In North America, the word potluck describes a meal or party to which each of the guests contributes a dish. While it is difficult to trace the origin of potluck suppers, the word “pot-luck” has been used for a long time, appearing in the English work of Thomas Nashe as far back as the 16th century. Nashe used the word to reference “food provided for an unexpected or uninvited guest, the luck of the pot.” Potluck meals are generally prepared by family cooks and feature recipes which are designed to feed a crowd. Social gatherings, such as church suppers following a service or Bible study, often feature potluck meals that are easy to prepare, transport, feed a crowd, and share. Here is one of our all-time favorite potluck meals.
Cousin Patti’s Potluck Chicken Casserole
Serves 8 to 10
1 (16 oz.) package of wide egg noodles
4 cups cooked rotisserie chicken meat, shredded, or diced
1 (24 oz.) container sour cream
2 (10 ¾ oz.) cans cream of chicken soup (do not add water or milk)
1 (8 oz.) block of cheddar cheese to be freshly shredded
1 (8 oz.) block of mozzarella cheese to be freshly shredded
1 sleeve of your favorite buttery crackers, crushed
¼ c. butter, melted
1 ½ Tablespoons poppy seeds
Boil noodles al dente per package directions (watch carefully, do not overcook). While noodles are cooking, shred the cheese and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drain the noodles and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add in the shredded or diced chicken, sour cream, soup, and shredded cheeses. Gently fold ingredients together to mix. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 9” x 13” baking dish. In a medium size bowl, toss the cracker crumbs with the butter, then distribute the crumbs evenly over the top. Next, sprinkle poppy seeds over the casserole. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes, until heated through and cracker topping appears crisp and golden.
Fun fact: Did you know that some religious groups take offense to the word “luck” in Potluck? In fact, some have offered a variety of solutions to include renaming it “potfaith,” “potblessing,” or “pottrust.” However, the word potluck can also be used to refer to a situation where one must take a chance that whatever is available will prove to be good or acceptable, so, to many, the word as is makes perfect sense.