I have been working on an article about book clubs in Rome for a local magazine and in my research I came across a few book clubs that finish their monthly discussion with a “pot luck” meal. I even went to a book club meeting a few weeks ago with a pot luck supper and thoroughly enjoyed the anarchy of the eclectic spread on the kitchen counter. It felt slightly naughty, not eating things in the proper order, or better, there not even being an order to eat them in – the joy of pot luck.
Last Saturday I went to hear a friend who sings with a choir that was performing a couple of Baroque oratories, accompanied by original instruments. The church was packed and while sitting on the steps to a side altar, I overheard two 30-something Italians discussing their version of a pot luck dinner for the next evening. While everyone was bringing something, the menu had been orchestrated and its parts carefully assigned, nothing being left to serendipity. The woman carefully and intently itemized the list while her partner listened with attention, analyzing the situation and seeing where he could jump in for a solo part – ahha! He got it, some appetizers. His mother could even make up some of her famous deep fried vegetables (she had, of course, offered to help out).
No anarchy and eclectic spread on the counter for them, but instead a carefully planned and integrated program for the evening. Shhhhh, the concert is starting, we’ll get back to the desserts later.