Community Potluck Cookbook

Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook by Nancy Vienneau
Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook by Nancy Vienneau

I started this blog back in 2009 when the job I had back then came to an end. I had a choice – I could get a job in a city about an hour away from home and take the same journey my husband makes every working day or I could take a career break.  Our girls were little then, aged 4 and 2 and I didn’t see how we could both leave home before 7 am in the morning.  It was  a difficult choice and one that I have wrestled with ever since. I was on the cusp of having a proper career. I had finished my PhD in 2005 and had worked as a research consultant in the same field ever since. I loved my job and knew a lot about finance mechanisms for early-stage businesses.  But I love my girls more and the notion of leaving them in full-time childcare made me wince. We made the decision to manage on my husband’s income. (We are very lucky that we can.)  But I knew I needed to do something that was mine, outside of caring for the girls.  Something that I could focus on. My original idea was to publish a recipe book, but I hadn’t a clue how to go about it. I did some research on the net and found food blogs. It seemed like an ideal solution. It would be like keeping a ‘hand in’ whilst I took a career break to look after my girls. It has proved to be a great way to gain some skills in website building and as a way of getting my recipes to an audience.

What I hadn’t realised back then was that I would become part of a community. You begin to read someone else’s blog, make a comment and then another. You read about their lives as well as their baking and after a while you think of them as friends. These are people that you will probably never meet face to face but with whom you feel a connection.  I had no idea when I started all of this back in 2009 that I would get to know people from all over the UK and, in fact, from all over the world. For all the bad press that the internet gets, it also opens doors to some marvellous opportunities.

I found Nancy’s blog in the early days and it was this post  that sealed it for me. Nancy’s story of the waffle iron rang so many bells for me in terms of what I want for my own daughters. I have been a fan of Nancy’s ever since. She is an amazing woman doing so much good work in her campaigns for healthy and affordable food for everyone. I was really pleased when she announced that she was publishing a book based on her Third Thursday Community Potlucks. I love the concept. Nancy and her friend Gigi met after Nancy had admired a community farm plot run by Gigi. Together they decided that each third thursday of the month they would invite like-minded friends and acquaintances to a gathering at alternatively Nancy’s or Gigi’s house. If you could make it, great – just bring along a seasonal dish and beverage to share with everyone else. I love that they didn’t really ever know how many people would join them on any given potluck evening and that out of these potluck suppers have come weddings and babies.

The book is beautiful, filled with stunning seasonal recipes and gorgeous photos. Nancy encourages you to start your own potluck as a way of bringing people together who wouldn’t normally have met as a way of strengthening your local community. I am very tempted to make the informal bring and share evenings that our book-club* enjoys into something more regular and introducing new faces.

Nancy’s book works through a year, month by month, of Potluck recipes and include the likes of Buttermilk Peach Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Sauce, “Mango Tango” White Butter Cake and Brown Butter Honey Cake and that’s just some of the desserts.

But what is probably the most exciting thing ever is what appears on page 144 of Nancy’s lovely book:

Nancy Vienneau

LOOK AT THAT! My name in print thanks to a lovely person living in Nashville whom if I hadn’t started this blogging lark I would never have come across and come to admire. That is the miracle of the internet right there.

I urge you to get yourself a copy of Nancy’s gorgeous book, and obviously not just because it’s got my name in it. I bought mine on Amazon in the UK, but take a look at Nancy’s site Good Food Matters for options if you live elsewhere and maybe start your own potluck gathering and meet some new people face to face.

*What started out as a book club has now become the wine club as we now rarely read books as part of the group but we do our fair share of drinking wine.

Just to let you know, I wasn’t asked to review this book. I did it because it’s a book well worth having. I bought my own copy. 


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18 thoughts on “Community Potluck Cookbook”

  1. Well, that looks a really good book – and blog – and I’ll certainly consider it next time I have an ‘I need a new cook book’ moment. But I won’t buy it from Amazon, whom I quite militantly refuse to use, even if it means going without. From their effect on independent bookshops, to their tax-avoidance, to their poor treatment of their work force, there is nothing whatsoeverto recommend them. Sorry to go all serious on you, but I find them a really evil company. Here’s the wonderful Allan Ahlberg in today’s news:

  2. Kath, your review of Nancy’s book is spot on. You are so right about making connections through our blogs, and who knows, maybe we all will be cooking some of Nancy’s recipes at the same time. I love when that happens!

  3. How lovely to be able to be at home with your girls and now your name in print in a cookbook! Fantastic! I’ll definitely check out Nancy’s blog.

  4. Kath, this is such a lovely post–not just because of your kind words about my cookbook, but because it bears witness to remarkable and unforeseen connections that we’ve made through our blogging. THANK YOU! And I hope that you will have fun with the book, and enjoy many of its recipes.

    1. Nancy I am enjoying the recipes already. I made the mint tea at the weekend for a party we were having (with the book club girls) and it went down very well. Delicious and a very good way of using up the mint patch. I know it is going to be a book that I use rather than decorate the shelf with.

  5. Kath, what a lovely post and good to know a little bit more about your own background as well as discovering Nancy, her blog and her book. I just love the whole idea behind it and it sounds like a ‘different’ kind of cookbook, which is brilliant! xCathy

  6. Oh how wonderful. i love this concept. If we had a bigger house, I’d be tempted to start a pot luck supper club right now. As it is there’s barely room for the two of us. But it’s something to think about for sure. Lovely to see your name and blog in print Kath. And it’s true, I never expected to make friends through, as you put it, “this blogging lark”.

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