The origin of the modern-day “potluck” is murky at best.
Some say the practice comes from early 20th century Irish immigrants, whose women joined forces to cook their meals with one single, available pot.
Or maybe it comes from Medieval European taverns, said to have maintained a cauldron a-stewing 24 hours a day, filled with scraps and leftovers, ready to be served to hungry patrons on short notice. It was these lucky customers who received the, “luck of the pot.”
Others insist that our notion of the potluck derives from Native American gift-giving economies, where a family’s status was raised not through acquisition of material goods, but in their ability to distribute the resources they already had. Tribesman compete to rid themselves of their possessions in their ritual “potlach” ceremonies.
On September 7th, Camilla Hammer and I hosted a potluck in the garden, with a roster of wonderfully creative people — to name a few, Jenn de la Vega of Randwiches, creators of the French film Tu Sera Un Homme, Benoit Cohen and Eléonore Pourriat, Sarah Keough of Put A Egg On It, Julia Kamer of Bon Appetit, and Alex Raij, the chef/owner of Txikito, La Vara and El Quinto Pino.
Guests were invited to make use of over 50 varieties of vegetables and herbs in the garden, incorporating them into the dish of their choice. The food was as good as the company. I suppose that’s what happens when you invite 40 food-obsessed people to dinner.
Special thanks to Scratch Bread for delicious focaccia, Zoe Olive Oil for their Extra Virgin oil used in the pesto, and Bambu for their donation of plates, forks and serving utensils.