Thursday, March 19, 2009

You Should Fuddle More.

The full-extent of my geekness is revealed when it comes to potlucks. You may have thought that high-school debating accomplished that (provincial champs 1999, yo!) but you’d be wrong. My obsession with potlucks launches me into the nerd stratosphere, and boy do I love space!

According to Wikipedia (I’m no longer in university and don’t have to seek out reliable sources, ok?), synonyms for the word potluck include “Jacob’s Join,” “Pitch-in,” Carry-in,” “Bring-a-plate,” and “fuddle.” FUDDLE!! How strange and great.

Everything about a Jacob’s Join is splendid----the planning, friends, food…..I just can’t get enough. It is my belief, simply put, that the world would be a better place if people potlucked more. Here’s why.

The greatest benefit of a Pitch-in, obvious and groan-worthy as it may be, is that it brings people together. Even if you’re complete strangers who’ve arrived bearing the same vintage casserole dish at a friend’s home, it doesn’t take long for people milling around a food-laden table to get talking. It’s the perfect way to meet new people and catch up with old friends.

Next, the food. People tend to go that extra mile when making their Carry-in dishes, therefore building a wickedly rich, calorie-rific buffet for all to indulge in. Unless of course you are attending one of the many raw-vegan potlucks I’ve seen advertised in Victoria, which I’m sure offer lovely conversation, if nothing else (did I type that out loud?)

Because everyone has a different style of cooking, a Bring-a-plate not only exposes your palate to great food, but may introduce it to something entirely new. For those who love cooking, different dishes are likely to instigate the swapping of ideas, techniques, and any other gastronomic wisdoms gleaned from the Food Network or, even better, culinary school! I have yet to be to a potluck where the food wasn’t fantastic, even the time when we failed to communicate to each other that for breakfast we were all bringing muffins. And what a spectacular muffin-buffet it was.

And then there are the endless creative possibilities! Potlucks can either be wonderfully eclectic, drawn together by a theme, or a little bit of both. Whether the food is inspired by national or regional cuisines, classic recipes, holidays, or dishes created up on a whim, the possibilities are endless and give you a chance to flex your culinary muscles.

Of course, there is the possibility that all those attending are wildly unenthusiastic potluckers, in which case you may end up eating nothing but store-bought chips, salsa and dry cookies. These people are addressed in the Points of Potluck Etiquette compiled by my friend Caylee and I (who, incidently, was my debating partner. She joins me in the nerd stratosphere by sharing my wish to make potlucking T-shirts that read “Brunch Like You Mean It.”) There are only two points, and they really are very simple:

  1. First Rule Of Potlucking: Effort. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if your dish turned out like the soup in Bridget Jones’ Diary (blue), or if your macaroons got torched. What matters is that you put in the time and effort to make something for those you are joining. Bringing something store-bought puts you on very shaky ground in our book because ultimately it shows a lack of effort on your part (the clause in this case being that you were either given very late notice of the event and/or have recently broken your back, legs, or arms). If I sound judgemental on this point, it’s because I am. Do not be intimidated and run to the store; try cooking something, anything, even if it’s scary! I would rather eat a blackened cookie made with love than one made with apathy by Mr. Christie. This leads me to my second point...

  1. If you absolutely have to buy something, then whatever you bring has to be QUALITY. If you can’t put in the time, then put in the money. That is it.

Can’t wait to see you at one of the many, many Fuddles I will be attending if the near and distant future.

1 comment:

  1. i love love love potlucks. and i love this blog. and i love food. you should visit Mississippi...the gastronomic traditions down here are intriguing, historic, and ALWAYS include deep fried something. Seriously, if you ever want to visit the Deep South, I've got more hookups than you can handle.