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Community Potluckers Celebrate ‘Bounty Of The Moment’

Nancy Vienneau has organized a community-wide potluck in Nashville for five years. Her cookbook includes 30 recipes from potluck participants over the years.

potluck table

Photo: Lizzy Johnston (Flickr)

If you find yourself in Nashville, Tennessee on the third Thursday of the month, look up Nancy Vienneau's community potluck!

Month To Month

A new cookbook came across my desk recently that organized recipes by the month, based on what was the “bounty of the moment.”

That’s the subtitle of Nancy Vienneau’s Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook. It’s a collection of recipes from a citywide potluck she’s been running in Nashville, Tennessee for the past five years.

“It appeals to me to think about things seasonally and looking up menus and ideas month to month, and go, you know I have all these cucumbers and tomatoes, what can I do with them?” Flip to June and there’s a recipe for Zesty Gazpacho.

Share The Wealth

The idea for the potluck came from Vienneau’s friend Gigi Gaskins’s thriving urban garden. Gaskins was growing more food than she could eat, and she wanted to give away the excess instead of selling it.

So, on the third Thursday in June 2009, they invited friends, family, neighbors, visitors and strangers to bring a dish to share, made from the “bounty of the moment.” Over the years, Vienneau collected recipes from some thirty different potluck participants for her cookbook.

Figgy Pizza

The star of the show for August is figs. Vienneau developed a recipe for Roasted Fig, Prosciutto and Gorgonzola Flatbread to use up Gaskins’ figs.

Vienneau used to assume figs grew better further south — in Mississippi and Louisiana — but perhaps climate change is to thank for Gaskins’ bountiful fig trees in Tennessee.

“It is something we look forward to every year,” she says. “We do this recipe almost every August just because it’s so delicious.”

Flip to the back of the cookbook and you’ll see an invitation to join the potluck fun — “If you’re in the neighborhood, come on by.” Is that a genuine invitation?

“It is! If you have a dish that you want to share and it’s a third Thursday, we are open,” says Vienneau.

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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