Summer Potluck

We gathered together some friends this past weekend for some food, some drink, and some good conversation. As always, I did put some thought into the menu for the event. This group is a touch more adventurous than average but the group comprised a lot of kids. The folks over 30 only just barely outnumbered the folks under 8. Since the main goal for hosting the event was to catch up with some of my favourite people, I didn’t want to spend any time in the kitchen. I wanted as much of the food as possible to be served cold or at room temperature and for it to be easily self-served. I figured the less distracted I was at the event with food, the more time I got to see my friends. Also, almost everyone attending offered to bring a little something. I’m too much of a menu control freak to allow for an entirely potluck event. I planned to cook some items that would anchor the party and then everyone else chipped in everything else.

I prepared:

Gazpacho, Southern fried chicken, corn muffins (recipe from Joy of Cooking), pasta salad (the ‘church lady’ variety with tuna, celery, radish, and mayonaise), and a green salad with buttermilk ranch dressing (mostly my own but inspired from Joy of Cooking), and Keith’s (ok, I bought those, I didn’t make them!)

My friends brought:

Drinks, crudités, chips and guacamole, a barley salad,  watermelon and grapes, and a charlotte russe with homemade lady fingers, vanilla Bavarian cream, chocolate ganache and macerated strawberries.

Even though the menu was fairly simple, I think each item was prepared very well.  The meal wasn’t gourmet by any means but entirely enjoyable nonetheless. And I think it fit the bill for a quintessential, easy summer party meal.

How about you? Do you have a ‘go to’ potluck item? What do you bring with you to an informal summer backyard bash?

5 thoughts on “Summer Potluck

  1. Oh my, “‘church lady’ salad” made me laugh out loud.

    For BBQs or potluck I like to bring a salad that travels well but does not contain any mayonnaise. Sometimes I improvise (like that quinoa salad) or I look up a recipe. The vietnamese chicken salad from Hot Sour Salty Sweet in particular is great.


  2. I like to bring a starchy salad. I have a favourite potato salad which uses mustard instead of mayo, which is the potato salad they make at Aunties and Uncles, and whose recipe was quietly and quickly shared with me just before I moved to Berlin. I went there with Peter for a final fix, and mentioned to the waiter/co-owner that I came for one last serving of potato salad before moving to another continent. Ten minutes later, he slid over and told me the recipe, with no proportions given. I’d tell you it, but then I’d have to kill you.

    I have a not-so-secret love of Church Lady Pasta Salad, even — or maybe especially — with tiny cubes of ham.


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