Potluck Invitation (Day 11)

I have a running list of what I call “elemental loves.” On it may be found Johnny Cash, Cilantro, Paradox, the color orange, and other oddly wonderful entities. On this list, also, is the favorite tradition (or should I say tra-DISH-ion) of my cultural heritage: Potlucks.

I once declared when visiting a friend’s church, “You will know a church by its potlucks!” I stand by this claim and feel that I can more broadly adapt it to: You will know a COMMUNITY by how it feeds its people.

I grew up attending potlucks in the church basement at King’s Chapel every few months. It was always a marvel to me, the spectacular variations in casseroles, crockpots, and dishes involving Velveeta. This sampling offered a glimpse into the lives of the people who brought them.

As I grew up and moved through other communities, I glimpsed other possible ways of being.

At Carleton my senior year, I ate off a table built by Lila, suspended from the ceiling of “Great Space.” That year, Julie Honegger, Kat Jones Lippy, and I created and bound cookbooks that contained all our favorite people, poems, and recipes.

We forced Julie to make this dressing for every event INCLUDING an outdoor Bluegrass Festival. You don't have to be Vegan to think it's awesome.
We forced Julie to make this dressing for every event INCLUDING an outdoor Bluegrass Festival. You don’t have to be Vegan to think it’s awesome.

When I came to Maryland I was a Vegetarian. I buckled under the pressures of Old Bay and a crab feasts. The Oblate Sisters of Providence fell upon a pile of crabs with such unfettered jubilation, it seemed sacrilegious not to take part.

This blog is becoming a side-board of the unexpected. You are invited to contribute a dish. In the coming weeks I have a vague sense of the flavors to come. Maybe if you get a whiff, you will feel inspired to bring sustenance of your own.

  • Work Week – For the next week or so, I will be talking about my vocational calling to American Public Education. “Public school as public space”, “Any Millennial for President,” these are just a few of the topics I’ll make my way through.
  • Weak Week – Let the REAL confessions begin. Good intentions and human frailty. I’ve been psyching myself up to for this. It would be a shame to blush alone.
  • We, Oui, Wii, Week – Collaboration, communion, and convocation across cultures. The last 10 days of Lent, I will be offering glimpses into the feast of religious experiences that have shaped my soul.

There’s too much goodness here for me to eat alone. I know many of you are beautiful writers, thinkers, and being-ers. If you’re writing something somewhere or if you’re writing nothing nowhere but have been MEANING to bake us a tale, we’d all love a nibble.

What a powerful thing to be nourished by a community. To take into yourself something prepared in the home of someone else. To take on faith that you will show up with your side-dish and leave with a 10 course meal in your belly.

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