Friday Nov 24

Amanda-McGuire Potlucks make me nervous. I’m always worried people are going to bring the same thing. Or that there won’t be enough food. Or that someone’s child coughed all over the salad bowl and I’m going to get a cold that lasts months. Or that I’ll be the only one who will have made something “special” and everyone else will just get the prepared veggie tray from grocery store. Or even worse, that someone will use fish sauce or shellfish and I’ll end up in an ambulance.

What’s funny is: none of these have ever come true at any of the potlucks I’ve been to. Most times I walk away with cozy feelings, new recipes, and a few plates of leftovers.

Needless to say, I experienced much of the same panic when I decided to turn Plate to Palate into a potluck. Instead of this issue having a theme, it would include all kinds of food writing that readers could experience like a potluck, an assortment of dishes to graze on and discuss before moving onto the next.

At first my call for submissions was met with silence. I bit my nails and obsessively checked my email. Then, all of the sudden, a week before the deadline, there appeared an abundance of submissions. The luck of the pot!—an expression that goes back quite awhile.

For the history lover, potlucks originated during the Middle Ages in Europe as meals for unexpected or uninvited guests. In the late 19th century, folks in the US used them to simplify menu planning and cut costs for communal meals.

But potlucks are more than budget friendly green bean casserole or new takes on pasta salad. Potlucks bring people together. And the food creates lasting bonds. Which is why this issue is so dear to my heart. At this literary potluck, I met some new food writers and reconnected with ones from my past.

Kathleen Rooney and Elisa Gabbert’s collaborative prose poem is robust and hearty. The made-from-scratch bit by Terri Griffith will leave you mesmerized by its zest. There’s a bit of the old world cuisine in Greg Byrd’s thoughtful piece. Jeannie Kidera brings home the bacon with her salty and spicy essay. A tribute to local flavor is found Arielle Greenberg’s enlightening narrative, and in Anna Kauffman’s contribution her humor walks us through a bunny-free meal. Katherine Willis Pershey rounds out the potluck with an essay that captures the cooking’s childlike quality. As always, it’s my hope that you’ll dive right in and enjoy each morsel this issue has to offer. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to submit your own food writing for upcoming literary potlucks here at Connotation Press.