Swapping, Sharing and Potluck Cookbooks

Modern Potluck: Beautiful Food to Share
Modern Potluck: Beautiful Food to Share. Amazon.com

There are tons of great cookbooks on the market, but the following all share something special in common.  They encourage us to cook and share our food with friends, so that communal meals happen more often, so that one huge batch of soup feeds many people, so that you can pay it forward and reap the rewards in later days.  All of that sounds good to us!

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    by Emily Paster. Many of you have heard of or participated in a cookie swap, but Emily Paster says why stop there?  She has created a book to celebrate the spirit of good food and a connected community, and elevates the notion of sharing not just baked goods, but also soups, stews, preserves, salad dressings, pickled items, and more.  

    The book is filled with recipes, but also encouraging and detailed information about how to organize a food swap, how to communicate amongst the attendees, how to...MORE factor in cost, how to create seasonal themes, and other smart and necessary tidbits from someone who has been there, and swapped that.  So think about getting together a group of like-minded people to exchange homemade goods, whip up a big batch of Butternut Squash and Apple soup, Miniature Fruit Pies, or Cherry-Almond Granola, and get that swap party started.  A nice little bonus: cute little tags at the back that can be punched out for affixing to your creations.

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    by Kristin Donnelly. The books begins by laying out the Rules of the Potluck, very helpful lists that tackle the topics What Makes for a Great Potluck Dish (crowd pleasing with just a hint of edge!), What Hosts and Organizers Should Do (keep your guests in the loop about dietary restrictions), and What Guests Should Know (think about how you’ll transport your food).  

    And then the parade of appealing dishes begins: Roasted Carrot and Curry Hummus with Lime, Rosemary-Garlic-Brined Pork Loin with...MORE Pistachio Salsa Verde, Red Cabbage Slaw with Pickles and Caraway, Molly’s Scallion Pull-Apart Bread, and Cranberry Jam Streusel Bars quickly make you realize this is not (as the saying goes) your mother’s potluck party.  Recipes have Potluck Prep tips, to help you get the dish on the table with ease, wherever that table might be.

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    By Courtney Allison, Tina Carr, Caroline Laskow and Julie Peacock. Are soup clubs the new books clubs?  In a perfect world, maybe we could create a hybrid of both!  The authors lay out their Soup Cub Manifesto to begin the book, which captures the ethos of the group, and the premise behind the concept (including points like Soup Club is a state of being, not a monthly meeting).  The authors outline how to be a soup club, explaining the details of how to essentially cook big pots of soup, and...MORE drop some of it off with sides and garnishes for the other members.  By doing this, you get to enjoy different soups every week, but only do the cooking every several weeks.  Not a bad ratio of work to soup eating!

    Recipes are large batch, making about 8 quarts each.  Spiced Pumpkin Soup; Winter Minestrone; Chicken, Andouille and Okra Gumbo; Leek Soup, Cauliflower Korma and many more.  Then there is Food for Forks and Fingers, from salads like Lentil Squash Salad, breads like Black Olive Shortbread, Big Food like Spinach and Onion Quiche, Cook’s Snacks like Garlic Herbed Cheese, which means that your soups will easily become full-on meals.  First step: buy a bigger pot!