A Potluck Party

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!!

I hope everyone’s Christmas preparations have been going well.  I know it can be a stressful time of year, trying to make everything perfect.  But the truth is you don’t need perfection; you just need to have a good time.  If you’re not enjoying the holidays, then why bother?  So I say, do whatever it is that you what to, even if it means not celebrating the holidays at all.

If you do celebrate though, a potluck is a great way to go.

Image from blacksmithprayerworkshop.blogspot.com

Image from blacksmithprayerworkshop.blogspot.com

This is what the Geography Student Association at CSULB did.  I think these are a great way to get together and have a nice low maintenance party.  Instead of one person doing all the work and stressing out, everything is divided up.  Everyone can make (or buy) a dish and then just eat and talk.  This also helps to avoid cooking too much (there’s only as much food as there are people) and hardly any mess afterwards because the attendees usually take any leftovers with them.  Yep, I’m fan of potlucks.

Foooood!  Image from connect.westheights.org

Foooood! Image from connect.westheights.org

If you like cooking or trying out new recipes, this is also a perfect opportunity to do that.  After all, you have a group of people to try your little food experiment on.  Andy and I did just that with gingersnap brownies, which I’ve never had before.  They turned out pretty good, but could use a little more tweaking.  We got the basic recipe from Baker’s website.  We left out the pecans though in case someone was allergic and added:

4 tsp powdered ginger

4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

These amounts created brownies that tasted more of the spices than chocolate, so if you prefer more chocolate then try this version:

2 tsp powdered ginger

2 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

You should cook them for about 15 minutes or whenever the center is no longer liquid.  Top them off with some pieces of crystallized ginger chunks.  ADD THESE BEFORE YOU BAKE THEM!  Otherwise they won’t stay on.  Though baking with them already in might mean some get engulfed by the rising brownie.

These are the gingersnap brownies I made.  0 points for presentation but 100 points for deliciousness.

These are the gingersnap brownies I made. 0 points for presentation but 100 points for deliciousness.

Want more potluck recipes?  Try Taste of Home or Christmas Potluck Recipes.  Note: I haven’t tried any of these (yet), so if you do I’d love to hear how yours turned out.

I’ll end with a little history of potlucks because questions like this are always popping into my head: When did potlucks start?  Why are they called potlucks?

According to The Straight Dope, potlucks have been going on since the Middle Ages when people would keep leftovers warm in pots to serve to others on short notice.  Thus the name “potluck” because the unexpected guest would get whatever was in the pot (be subject to the luck of the pot).  This practice was common at taverns and inns during medieval times.  They also say that a potluck doesn’t originate from potlatch, a gift-giving festival practiced by northwest Native Americans.  Wikipedia also says that the word “pot-luck” first appeared in a 16th century work by Thomas Nashe.  A more modern meaning from around 19th/20th century is a “communal meal, where guests bring their own food”.

Now that you’ve been educated on the history of potlucks, I hope you have your own and have a great time doing so!

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season’s Greetings, Happy Kwanzaa and whatever else I’m missing!

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