As wallets tighten, friends and family have to get more creative about the way they socialize, seeking to make get-togethers more budget-friendly without sacrificing the fun. That challenge is what has brought about the revival of potlucks to the social scene.
“Eating in is the new eating out,” says Eva Marie Everson, a potluck enthusiast and co-author of The Potluck Club Cookbook. For instance, Everson and her husband used to meet up with another couple each month over dinner at a different restaurant. “But with the recent economy, we started eating in and dining à la potluck. We get to sit on a screened-in patio and watch the sun set over the lake behind the house. We all agree we should have been doing this all along!”
Potlucks are easy even on strained budgets because no one person carries the full cost of a table-full of food; instead, guests each bring their own favorite dish and together cater the event. This allows guests
to sample new dishes and share favorite recipes from their closest friends.
These potlucks that are popping up in even the classiest of circles barely resemble the potlucks of yesterday. Now, they might carry intriguing themes that the dishes are based around. For instance, a book club’s potluck might feature foods mentioned in the pages of their latest read. Or a birthday celebration for a longtime friend might be a wine-and-cheese potluck showcasing favorite edibles that get better with age. For a close girlfriend who is always known for accenting with yellow, a potluck in her honor might include a savory, golden-hued smorgasbord.
Whatever your affair may look like, Eva Marie Everson and Linda Evans Shepherd are the experts when it comes to hosting and attending these shared meals. Veterans of countless potlucks over the years, the duo has gathered their favorite potluck-ready recipes—from salads to slow-cooker delights—plus their experienced insights about pulling off a potluck into one source: The Potluck Club Cookbook. Shepherd and Evans are also the authors of the popular fiction series The Potluck Club and The Potluck Catering Club—so their penchant for potlucks is obvious.
“Potlucks have been a part of my life since childhood,” explains Everson, whose memories are rife with these culinary celebrations—from her days growing up in the South to her newlywed years to the times toting her young children along to the potluck, too. “The potluck meal isn’t just about sharing good, home-cooked food, but also about connecting with your closest friends and family and creating memories that last a lifetime,” Shepherd adds. “Potlucks must be what love tastes like.”
Here are 3 recipes that we were given permission to share on the blog tour:
1 Tbsp. flour (should be heaping)
1/8 tsp. salt
¼ Cup white sugar
¾ Cup white Karo syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
unbaked pie shell
¼ lb. butter
12-14 oz. coconut (can or bag)
Beat eggs well and set aside. In mixing bowl blend flour, salt, and sugar, then add eggs. Next add syrup and vanilla, beat until well mixed. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Slice butter into thick slices and cover top of pie. Sprinkle coconut on top of pie and bake for about 1 hour in 300 degree oven or until firm and brown.
Linda: “I inherited this recipe from my Grandmother Evans. It’s one of the best pies I’ve ever tasted!” (Page 83)
Corn Pudding au Gratin
1 (15 oz) can creamed corn
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup diced cheese
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. margarine
1 cup milk
1 cup buttered bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine corn, flour, cheese and pepper; mix well. Add melted margarine and well-beaten eggs. Warm milk and add to mixture. Pour into 1 ½ quart casserole pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cook in oven until pudding begins to set, then sprinkle buttered bread crumbs over the top and reduce heat to 325 and bake until firm. If bread crumbs are not sufficiently brown when pudding is firm, turn to broil briefly. Cooking time is about 30 – 40 minutes.
Eva: “This recipe reheats nicely.” (Page 169)
Linda’s Chicken Tortilla Casserole
2 ½ Tbsp. chopped onions
¼ cup butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1 ½ cups milk
¾ cup chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. jalapeno peppers
1 ½ cups chopped canned tomatoes (stewed)
3 cups cubed chicken, cooked
½ cup shredded cheese
12 tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips
Sauté onions in butter, then add flour and cook until mixture is bubbly. Stir in milk and broth gradually. Stir in salt, peppers, and tomatoes.
In casserole dish, layer chicken, cheese, then strips of tortillas. Pour sauce over layers then sprinkle casserole with cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve hot.
Linda: “You can’t go wrong with this tasty dish. It’s a potluck crowd favorite.” (Page 130)
Here is my review of this amazing cookbook:
First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson and their publisher for sending me a copy of "The Potluck Cookbook" to review for them. I have always been grateful for this generosity, and I am trying to improve at being consistent in taking the time to thank these wonderfully giving individuals in a public forum. I really appreciate your time, effort and expense in making a reviewer copy available to me.
“The Potluck Cookbook” by Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson may be small, but it’s full of fabulous food and fun. I went straight to the low-fat section and came across two wonderful recipes for shrimp scampi and beef tamale casserole. I immediately added the ingredients I needed to my grocery list. Both recipes were fabulous!
Later that week, I found my husband in the kitchen looking through the book. He asked if I read the recipe for elephant stew. I couldn’t believe I missed it! But it wasn’t in the low-fat section, after all. Very funny, ladies.
Available September 2009 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group