Potlucks can be one of the most fun events that people participate in. Friends and food. What more can you ask for? No, seriously. What more would you like there to be, because so much more can go down at your weekly, bi-weekly, or perhaps monthly potluck. In addition to the food and socializing, some of the following can be happening: board games; video games; book club reading; knitting; watching the “big game”; watching the presidential debate (I would so be there for this!); listening to a speaker; and so much more. And if that wasn’t enough, you can also attach a theme to the potluck that can be applied to the food as well as the dress-code and activities.
I was able to head to a potluck this past weekend, but all this writing about potlucks is making me want to find out on Meetup for tonight! Northwest Veg , the group behind Portland VegFest (Oct. 22-23 this year) , puts on 2-3 potlucks a month so the opportunity to attend one is never hard to come across. Lucky me, I know. I actually don’t take advantage of these potlucks often, but on Sunday I went to their Portland potluck with a presentation by Dr. Craig McDougall and definitely enjoyed all the food and the educational information that was presented. And when I say, “I enjoyed the food,” I really mean it. The pastas, salads, lentil loafs, quinoa dishes, cookies, muffins, and other creative recipes…how can you not enjoy yourself?
There are so many reasons to attend a potluck (and I guess there are equal or more reasons to not attend one, but we’ll ignore those) so let’s delve into a few of them…
Share your favorite recipe.
Potlucks may or may not be the best place to try out a new recipe. I guess it depends on your confidence and cooking skills! Regardless, they are definitely a great place to share your favorite recipe and the food that recipe leads you to create. The people in attendance may love your dish and may want your recipe so it’d be a great idea to bring copies of your recipe to share with those who may ask you!
Try a new food/recipe.
Just as you may be asked to share your recipe(s), you may love a dish so much that you find yourself seeking out its creator! Potlucks are a great way to try something new (and maybe different) which can be great for giving you ideas and helping you branch out. You may be inclined to gravitate toward the food you know you’ll like…the safe food…but push yourself to try at least one or two dishes you normally wouldn’t try. You may end up loving your decision!
Meet new people.
This is an obvious one, but it will only happen if you are open to it. Talk to someone in line or start up a conversation with the chef of your favorite new dish at the potluck. Meeting new people doesn’t mean you have to become friends with them, but why waste an opportunity to do just that or perhaps expand your network which could benefit you socially and/or professionally.
Introduce people to your favorite snack.
I actually really like this part of potlucks and yes, it’s a bit different than following and swapping recipes. Let’s face it: we don’t always have time to cook a fresh dish let alone find a new recipe. So many things can get in the way of that such as not having the right ingredients, car problems, and, you know, life. Sometimes the best thing we can do to not show up empty-handed is pick up some chips and salsa. We’ve all done it! But how about instead of picking up the usual, grab your favorite snack that people may not have had before. For me, my favorite snacks that come in a package and would be good to share in a potluck-like setting are Beanfields Bean and Rice chips and Pacific Superfood Snacks kale chips (soon to be Made in Nature). Why Pacific Snacks? Because they simply make the best kale chips on the market. I’m not exaggerating. They are always the first to go whenever I bring them out. And Beanfields..Well they just up the chip game tenfold. With flavors such as Sea Salt, Barbecue, Pico de Gallo, and my favorite Nacho, they are great to enjoy in so many ways. You can dip them in hummus, guacamole, salsa, a bean dip or anything else you can think of. I’ve also crushed them up and sprinkled them in salads, soup (like what is about to happen in the picture above-left), a hot bowl of quinoa, and a veggie stir fry. Orrr you can just have them straight out of the bag! Whatever you decide to do, just be careful you don’t end up eating the whole bag before you even get to the potluck!
Ready to have some Beanfields and King Harvest hummus.
If you are in the Portland area, I highly encourage you to consider coming to a Northwest Veg potluck. There is always some kind of presentation happening so your bound to learn something new and the food that is brought never disappoints. If you are not in the Portland area, you can still find some potlucks. I’m sure a quick Facebook or Meetup search will produce some results, but if they don’t or if you aren’t interested in that, then start your own potluck. You can invite family, friends, colleagues, and/or even neighbors. It can be a great way to try some new food, meet some new people, get to know some people better, and just have fun! You won’t regret giving it a shot.