Potlucks, Paranoia, & Pumpkin Pie (part 2)

[In case you missed it, part one is here.]

Apart from my paranoia leading up to the potluck, it was a success overall. The day turned out to be warm, albeit a little windy. Okay, a lot windy. One of the college students who sat outside at the picnic table to eat had long hair, and when I looked out the window, her hair was blowing horizontally. But it was still good to have a place for the little guys who came to the potluck to run around. (And luckily, the previous owners of the house had a very deeply dug metal swingset that is at least safe enough our friends trust their kids playing on it.)

We had marrieds and singles, kids and adults, college students and middle-aged. All we really need to complete the circle are a few senior citizens to stand in as grandparents. I’m sure we can swing that eventually. Friends from church, the philosophy dept, the college broadly, and our neighborhood came, and it was nice that not everyone knew each other. Luckily, our friends are friendly and like to chat. That’s why they’re our friends.

In fact, our neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. A, who’ve been mentioned here before, came with their newborn, and they were greeted at the door by folks they didn’t know and welcomed to the party before I even heard them arrive. (Later, I saw their newborn being carried around by another one of our friends, even taken outside, so clearly they were willing to trust these friendly strangers.)

The potluck itself was “harvest” themed–and in addition to the butternut squash-apple soup and bread we provided, we had a pork and pumpkin stew, some fruit salad with nuts and cranberries, some baked mac & cheese with cauliflower in it, baked spaghetti, and then cookies, pumpkin pie, and ‘cushaw’ pie. (The latter is basically a pumpkin pie made with a big green and white winter squash instead of pumpkin. That might sound strange but since rumor has it that canned pumpkin in the store is often canned cushaw, we’ve probably all had our fair share of cushaw pie without even knowing it.)

I don’t know what next month’s potluck will involve–different folks? Different food? Different stresses and chaos leading up to it? Yep. But there’s one thing I can guarantee it will involve: a big batch of community.

Until then, go cook yourself some cushaw, and let me know how it goes.

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5 comments on “Potlucks, Paranoia, & Pumpkin Pie (part 2)

  1. elizabeth says:

    My bad. This wasn’t supposed to post yet. Darn military time scheduling.

  2. Christi Hemati says:

    Did you organize who would bring what? And did you send an invite out to everyone you knew at church, or just some people?

  3. elizabeth says:

    Hi again, Christi. I didn’t organize who would bring what. The way it has worked out for us is that we’ve been wanting to do this sort of thing for some time, and so as we’ve had people over this summer, we’ve casually mentioned it to folks. Then, we finally decided to do it on a monthly basis in October, and two days before our first official potluck I sent out an e-mail to folks I thought might be interested (some from church, some from other places, we wanted it to be a diverse group), asking if (a) they would be interested in participating in something like this regularly, and (b) whether they could make it to the first one. The majority wanted to do it and thought it was a great idea but couldn’t make it with only two days’ notice. We ended up having ten or so college students and one other couple that first week, but we’d made a huge pot of chipotle beans and corn bread, so there was enough food to go around.

    We picked the date for the November potluck a few weeks ago and I sent out an e-mail early and didn’t ask for official rsvp’s or anything but did tell them what we would be making (and I suggested that they bring something harvest-ish, though I said anything was fine). The “invite” list was haphazard, including people who seemed like they’d want to participate, and I also invited our neighbors or whoever else it came up with when chatting in person. In the long run, I’d like to get to the point where it is much more laid back and people feel like they can invite others, so that the “invite” from us doesn’t necessarily mean anything “special”… but we hope to get at least a few regulars at the first couple of potlucks, in order to have a base of food and fellowship that will begin to feel normal for a core group of people. I’m not sure if that made much sense. We can chat on the phone about this if you want, or shoot me an e-mail.

    As you know, some people make a big deal out of getting together for a meal as if it is a ‘special’ occasion, and we really want it to be a normal thing (rather than a special thing) to just eat with friends and fellowship together.

    As we think about raising kids especially and what community is, we want fellowship to seem the norm in our house, possibly even to the extent that it is more abnormal not to have someone else at the table with us than to have someone here.

  4. Christi Hemati says:

    Thanks, Liz. That is actually really helpful. We might do it. It doesn’t sound like too much work. We definitely have people joining us for meals more often than we have meals just for us already, and it is great for that to be normal for Claire and Annalise.

  5. Faith says:

    Loved this post and your response to Christi. You’ve got me thinking…which is very good. 🙂

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