Party time, the third!

It’s coming. The third potluck. I think back to when I started this blog, and I can hardly believe it – the original plan was 35 recipes and 4 dinner parties. The 35 recipes has mushroomed, but I’m still only 2 out of 4 for the potlucks. Thankfully, the third is coming. When N expressed just as much excitement as I did about the idea of a party themed around soups and breads, we decided to go halves on hosting again – she’s going to bring friends from where she lives, 30 minutes away, and I’m inviting friends who live in my town, all the join each other for some autumnal enjoyment at my house.

Soups are one of my favorite foods, and that’s a little strange because they weren’t hugely important in my childhood. My dad makes a mean Korean noodle soup, and my Mom knows her way around a pot of chicken and dumplings, but purees, chilis, etc. just weren’t that common for us. However, I’ve got big plans: I’m going for a chunky tomato and gouda (won’t call it a bisque because my tomatoes may not whip up smooth, but a soup nonetheless) and a version of my curried butternut squash soup that has some apple in it for added sweetness and depth. I want to make the buttered-bowl peasant bread again, and then something for dessert… I will dig through the recipes I still have to use, but I’m thinking maybe gingerbread? Tasty but also autumnal in their flavors?

One of my favorite parts of eating soup is dipping a really good piece of bread into it, so I hope to have a wide variety of soups and breads to share with you once the party is over and the soup has all been packed in pyrex to take to work the next day. I’m hoping for good fall weather, though, because we have had a bit of a heat wave lately.

 

Anatomy of a Potluck

I keep going to wonderful potluck dinners and I realized that there is a bit of a good “vibe” that a potluck in a home can gather. If you have somewhere bigger than a home, I can see how more people, food, activities, etc. could be good, but this is the way a great potluck looks in my mind’s eye…

Many people were invited, but around 8 to 10 total guests say yes and arrive – the potluck needs a variety of dishes but everyone needs to be able to listen to any particular great story. Ideally, no more than half of the people will be all close friends, because it’s so nice when some folks have to introduce themselves and there’s at least a little bit of chatter that is new to folks. I’ve been to a lot of potlucks where Husband doesn’t know how to talk to my former classmates, because he didn’t study what we did – it’s nice when someone else from a different stage of life or profession is there.

A variety of food and drink is always nice, and as my friend N says, it’s good to have more dishes and sides than desserts. At N’s latest potluck, there was a nice variety of food based in countries around the world, which meant there was a fair bit of oohing over curry and ahhhing over egg rolls. The food brought us into conversation about a special topic.

Husband loves parties where there are games to play, because it brings everyone’s focus onto one thing, while I love parties where we can talk all evening, really getting to know each other. We tend to mix these two in our parties, but I want to get better at bringing in party games like Table Topics, where both my chatter-focus and his game-focus can be satisfied.

I’m really excited to add my last, favorite element of a potluck this summer: the outdoors! A grill, a game in the backyard, and just watching the sunset or a crackling fire are definitive of summer time dinners.

As for the best dish to bring to a potluck… that’s where I’m stumped. I’ve developed my go-to casserole for new parents, but my potluck game is pretty lacking unless I’m at home with my kitchen right there. Any favorite treats for a potluck? If you send me a link to the recipe in the comments, I’ll totally try them and tell you how they go over at potlucks this summer.