Last week we sent off one of my friends in our fellowship program in proper culinary style—a potluck. The theme? Food from our hometowns. As my plate (below) testifies, we ate well.

September 30, 2010

One of my favorite parts of working for publisher of food and home magazines and websites is that so many coworkers share my love of cooking, dinner parties, and sharing homemade food. Last week we sent off one of my friends in our fellowship program in proper culinary style—a potluck. The theme? Food from our hometowns. As my plate (below) testifies, we ate well.

It was technically autumn for our lunch date, but weather felt like summer and our menu ended up having a summery feel. We had to make the most of fruity, colorful dishes before the leaves turned.

Pimiento CheeseMadoline (Me)Birmingham, Alabama

The sharp cheddar and kick from Worcestershire in homemade pimiento cheese will do doubt convert you to this Southern classic if you've never tasted it before. We devoured it on crostini and pulled out leftovers for a mid-afternoon snack.

Shrimp with Fruit Salsa and Toasted CoconutAmyBrunswick, Georgia

Hailing from Georgia's Atlantic coast, Amy treated us seafood topped with salsa with a tropical flair. In  stroke of genius, she used fruit cups and hence eliminated the need for much chopping labor. I don't usually like canned fruit, but I found it quite tasty when mixed with red onion, cilantro, and other salsarific ingredients.

Mandarin Cranberry SaladAmberSalinas, California

Having grown up in the "Salad Bowl Capital of the World," of course Amber brought a light, fruity mix of greens. It featured a sweet yet tangy combination of sliced red onion, dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, and pecans.

GuacamoleBrettOrange County, California

Guamole's main ingredient, the ever-tasty avocado, grows best in tropical climates like that of Southern California, where Brett grew up. She made her guac avocado-lover style, with chunks of avocado mixed in. There were zero leftovers; we were scraping the tortilla chips on the container by the end of the meal.

Pecan BarsBrianneAtlanta, Georgia

The Peach State is also known for their pecans. Brianne converted her Pecan Tart recipe into delicious bars. The sticky (but not too sticky), sweet pecan mixture topped a shortbread crust. Yum. Our taste buds were tempted to polish off the pan, but our full stomachs said no.

Next step: plan another potluck lunch. Why wouldn't we when we have the pleasure of a setting like this outside our cubicles?

What potlucks have you attended? What are other good potluck themes?

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