Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Pot Luck: exciting and brilliant!

Today saw the launch of, a site which hosts can use to organise communal meals, and invitees can make offers of things to bring. A few weeks ago Tessy Britton and Laura Billings asked a few people if they would like to host meals on the launch day. I immediately said yes, as did Maurice Specht in Rotterdam. 

So this morning, as I prepared things to throw in the slow cooker, I eagerly followed Maurice’s tweets from his pot luck breakfast in Rotterdam, and then showed his pictures to my colleagues when I arrived at work. Here’s Maurice’s recap of his morning

I arrived at our pot luck dinner venue, the Secret Coffee Club, about half an hour before we expected people to arrive, and Marc and Rachel and I laid the table. When everyone had arrived we were 16 in total, 10 adults and 6 children. By the time we sat down to eat an hour later the children there had all made new friends, and the adults, some of whom hadn’t met before, were chatting and laughing away, sharing stories and jokes. 

It was a really warm, un-pressured feeling. Lots of lovely food was being offered, passed around and enjoyed. We had noodles, chicken rice, veggie chilli, egg fried rice, dips, lots of fruit and then cheesecake, rocky road, ice creams and more!

As well as our yummy dinner, people bought other things to share (sharing was the theme of our evening). Oliver told me a little about going to the Paralympics. Stuart showed us a quadcopter and how to fly it, and answered all sorts of questions about it. Donna and Jack bought some fresh eggs from their 3 hens to share. Joyce told people about the Caribbean cooking lessons she is running (and recruited some trainees), and Marc explained what INSIGHT for Carers do. Tony shared his washing up skills in abundance!

During the evening Maurice Skyped us, so we all said hello to him and I heard a little about his meal before the connection went. We also linked up by video through a Google Hangout to Steve and Kirsty in Liverpool, who are planning a pot luck dinner soon at a local cafe in Wavertree. I briefly showed them what we were up to.

As I travelled home after the dinner this evening I reflected that this was one of the most exciting and brilliant things I’ve ever done. I was actually comparing it to my wedding! Here are 3 reasons why it was so brilliant:
  1. It really didn’t take much organising - as soon as Marc had offered the venue it was simply a matter of popping a few things on the Pot Luck website, sending a few emails, texting and tweeting a few folk and then making one dish for dinner.
  2. It wasn’t stressful at all being a host - quote the opposite. It was actually more like being at someone else’s party. Everyone just got on with their own thing, made sure others were looked after if needed, and chipped in to the clearing up. Like Maurice, I feel there is trust that needs to be placed in people. We often try to do too much, when actually people can do it for themselves.
  3. By the end of the evening everyone was saying how much they had enjoyed it, asking when the next one was and giving their ideas on when we should hold it (a weekend) and what we should do.
The buzz that I felt by the end was similar to feelings I’ve had following large events I’ve been involved in organising ... but without any of the tiredness and stress that results from organising them. And who would have known that 5 days ago we didn’t have anyone booked to come to our pot luck dinner! That is how simple this is - you ask people, and they come :)

There are more pictures from the Rotterdam Pot Luck breakfast and the Brierley Hill Pot Luck dinner on my Storify archive. I may put together a little video too ... and might also be on Adrian Goldberg's BBC WM radio show talking about Pot Luck with Tessy and Maurice. 

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