About a week ago, I came across a post on Yahoo's Shine blog called Why I hate a good potluck. In it, the author announces that she isn't a fan of potlucks and proceeds to detail the eight different kinds of potlucks that she's observed over the years and the reasons why she don't like them.
While I believe that everyone has the right to their own opinion, I feel I must speak up in defense of the potluck. I have a deep appreciation for potlucks (or depending on your region of the country, covered dish or church suppers). I see them as opportunities to taste new foods, visit with friends and family, share recipes and generally enjoy the company of your fellow human beings. Sharing food and eating communally is one of the oldest practices known to humanity and too often these days, we isolate ourselves during mealtime, choosing the television or the newspaper over interaction with our fellow diners.
I realize that I'm in a unique position when it comes to potlucks as I've had a more than normal exposure to them over the years. My parents' 1970 wedding was a potluck (not that I was in attendance, but that event made them a legitimate way to cater a large gathering). Growing up, my family attended a weekly Monday night potluck dinner at our Unitarian church. In high school we potlucked our way through play rehearsals and in college my roommates and I hosted many an impromptu communal meal. I feel that potlucks enhance life and should be embraced as a way to spend time with friends and neighbors. As the economy tightens, they are also a viable way to socialize without spending vast amounts of money.
I invite you to embrace the potluck. Why not throw a simple one together this weekend? Invite people over for brunch and ask them to bring a dish (muffins, quiche, orange juice and fruit make a wonderful spread). Sunday afternoon, make a pot of soup and invite a few neighbors over to partake, asking them to bring bread, salad and some little sweet. However you do it, gather together and share some food. Your life will be better for the experience.
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