Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pot Luck Food

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.    


Alicia said...

The Thai Salad sounds so delicious. I will definitely try it. Thank you for sharing.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I adore potlucks, as we call them in northeast Ohio. And I don't know this Thai Salad and will certainly try it.

Tea Party said...

Just in time Martha! The ladies are going to float the river...and it's a pot luck!

I think I like the part where you add the wisky to the dressing :)

Always enjoy your posts, especially this one!

On Crooked Creek said...

YuM!!! This "pot luck" made me just a bit "homesick" for our small town North of you on your end of the Prairie! We often had "pot lucks" exactly like the one mentioned here. Not so much on this end of the Prairie...possibly due to our urban surrounding!
I've been cooking and baking since yesterday to make a "double meal" so that I could take a "MoM's Menu" to our son and daughter ~in~law this evening!This salad sounds like a "keeper" recipe, indeed!!! Thanks for sharing!

Cass @ That Old House said...

Martha -- Do you receive the little newsletter "Cook and Tell" by Karyl Bannister in Maine?
Inquiring minds need to know ...
PS I have a casserole dish that my sister in law had made for us -- with our last name and "Hot Dish" on the side. It's adorable!

Canadian Chickadee said...

Sounds wonderful! Some of my favorite and tastiest recipes come from ladies who were kind enough to share at the potlucks.

But you didn't mention one unfortunate downside: My mother belonged to a women's club which had an annual pot luck ... there was one poor unfortunate who couldn't cook. (Actually that's being kind -- the woman destroyed food -- burnt it, over salted it, left the chicken bones in, so that eating anything she brought was a true test of will and stamina!)

But she's the only person I know whose contributions weren't universally adored!

Because I love pot lucks!

Tammy at Tammy Loves Dishes said...

Yum, the Thai Salad sounds delicious. Pot luck dinners are fun times.

The 2 Seasons said...

Yum my mouth is watering. I will be giving this a try.

Michelle said...

I have never cared for cole slaw. Then, several years ago, when we lived in Minnesota, I was at a dinner gathering and someone brought an Asian flavored slaw and I just loved it. I never got the recipe though. This one might just be pretty close to it and I will definitely have to try it and find out!