Pot Luck by Will Ashworth

Here at Make:Shift towers we are always interested in ideas that involve bringing our communities together and the idea that we are greater than the sum of our parts. After all, Make:Shift is all about sharing your ideas with the wider community to help improve the city. A great idea will remain exactly that unless it is shared with other people.

This week I have been looking across the pond to see what our American friends can teach us about getting people together and I came across a long held tradition of theirs that, unlike gangster rap or chocolate with peanut butter, has not quite managed to take root on our shores.

In our quaint British way, community gatherings are often only supplied with refreshments in the form of a cup of lukewarm tea, a pack of biscuits, or possibly an overcooked fairy cake. But as with many things in America, they do things a bit bigger with what they call the ‘potluck’. This isn’t a type of bingo, but a gathering where all the attendees bring along their favourite dish to share with everyone at a big community dinner.

Pot luck

After my online research on these events, it seems that the received wisdom is to decide on a theme so that curry isn’t sat alongside pasta. But I’m not sure I agree with this. Surely by calling an event a potluck should mean that dishes should be random?! Also, if it is truly potluck, then any event would surely show off the diversity in food and culture, especially in a place like Wolverhampton. Chocolate cake with your chow mein? Yes, please!

There are so many ways of bringing a community together, and food seems to me like something we all have in common. So why not organise your own potluck? Or, of course, if you have another great idea, come and tell us about it at Make:Shift this October. Don’t forget the biscuits!


One thought on “Pot Luck by Will Ashworth

  1. I agree with Will about not getting hung up on a theme. What I appreciate most about the “anything goes and everything’s welcome” potlucks I’ve organised for our allotment society is being reminded of all the wonderful cultures in our community and how genuinely generous they are. Not only do they share their food at the potluck, but they also share themselves–their families and interests and advice (I’ve collected loads of fab recipes and cooking tips!). Equally important, I think, is that potlucks are a way of giving folks the opportunity to contribute to their local community…and to feel good about doing it.

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