Several years ago, the dads at our church set out to solve the problem of Mothers Day: Moms shouldn’t have to cook, but restaurants are packed for the holiday. Solution: a Mothers Day luncheon hosted by the church.

In theory, it’s a fantastic idea. The church provides ham and fried chicken (this is the South, y’all). Nobody fights restaurant crowds. Mothers are properly fêted. The men get away with not cooking.

In reality, it leaves a few women in a huff each year. Each family must bring a side dish and dessert for ten. No self-respecting competitive woman is willing to stake her household’s culinary reputation on chips and Oreos her husband grabbed from the store. A good church potluck is an Olympic event, with empty pans for prizes. Someone begging “you must send me this recipe!” is a higher honor than hearing your national anthem from the podium. So, while the bewildered men scratch their heads, the moms stomp off to their kitchens. They arrive in high dudgeon on Sunday morning toting a screaming toddler under one arm and a leaking pyrex under the other.

Thankfully, by the closing Gloria Patri (sung, alas, in English – these are Reformed Presbyterians) the delicious smells wafting from the church kitchen have done a lot to smooth ruffled feathers. And really? It’s hard to be cranky when facing a dessert table holding ten feet of trifles, cobblers, brownies, cookies, tarts, scones, bars, cakes, berries, and muffins:

This photo was taken by a friend and posted to the church facebook page (sorry – I can’t properly credit her while maintaining her anonymity). I think that’s her eldest son’s hand sneaking in for an early raid on the sugar-fest.


2 thoughts on “Potlucking

  1. Ha, this made me laugh. We have church supper after evening service and each family is supposed to bring a plate to share. Some seem to omit themselves from this requirement so there is rarely enough to go round. One evening we had a large group of local indigenous (I must say I had no idea of just how socially disadvantaged the aboriginals up here were until we moved here. Many were still living a tribal existence a generation ago and they are totally socially dispossesed -it is tragic) decend as the service ended and devour the entire supper offerings. Without begrudging their hunger, I must say I was a little miffed to have cooked our offering for supper and still have to come home and scrape up something for tea; particularly when Ginger was very ready for bed:) Soon after we changed to morning service to accommodate Ginger’s bedtime better so I have not heard whether it has happened again.

    • Oh how frustrating – a potluck where a lot of people freeload is no fun at all. We have the opposite problem at our monthly church meals: way too much food. A sermon on gluttony would probably be in order before we approach the tables :-).

      That’s quite sad about the situation of local aboriginals. Any thoughts on what contributes to it (e.g. laws, local traditions, education, work, etc.)? The American Indians in our area maintain tribal centers but are pretty fully integrated into the local community and seem economically on par for the area. In the Midwestern/Western state though, especially on Reservations, there are chronic problems with poverty, alcoholism, domestic violence, and the like. One factor is that some tribes have a group enterprise (e.g. a casino), the profits of which are split among all the members. Its enough money for a very low-level standard of living without work, so there are a lot of people living in provided housing, not working, and without a motivation for a good education etc. to advance their lot. It’s a tough problem – you understand people wanting to stay connected with their heritage by remaining on the Reservations, but the environment fosters so many issues at the same time…

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