. I mean, think about it (as I obviously have in exhaustive and irritating detail). For instance, I used to bring deviled eggs to potlucks at work. They're always a big hit, of course, but they don't scream "sophisticate," now do they?

For the potluck on Saturday, I brought a fancy non-mayonnaise pasta salad featuring spinach and feta. Clearly, I'm trying to improve my standing in the world. Social climbing via salad.

And now I would like to form a snap judgment of your character based on your food choices. So tell me: What do you bring to potlucks?

9 comments:

jiveturkey said...

My husband's family reunion (held every Labor Day in the middle of rural WV) is basically a giant potluck. Problem is, most of the attendees are older than dirt, which means the food is sometimes...not so good. And I get the impression most of it is leftovers. But anyway, I usually bring a raspberry cake w/ whipped cream for icing (DROOL)to that particular potluck, but since it's a royal pain in the ass to transport, my standby for every other potluck is pasta salad. I have about 9857698 recipes for pasta salads. Nom nom nom.

Drew Kime said...

Hmm, what's the last potluck I went to ...

Oh, that's right! Just this past Memorial day. And I brought 200 pounds of beef.

I win. :-P

Okay, I just helped with the beef. What I actually bring is usually bruschetta on toasted pesto-garlic bread, made with basil from the garden. Mmm, basil ...

SaraPMcC said...

I usually bring some sort of salad. That way I know there is something there that doesn't have meat and that I can feel good about eating...then I don't have to feel as bad about eating all the desserts! I have a good recipe for a spinach-strawberry salad. Also, I brought one to work once that had romaine, red onions, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds (I think that's it), with a nice dressing, and I don't think anyone but me ate it (did you have any, Kristin?). Anyway, I'm not a big fan of potlucks, actually, because I'm a germophobe; you never know where people's hands have been, and now they've been all over your food.

Krysta said...

Fruit Kabobs. I stick them standing up in a bed of crushed ice. They are alsways gone because who doesn't like food on a stick?

The Constant C said...

I try to mix it up, but my fall-back is tabbouli. Very simple, not the most boring salad ever, not the most simple carb on the table. Lemon, salt and cucumber make me happy. Also endless variation--add some feta and orange rind in a a more adventuresome crowd; substitute spinach for parsley if you have a bunch of white bread eaters...

mil said...

I had a spell of being sick of pasta at church suppers. So I shopped for an inexpensive ham at P& C, popped it in the oven and relaxed while everybody else was chopping and boiling and saucing. Everybody loved the big, bone-in ham. But now that we have hams from the pig we bought, I have a horror of the slick pink meat from the grocery store. Back to the drawing board. (Kristin brought back only an empty bowl. Sad me).

Meadow said...

I usually only attend smallish events, and so I bring odds and ends. Usually whatever new recipe I've been wanting to try. For example, at the last event I brought cumin-lime spiced nuts, rosemary-peanut butter popcorn (kinda like popcorn balls, but not a ball), and a barley veggie salad.

Since I like most everything, having an audience allows me to discover what "normal" people think of a recipe.

Ms Picket To You said...

chicken satay. peanut dipping sauce.

beer.

Anonymous said...

You brought the gourmet pasta salad and my co-workers all brought booze. What does that say about them? :)