It is a mystery to me that any potluck party I go to has yet to have two dishes exactly the same. What law of the universe is that? The Food Timeline website had this to say about potluck:
The term “potluck” has two meanings; both practices are related and have ancient roots:
- Taking one’s chances with what is being served (in the cooking pot) – Travelers and other unexpected guests took their chances (luck!) with whatever was being served that night.
- Community meal composed of food contributions. – Early societies often pooled food resources for special occasions (weddings, funeral, etc.)
Tonight’s potluck of finger foods was no different. The table was filled with an array of proteins, temperatures, spices, colours and presentations. It is hard to imagine that something so random, so unorchestrated, can be so attractive. Like art, this feast was a special cornucopia unique to this group of people, meeting on this day, in this particular location and can never be duplicated again. We sure knew it was going to be absolutely amazing food but did we appreciate the one-of-a-kind quality and rarity of this image in that moment? Perhaps not. I know I didn’t until I was home with the pictures. But there it was. The ah-ha. So many artists at work, contributing to the final food-painting. The eclectics of potlucks makes it one of the richest and most colourful food experiences we can have together. That empty table each time is the same starting, blank canvas, but once it is weighted down, the canvas comes alive with yet another original masterpiece.