Written by 6:32 pm Camp Styles


Are you ready to learn something new—or show the world your hidden talent? Then it’s potluck time! This great American tradition is alive and well at campgrounds and RV parks around the country. Potlucks are a great way to meet people and make new friends, and they provide their own conversational material because you can always talk about who made what dish. In fact, if you’re short of small talk at a potluck, try praising a dish you enjoy. Someone there is sure to leave with a happy smile.

Many RV parks hold regular potlucks. These events serve a dual purpose—they provide a great meal for all the attendees, and they help park guests get to know each other better. If you’re headed to a potluck, be sure to ask your host two questions: How many servings should you bring? And what type of food should you bring? Many potluck organizers have a system for dividing the dishes, so they get a roughly even number of salads, main courses, and desserts.

A quick note about potluck etiquette. It’s customary to bring all of your own serving dishes, from bowls or platters to serving spoons and forks. The host provides the rest of the equipment (dishes, flatware, napkins, cups, etc.). Be sure to pick up your dish when you leave, and if you like, you can offer to leave any leftovers with your host. Sometimes potlucks end with a leftover exchange, so be prepared to take home extra rolls, cookies, and other goodies!

Many people have supposed that the word potluck comes from the Native American term Potlatch, which describes a large social get-together with an exchange of gifts. The term is actually English and was first used in the 1500s as “pot lucke,” probably describing a feast where the guests were lucky to get whatever was in the cooking pot.

Large families and groups of friends that like to have get-togethers are pros at potlucks. This is a great way for groups that don’t see each other often to come together without any one person having to bear the stress of putting on a huge meal. Everyone brings something, and that lightens the load. Too, this is a way for everyone to get to enjoy old favorites like Aunt Sally’s crescent rolls or Uncle Jim’s Caesar salad. If you have a superb dish that you like to make, don’t keep it from the world. Be sure to sign yourself up for the potluck at your next RV park destination and share your skills with everyone. You’ll make plenty of friends, especially those who want your recipe!

A fun variation on the potluck dinner that would work well in an RV park setting is the Progressive Dinner or Safari Supper. Every RV or campsite is assigned one dish or course of the meal (hors d’oeuvres, salad, bread, main course, and so on). The diners all gather together and visit the first house for their first course, then progress on to the second and third until they reach the dessert house. It’s a festive way to enjoy a meal.

If you’re not a confident cook but would like to attend a potluck, here are a few no-fail dishes you can make and bring. And if you’re really timid in the kitchen, just ask your host if there are beverages you can bring. These are always needed and welcome at a large group get-together, and buying them doesn’t take anything more than a trip to the grocery store.

Serves 12 to 15.

1 sm. instant vanilla pudding
1 (16 oz.) can fruit cocktail
1 (16 oz.) can pineapple chunks
1 med. size container Cool Whip™
1 c. miniature marshmallows
1 c. chopped walnuts
Place pudding mix in large bowl. Add fruit cocktail and pineapple chunks (along with juice from both). Blend in Cool Whip. Add marshmallows and nuts. Chill for 3 hours.

Serves 12 to 15.

1 can (16 oz.) green beans, drained
1 can (16 oz.) waxed beans, drained
1 can (16 oz.) kidney beans, drained
1 med. red or sweet white onion, sliced thin
3 tbsp. sugar or sweeten to taste
1/4 c. vinegar
Mix first three ingredients, then layer onion in. Mix sugar and vinegar together and pour over salad. Refrigerate overnight.

More Potluck Recipes

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