Out of ( Pot ) Luck

Posted on November 2, 2017 under Storytelling with 2 comments

Len and Sister Archana


Is there anything better than a potluck dinner?

Most of us cook because we have to in order to survive. Others choose cooking as a profession. But all of us, at some point in time, need to take a break and go out for a meal. Having dinner at a friend’s house is wonderful and a skillfully prepared meal at a restaurant can be a divine experience. But for sheer variety of food and a chance to dine with a crowd, there’s nothing quite like a potluck dinner.

When invited to a potluck, you are normally asked to bring something whether it is an appetizer, a main course or dessert. Sometimes there’s a list to choose from but when it’s open ended, you can get some very interesting dishes. Amazingly, the food gods seem to play a hand in this. Otherwise it’s conceivable that every single invitee could bring lasagna which might defeat the purpose of a potluck!

We have a local group in town called Cultural Connections. They organize a number of potluck dinners at a local church hall. But this is no ordinary gathering. The flavour of the event is global. Just about every cultural group living in our community come together to bring a dizzying array of ethnic food. It is an opportunity to sample food that one might never get the chance to unless you are a global traveller or live in a major city where this type of fare is common and easily accessible.

And the best thing about it is that the church hall is liberally sprinkled with people from other countries who now call Antigonish home. It is a chance to share stories and learn from each other.

Great food. Great conversation. A recipe for success.

The annual Antigonish International Film Festival ( AIFF ) was held last weekend.  In previous years, I had been a casual spectator, more of a “ drop in” kind of person checking out a movie or two. With my wife away for five days and fears of dying from loneliness creeping in, I decided to go “ all in.” I purchased a Festival pass enabling me to catch a smorgasbord of films for the incredibly low price of $20.00. And, for another $20, one could purchase a ticket to the closing meal, a dinner put on by Cultural Connections.

A year ago at this same event, I met Sister Archana Das who was attending the Coady. We struck up a conversation and three months later, I was at her convent in Southern India doing volunteer work.

I eagerly gobbled up 8 movies over the three day festival. But in the back of my mind, I salivated at the thought of attending the closing dinner where I could meet interesting people, compare notes about the films we’d seen and enjoy a spectacular buffet.

The day of the dinner, I carefully monitored my food intake. No, I wasn’t planning on a display of gluttony at the event, but I wanted to be hungry enough to sample as many different foods ( and desserts! ) as humanly possible.

An hour before the event, I picked out my wardrobe. I chose a kurta from a selection that I purchased while in India. It looked a bit wrinkled so I hauled out the iron which had collected dust over the summer.

It was a mild evening, one of several during the latter days of October. There was no need for a jacket or an overcoat so off I went to the hall, a scant two minute walk from our apartment. I was looking pretty stylish and received a few stares from passing vehicles.

The first thing I noticed , with a good  deal of surprise, was the dearth of vehicles parked at or near the church. In fact, there wasn’t a one. I checked my watch and assured myself that I was neither too early nor too late. Had daylight savings happened one week early this year? Was it possible that , unbeknownst to me, the venue had been changed?

I arrived at the back entrance of the church, the one closest to the hall. It was locked. I knocked and peered in through the window. The hall was in total darkness. Just as I was leaving, the janitor arrived at the door. He told me that he was cleaning up from the Cultural Connections dinner which had been held the day before.

I hastily pulled the dinner ticket out of my wallet and sure enough, I had missed the event by exactly 24 hours. Walking back to the apartment was akin to “ the walk of shame” , witnessed most Sunday mornings  when university students crawl on the sidewalks on their way home after an all nighter.

One home, I scrambled to put together something to eat… scrambled eggs and toast, that is.

Is there anything better than a potluck dinner?

Yes. If it’s a Cultural Connections Potluck and you show up on the right day.

Food for thought.


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2 Responses to Out of ( Pot ) Luck

  1. Greg Albert says:

    Interesting Len I also thought that the time change was last week.Funny how things happen when you get older.So do not feel to bad as it happens to the best of us.With that hope you have a good day and try and stay out off trouble.

  2. Alex says:

    Len, this reminded me of a day in the late 60’s, summer job in Halifax, where I lost a whole day due to very good or bad booze…woke at 6:30pm thinking it was am…didn’t notice the sun in the west instead of the east…took the #7 bus, with scarcely a rider except yours truly, (should have been first clue) to the north end job site to find nobody there and the days light starting to fade. Tucked my hard hat under my arm and walked sheepishly all the way back to Morris street, still not sure what was taking place. Had to call a friend to confirm what day / time it was. Stuff happens!

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