Theologically, I identify as an ecumenical pot luck supper observer.
So, this historic pun caught my fancy.
“The all-absorbing question agitating the public mind at Sandy Hill is: ‘If a Roman Catholic roasts an Episcopalian’s turkey in a Methodist oven, what denomination will the turkey be?’” The Morning Star of Glens Falls asked on January 12th, 1884. “All the sages have given it up.”
You’ve heard the Bible story about feeding 5,000 people with a few loaves and fishes. How about the load of cabbage big enough to make coleslaw for an entire mega-church congregation?
E. W. DeLong of Crown Point delivered a load of 80 cabbages to Ticonderoga that weighed a combined total of 558 pounds, the Ticonderoga Sentinel reported August 19th, 1920.
That would make enough coleslaw to feed 2,790 people, according to a recipe on ellenskitchen.com.
The largest head of cabbage on the load weighed 14.5 pounds — enough to make coleslaw for a rural or small-city church congregation of 72 people, with half a serving left over as a second helping for the pastor.
Usually at a potluck supper, the meal is eaten first, and then comes the after-meal speaker or entertainment.
That way the food doesn’t get cold.
The order was reversed at the third annual meeting of the Lake George Canoe Club, held February 21st, 1884 at the home of photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard in Glens Falls.
“After a session of about two hours and a half, the club adjourned for supper, each member cooking and contributing a dish, for which they had previously made provisions,” The Morning Star of Glens Falls reported the next morning.
“Cooking utensils were furnished by Mr. Stoddard and in a short time a repast was served which would have done credit to an experienced caterer.”
C.A. Neibe prepared bacon and fried potatoes, J.E. Mcdonal scrambled eggs, and James Knight coffee.
W.F. Ranger prepared broiled steak, E.W. West scalloped oysters, and N.H. Bishop French omelet.
Stoddard prepared broiled steak and supplied nuts, and F.F. Pruyn supplied oranges and other fruit.
The meeting began around 7 pm, the dinner wrapped up around midnight, and the reporter filed the story on deadline to appear in the next morning’s newspaper.
It’s not clear if it was the same reporter that a few weeks previously covered the second weekly meeting, also on deadline, of the “Hit or Miss Cooking Club,” a sort of gourmet pot luck supper social group with membership of “16 of Fort Edward’s most fascinating daughters.”
The members adopted a poetic statement of purpose.
“We may live without poetry, music and art;
“We may live without conscience and live without heart;
“We may live without friends – we may live without books;
But civilized men cannot live without cooks.”
It seems to convey that old, now politically incorrect, but still often repeated, adage: “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”
The meeting ritual was straight forward.
“Each member prepares some article of food, which she brings to the meeting, and there gives a detailed report of the ingredients and method of making.”
At this particular meeting, to which the reporter was invited, the menu featured oyster soup, wheat muffins, biscuits, baked beans, doughnuts, chocolate cream pudding, cream cake, pressed chicken, tutti fruity jelly, and coffee.
A more austere meal of pork and beans, rye bread and tea was served at the “Centennial Supper” at the Methodist Episcopal Church of Cambridge, in Washington County, The Granville Sentinel reported on March 3rd, 1876.
Photo of assortment of different dishes at a potluck courtesy Wikimedia user Nehrams2020.