Why do we lesbians love our potlucks so much?


Lesbian Potlucks are Lesbian Culture at its Finest

by Sophia Kelly

Women and food, inexpensive and community focussed, the lesbian potluck has been a staple of lesbian culture for many years. It's been the subject of jokes by lesbian comedians and the topic of at least one film webseries.  Why do we lesbians love our potlucks so much?

Origin of the lesbian potluck

The phrase 'pot luck' came into English in the 1600s, when it meant an invitation for whatever the family would normally be having for dinner that night, literally, whatever is in the (cooking) pot. Over time it came to carry the meaning of an unplanned menu of dishes brought by various people. The beauty of a potluck is that the work of cooking the feast is shared by many hands, making it a particularly good fit for groups of women, and a tool for organizing, or just meeting and connecting with other lesbians.

Beginning in a time when lesbians were isolated and invisible, potlucks were safe ways to meet and build community with other lesbians. The first lesbian event I ever went to was a pot luck. I've even attended a potluck lesbian wedding, where guests brought all the food for the feast. According to the IMDb database, there are 22 films with the title potluck. However only one is actually about the lesbian potluck, a New Zealand produced web series called "Pot Luck".

How to host a lesbian potluck

Hosting a potluck is easy. For set up, make sure you have enough places for all the guests to sit while eating, either with plates on their laps in your living room, or around a table for smaller groups. Since you may not know exactly what food will show up, it is a good plan to make at least one general-purpose main dish in case no-one else thinks to bring one.

For set up make sure you have a table to put all the food on, dishes, cups, cutlery, and lots of serving spoons and forks.  Then put out the word to your friends and their friends.

What to bring to a lesbian potluck

I don't know why lesbians love hummus so much. I just feel like at some point a lesbian got confused and thought "oh... CHICK peas" – DeAnn Smith

Jokes about hummus aside, vegetarian food is a good idea for potlucks. It's good to bring food that most people can eat, and while meat eaters can eat vegetarian the reverse is not true. Adding a label with the ingredients is also a nice touch so that people with allergies can pick food that is safe for them.  If you have food restrictions or allergies, be sure to bring something that you can eat. A good rule of thumb is to bring enough food that if you ate only the item you brought, you would have enough food. If each person brings the quantity of food they themselves need, there will be enough for all.

Food that is simple to serve, that is finger food or able to be put on a plate also keeps it flexible. It's a good idea to bring your own ladle or serving spoon if you need one, as they may be in short supply.

Introverted? Lesbian potlucks offer a lot of opportunities to observe but not be the centre of attention – help out with the dishes and have a nice one on one conversation while giving our hostess some help.

There is so much to love

There is so much to love about a good lesbian potluck. Easy, inexpensive, entertaining for large groups, great conversation, and community building where everyone contributes as they can. It's a fine example of lesbian culture at its best. 



MagazineSophia Kelly