We know it as a get together where all guests bring a little bit of food, and together we have a huge meal to share.
In the 16th century, the word meant “food provided for an unexpected or uninvited guest.” Our modern definition likely began in the 1930’s.
The modern execution of a potluck is based on convenience. I often suggest potlucks when I don’t want to have to cook for a huge audience. But the original idea was about care, specifically for someone unknown.
If someone shows up to a party uninvited or unexpected, most hosts would be confused and potentially ask the person to leave. But in the original potluck, that person would be welcomed in, and there would even be a bit of food set aside for them.
Which means that those who had the original potluck expected the unexpected They welcomed, potentially, strangers. They nourished people without question.
These days, it’s unlikely someone unexpected would show up to your dinner party. But unexpected people and events occur every single day.
Will you choose to nourish or withhold?