Modern Potluck: A Dinner Party Gem


If it is true what they say that “You are what you eat” then call me a pig since the Pig Candy recipe on page 25 definitely caught my attention. It’s Candied bacon! Who in their right mind doesn’t love bacon? (I’m j/k really) No offense Vegans. I got no beef with you. All joking aside, my first impression on this book was definitely just “Wow.” The cover itself has this unique mixed media texture reminiscent of a tablecloth in a weekend potluck setting by the countryside.

Modern Potluck is a tasteful collation of recipes geared to please every palate (Carnivore, Omnivore, Vegan and everything in between). The array is not only exotic but diverse comprising recipes with flavors from the East- Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame-Ginger Dressing, Pork and Kimchi Soup, Vietnamese-Inspired Fish Escabeche, Indian-Spiced Spinach-Yogurt Dip, to Middle Eastern Seven-Layer Salad and Levantine Curry Hummus, to the Western Tacos de Canasta, Vegetable Enchilada Pie, Cornmeal-Crusted Oven-Fried Chicken and Casseroles all the way to the flavors of the Mediterranean in Lasagna with Mushroom Bolognese and Ricotta and Greek Expat Potato Salad. Imagine taking a trip around the world in the comfort of your own kitchen and sharing the fun as you take your dish and maybe talk about its origins at the potluck for everybody to savor.

For having only 100 recipes, this book is rather comprehensive ranging from snacks, dips, drinks, salads, appetizers (it has various recipes for deviled eggs suitable for every season and by deviled eggs, I still don’t understand how people long long time ago came about coining it that since for something so appetizing, there’s nothing devilish about it), main course, sides, desserts and condiments. Some of the recipes are suitable to serve on certain seasons of the year indicated on the top left and below some of the recipe titles also indicate whether its Vegetarian, Vegan (what’s the difference?) and or Gluten-Free. The book also has other helpful information regarding rules of the Potluck, tips on the makings of a sure crowd-pleasing Potluck dish and notes on food safety.

The photo depictions definitely have a homely and rustic feel to it which is quite inviting when it comes to the setting, aside from the food which looks delicious. I rarely ever think a veggie dish to be salivating but I can say the dish on the cover (Spice-Roasted Carrots with Lentils) even got my husband’s attention and he’s definitely not a fan of veggies. I can only imagine being at the actual setting with the actual food. I would agree that the food indeed looks beautiful as the secondary title suggests – Beautiful Food To Share. No question there although it is dependent on proper execution of the recipe and how skilled the cook is. But don’t let that intimidate you. I say there’s an inner “Chef Extraordinaire” in everybody.

This would be a great addition to any dinner party hostess’ cookbook collection and of interest to any foodie for that matter, definitely made to endure years of countless potlucks and dinner parties since it is smyth sewn for durability, although I would personally try to just copy the recipes on paper to keep this beautiful recipe book in pristine condition. Kudos to Miss Donnelly.

[This is my unadulterated review for a complimentary copy of the aforementioned book which I received from Blogging for Books ]