I’ve posted in the past about our neighborhood potluck dinners. It is a “tradition” that I started here a couple of years ago so that those of us living on our Cours can get to know each other a little better, without anyone feeling the need to do major entertaining.
This is not a particularly French thing to do, and when I started it, none of the neighbors had ever done anything like it before. But it was an instant success. Everyone saw the benefit of not having to spend days cooking and how much fun it was for each of us to get to taste the variety of things that our friend could prepare.
Last year we only had one get together though. It wasn’t for lack of desire, just life getting in the way. But JM and I decided that if we didn’t get the ball rolling again the whole thing could just die out, so we offered to have one here.
The day did not start out too well. While JM and I were cleaning, I heard a loud THUNK/BANG/CRASH, then screaming. That is just never a good combination of sounds. I was in the attic and the sounds came from near the garage. I ran down the stairs and found JM crumpled in a pile at the base of the staircase.
I wasn’t sure how badly he was injured and ran across the street to our friend Mireille’s. She immediately came over in case she needed to help. Luckily after a few minutes, JM was able to weakly get up the steps to the main room. I gave him some arnica and went out to buy something like an Ace bandage, but when I got back he thought he should go to the ER, so off we went.
Now, I was not a happy camper, and wanted to cancel the potluck, but JM convinced me not to. Mireille offered to have it at her place, but I felt that we had gone through all this angst, so might as well just keep on going.
Luckily the x-rays at the hospital confirmed that it was only a sprain; the doc gave JM a brace and told him to stay off it for a couple of days, use ice, etc., etc., and we came home where I proceeded to spend the next 7 hours getting ready to have 18 people over for dinner!
In fact, it turned out to be okay despite my being pretty darned tired. My contributions were a Cobb salad and garlic cheese bread, which was a last minute change from my planned buttermilk biscuits. And, that turned out to be a happy accident, because none of my neighbors had ever had typical Italian-American style garlic cheese bread and it was an enormous success!
Indeed, that and the Cobb salad both got rave reviews and requests for recipes. But everyone’s contributions were gobbled up by the masses! We had peach halves stuffed with tuna salad (sounds weird but was actually excellent), asparagus quiche, some kind of tart with bacon and beet greens, a pork roast and a beef roast and way more desserts than anyone should ever eat!
Our new bakers stopped in for drinks, but were too exhausted to stay, so the next potluck will be on a day that is better for them so they can fully participate. But even though they didn’t stay, they brought us over two amazing cakes to add to the dessert cache. You see why I said we all ate too much dessert?
One of the things that surprised me was that Didier and Mireille’s 15-year-old daughter, Audrey, came along with her boyfriend. Now I would have bet just about anything that she would have rather done almost anything on a Saturday night but spend it with a bunch of old fogeys, but NO, she was thrilled to join us. I guess we’re still interesting enough to hold a teenager’s attention for an evening.
I’ve seen everyone since then and it was roundly declared a major success. Our biggest problem for the next one is having enough room for us all to fit into one room! That’s a rather nice problem to have, all in all.
Ciao for now.