Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook GIVEAWAY + Amy's Ginger Cookies

The word potluck conjures up different images for different people, but some of the usual trappings are never far away: Grandma's potato salad, church functions on the lawn, neighborhood parties in the park, and not always (but sometimes), an excessive use of mayonnaise.

It's time we give the potluck a modern twist. A new cookbook was just released that will help you embrace community cooking in a whole new way this summer (and any time of year, really). Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook by Nancy Vienneau is a breath of fresh air, and I'm excited to be able to share it with you! 

Amy's Ginger Cookies
Amy's Ginger Cookies

It all started when two friends in Nashville, Nancy Vienneau and Gigi Gaskins, met at a local summit on food security. Instant friends, they had an idea to host a once-a-month gathering that became "a potluck like no other." 

The rules are simple. Dishes aren't assigned, RSVPs aren't collected, and the whole thing feels casual and relaxing. In reading through the cookbook, I loved the story of the very first potluck. It was like the first day of school, a mix of excitement and nerves. 

Beginnings, by nature, are uncertain. In preparing for our first community potluck, our thoughts occasionally gravitated to worry. Will we have enough food? Will people like it? Will anybody come? Those concerns are natural, but run contrary to the joy and purpose of the gathering.

The collection of stories speaks to the splendor of gathering in any season, and the personal recipes like Maggie's Refrigerator Zucchini Pickles, Caroline's Warm Eggplant Salad, Mark's Fifteen-Spice Steak Rub, or Amy's Ginger Cookies (below), will provide inspiration for all your gatherings to come.

Amy's Ginger Cookies from Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook


What do you bring when you're invited to a picnic, potluck, or summer barbeque? To enter the giveaway for a copy of the Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook, leave a comment sharing your favorite potluck foods before Friday, June 20th. (Winners in US and Canada only.)


Since I wasn't making ice cream sandwiches (although a smear of lemon ice cream would be divine), I halved the recipe, making about 12-15 cookies.

Recipe slightly adapted from Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook by Nancy Vienneau

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup tubrinado sugar
1/4 cup molassas
1 large egg

In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper together. In an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, 1 cup sugar, and molasses together until fluffy. Beat in the egg. Beat in the flour mixture, a little at a time. Cover and chill the dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place remaining sugar in a small bowl. Scoop up rounds of dough and shape into a ball. Roll each ball in the sugar and place on the baking sheets, slightly flattening. Leave 2 inches between each cookie. Bake on the middle rack for 12 minutes.


"The Quiet World" by Jeffrey McDaniel + Ginger Noodle Soup

Quiet is difficult to find most days. We can schedule it, we crave it, and must be purposeful in our quest for peace and order. Even my dog is a heavy breather, so when she sleeps sideways in her bed, I can still hear her in the next room.

This poem makes a good case for silence. What seems absurd at first read—limiting our speech to 167 words per day—is actually a compelling idea. What would we say if we had less than 200 words to say it in? It would force us to think before we speak, become calculated, thoughtful, and only focus on that which is the most important. By the end of the poem, we find two lovers that have used all their words, and can do nothing but listen to each other breathe. This poem reminds us of what can still be said in the silences, and how just existing next to one another, we communicate in a deeply intimate way without uttering a single word.

"How to Eat a Poem" by Eve Merriam + Nectarine & Gingersnap Crumble

There was a moment mid-June where I thought I had missed the season entirely. While all of you were gathering rhubarb and fava beans and writing lovely posts about it, I was doing nothing of the sort. Spring was busy. Good busy. There were trips for both business and pleasure, birthday dinners, and weddings. I was eating just fine, well in fact, but I needed a re-boot. All this added up to a strange and (thankfully) short-lived rut, where I found myself somewhat melancholy that I hadn't yet made it to the farmer's market to take home some of spring's bounty for myself. So I pulled up my bootstraps, tucked a reusable bag under my arm, and strolled the market. I also revisited some poems I had saved to use this summer, and this one set everything right.