April 19, 2010

Share some food, y’all!

104_0309 Growing up in a small town in the south provided me with a true sense of community. And there's nothing better than members of a community coming together to help each other out when things are tough as well as to celebrate joyous occasions. Since food is always at the center of any good gathering, the potluck was born. The term potluck comes from the idea that you might have to whip something up at the last minute for a surprise guest, serving him the "luck of the pot." I think this concept has many names, but in the south, the most common ones are a potluck or a covered dish supper. Whether an annual community event, a local fundraiser or just a bunch or friends having a good time, I have never been to a bad potluck. Its inevitable that two (or three) people will bring the same dish, but the great thing about this is that you can try the same dish, fixed three completely different ways. Many a beloved recipe has been passed around across the potluck table.

DSC00548Food, Inc. is a new documentary by filmmaker Robert Kenner which gives an in-depth look into the ins and outs of the food industry. The film is being shown in a special broadcast on Wednesday April 21, 2010 at 9pm on PBS as part of the 23rd season of Point of View (American television's longest-running independent documentary series). It is important to have a dialogue about issues such as this and documentaries are great at getting those types of dialogues started. 

In honor of the film's premiere, PBS is encouraging viewers to host their very own Food, Inc. potluck and viewing parties. The film will be available streaming from here April 22-29. If you are interested in hosting a party, get the details here. Or just check out the PBS website for some great potluck dish recipes, pictures, and chances to win prizes!!!!! Even if you don't host a potluck, the film is sure to be informative (although they warn that some scenes are less than appetizing so you might not want to actually watch it while you are eating).

It seems like there are some dishes that always make an appearance at a potluck (green bean casserole, anybody?), but I love to discover something brand new to try. I have a couple of standard dishes that I always make and take. One of these is Paula Deen's Tennessee Caviar (yes, I changed the name to reflect my state). It is super easy and doesn't require extreme temperatures. My other is a cheesy corn casserole. All you do (isn't that a typical southern way to start instructions!) is mix a couple cans of drained sweet corn with equal parts shredded cheese and mayo (like a cup or 2), stir it together and bake in a casserole dish. I didn't say it was health-food, but it improves my mental health. You can sprinkle green olives on top if you like!

Ok, I need to know. What are your go-to potluck dishes? Please share all of your fabulous recipes (if they aren't a family secret) and if you just go to Kroger and buy a pie, share that too!