Anyone who attends church on a regular basis also has participated in a "pot luck". The typical after church meal served in the fellowship hall where ever member brings a dish for the communal food table.
Here on the prairie, we call it a Pot Luck but other areas of the country call it:
A Hot Dish Dinner
A Carry In Dinner
A Covered Dish Dinner
And for those who collect cookbooks, there are even whole cookbooks on the subject in case you're a "pot luck" newbie and can't remember what your mother always brought to church!
The Pot Luck table is laden with food -- there are always old favorites like cheesy potato casserole and green bean casserole and always a platter or two of fried chicken (although now it's more likely to come from KFC rather than home) but pot lucks also showcase what is new. A pot luck was the first time I tasted that broccoli/raisin/sunflower salad (now a classic pot luck food) and the classic pasta salad (not the macaroni salad I grew up with but pasta and vegetables in an Italian type dressing). And, of course, here on the prairie, jello salads are always a part of a pot luck. Your choice of pink or green or red! And whoever brings deviled eggs always brings home an empty dish!
Then there is the dessert table. Desserts are too serious to put with the regular food. They need a table of their own. At my old church, St. Paul's, Mrs. Sitz Lemon Meringue Pie was the favorite dessert. Cut into 8 pieces, you almost had to be no more than eighth in line to score a piece! Alas, at our current church, there is no Mrs. Sitz and her Lemon Meringue Pie. In fact, rarely is their a lemon meringue pie as one of the offerings. But we don't lack desserts. Oh, no. Chocolate cake, cobblers with fruit in season, and homemade cookies are almost always some of the dessert offerings. And it's hard to just take one -- so you see little half pieces of the pies and cakes in the pans for most want to try some of everything!
To go along with the desserts, the big 100 cup coffee maker is always filled for we mostly German Lutherans have to have our coffee! Both with the meal and with dessert!
The Pot Luck is the women's domaine although the men set up the food tables. (We women would not do physical labor at church1) We put on tablecloths and put out the food making sure that there is a spoon (or fork) in every dish. Plates, cutlery and napkins are put out at the head of the table and the Pot Luck always follows the meat, casserole, salad set up.
At our church, we always start with prayer and often we sing "Be Present At Our Table Lord" before we attack the food table.
Sunday, our church had our annual End of Summer Pot Luck. I never bring anything "tried and true" preferring instead to search cookbooks for something new to try.
I found this wonderful recipe for a Thai Salad -- although salad, is really a misnomer for it's really a coleslaw.
It's good and I did "tame" it down a bit by not adding the jalapeños. Children, I felt, would not find them "friendly".
Even though there were other coleslaws offered, I brought home only enough for our dinner Sunday night. It's a keeper of a recipe and does have Thai flavors. And I will make it again. For other buffet dinners for next time we have a church pot luck, I'm sure that I'll try a new recipe again!
|Thai Salad, my Church Pot Luck offering Sunday|
1 small headed green cabbage, shredded
1 small cucumber (I used half an English cucumber), sliced thinly
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
2 green onions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 cup dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/3 C. vegetable oil
1/3 c. white vinegar
3 T. sugar
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
2 T. salsa (I used the Asian sweet and sour sauce -- Maipoi is it's name I think)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small sweet red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, cucumber, carrot, peanuts, green onions and jalapenos. In a separate bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and whisk until well mixed. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss.
NOTE: Because there were kids at church I did not use the jalapenos -- but when we had it for dinner I did add some chopped sweet picked "sweet heat" jalapenos.