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Casual Spirit, Egalitarian Touch: the American Potluck

"Meal at which all people present share dishes they brought"? Potluck.
Today being Labor Day some families in our neighborhood decided to get together for a potluck: grilled chicken and salmon, home made potato salad; a salad of spinach, blue cheese, and pears; a fruit platter, brownies...

I like potlucks, their casual spirit, the egalitarian touch. Very American. Everybody pitches in, no one has to feel bad because one family or even one person had to do all the work. In Austria potlucks are not really common; there is not even a German word for the concept. It could be  Kesselglueck - literal yet somewhat charming - but that term doesn't exist. On the web I found "Potluck: großes Abendessen, bei dem sich alle Anwesenden selbst mitgebrachte Speisen teilen" (translation from Reverso). This describes the idea accurately but it is a bit long.

For those of you who don't speak German, here's a re-translation, phrased as an invitation: "Please join us for a large evening meal at which all people present share dishes they brought themselves." How does that sound?


debi said…

The picture of food makes my mouth water. Everything looks delicious. What is that drink; it looks yummy.

I chuckled at the translation.

Potlucks are fun and tend to be a source of added pounds since each dish shared is usually a family favorite and better than average fare (often with little regard to calories).
Thanks, Debi.

It's a smoothie, can't quite remember what, berries and something... B. across the street has the recipe. It tasted delicious.
Mark said…
Hi Christina,

I'm really surprised that potlucks are not common in Austria and Germany. My extended family, which their strong German background, is obsessed with potlucks anytime we meet. I always thought that the practice was brought over from Europe.

Now I'm wondering if it is part of Scandinavian culture, since that is the dominant culture in Minnesota.
Thank you, Mark.

Scandinavian could be right. In Austria you might offer to bring a cake for dessert but the rest is up to the hosts - which is why I used to find invitations at my home rather stressful. I love to cook but am terrible at getting the timing right. If I am the one responsible for putting all the food on the table the main dish will be ready long before the first course.
Anonymous said…
Liebe Leute,
das einzige Problem an dieser Geschichte ist, wenn 3 von 4 Damen nicht wirklich kochen können, dann wird das ganze auch kein kulinarisches Event. Vielleicht ist es vielen Leuten auch nicht wichtig was sie essen - oder sie kennen den Unterschied nicht. Vielleicht geht es euch dabei aber auch gar nicht um das Essen? Oder man isst es, weil man höflich ist?
Bussi aus Wien von Manu
Manu, danke fuer deinen Kommentar und bitte verzeih, dass es mit der Antwort gar so lange gedauert hat. Ich war nie bei einem Potluck, bei dem das Essen nicht gut war, aber vielleicht liegt das einfach an unserem Freundeskreis. Bussi aus L.A.!

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