Southern Thing Column

Do you have a ‘potluck’ dish? A history of potlucks in the South

Below is an excerpt from a column that originated on It’s a Southern Thing. Click here to be immediately directed to the full column.

“What’s your potluck dish?”

Here in the South, it’s a question one might ask of a potential employee, church committee member or even a spouse. It’s nearly as important as the question “which college football team do you root for?” Calm down; I said “nearly.” Any-hoo, I am one of the very few Southerners (born in Georgia, raised in Alabama) who does not have a “potluck dish.” Nope, I am the ice girl, the bun bringer, the Publix pie peddler.

In my family, I have been banned from bringing any kind of dish to holiday meals after several failed attempts, although I did learn I kinda like undercooked squash casserole.

Thankfully, I now have my hubby, Sweetums, who is an excellent cook. He actually enjoys it, so I no longer have to bear the shame of having to scrape the price tag off the aluminum pie pan before serving.

But ask almost everyone else, and she will tell you she does have a specific dish she makes for work or family potlucks. For some, it’s deviled eggs. For others, it’s corn casserole or an onion dip with a secret ingredient. Whatever it is, people attending potlucks come to expect that dish from that person. And that’s why we love potlucks. People only have to focus on making one or two dishes so they put lots of care and love into those. Click here to be directed to the full column.

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