When I hear the word potluck I’m brought right back to the Baptist church days of my youth: maraschino cherry and cream cheese finger sandwiches in a fluorescent-lit gymnasium, Darlene the borderline bearded lady telling me “I saw that you didn’t have my eyes closed during grace!” (I ask you: how did she see to know?), scarfing down 30 different delicious mayonnaise-based bites in ten minutes, and calling it a day. The word potluck has a 1950’s practicality about it. It screams buffet-line grazing tables loaded with peanut butter layer squares and Jello molds. While enhancing as these are to your waistline, this just isn’t the stuff that truly memorable occasions are made of.
On the other hand, truly special occasions— such as your husband’s late October champagne birthday (lucky man, his champagne birthday occurred when he was old enough to buy himself a proper bottle of champagne)—often call for a fairly long guest list, and unless you have time to cook a proper dinner for 20 up right on a Tuesday night before your 8-4 wakes you at 6:30, then a potluck is in order!
My older sister— like any first child, likes to be in charge. Taking the bull by the horns, she taught me how to elevate potlucks to another level. My sister takes the luck out and ensures that all bases are covered, by assigning several people to a course, and maybe even a theme. Or, she waits until the food arrives and decides what items can work for each course. She sets the table like she would for any proper dinner, with plates and cutlery for multiple courses. With that, the 20-minute all you can scarf potluck buffet where there isn’t much conversation because everyone is quickly stuffing their faces becomes a 3 hour, multi-course meal.
On October 28th I took a cue from my sister and we hosted a spooky potluck. Krista and I focused on the décor, and left the food to fate. Here you have it!
Painting on the right hand of the mantle compliments of the guest of honor who was dressed as Bob Ross (best known for his "happy little clouds")
Words compliments of Edgar Allan Poe
Dead things compliements of the overgrown parking lot of what was formerly the North End Diner