Saturday, July 02, 2005

Potluck Possibilities

What are you doing to celebrate the Fourth of July? I'll be at my folk's place. For as long as I can remember my parents have held a Fourth of July party. It's their one big party every year and a great chance to catch up with most everyone they know. Here's how it works. My dad barbecues a whole array of international sausages--Italian, Polish, German, etc. My mom makes a fruity iced punch and later two flavors of homemade ice cream. Added to this, each attendee brings a potluck dish, either an appetizer, a salad or a dessert.

Over the years I have noticed that the potluckers fall into three archetypes. The first is the Shopper. With no desire or ability to cook they resign themselves to shopping instead. Their contributions range from insipid to inspired. The second is the Repeater. This person made something wonderful once and got so many raves they figured, why mess with success? And so they trudge along bringing the same thing year after year after year. Frankly, for better or worse, it just wouldn't be the same without their dish. The last is the Overachiever. Not satisfied with last year's effort they continually try to outdo themselves. Last year was Shrimp Stuffed Endive? Then this year will be Scallop Wellington's! Guess which category I fall into?

So truth be told I haven't decided what to bring yet. Mom says "bring salad" and three candidates seem to be coming to the forefront. One is a version of the watermelon feta salad popularized by Nigella Lawson a few years back. Another possibility is a nectarine salad with a Thai style peanut dressing. Recipes abound but I would put my own spin on it using rice stick noodles and leaving out the chicken. The final possibility is my version of a love story in which a lemony greek salad and a pasta salad meet, fall in love and move in together. Which will it be? Come back on Monday and I promise my final, tried and tested, original recipe for one of the above will be waiting...