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The Big Question: Is That *Storebought* Pie? Edition | Manolo for the Big Girl

The Big Question: Is That *Storebought* Pie? Edition

Did you guys know it’s Thanksgiving next week?! NEXT WEEK!

Listen, it’s not that I don’t like Thanksgiving, because I do. I mean granted my ancestors had the decency to:
a) Be part of the Established Church
b) Not get lost on their way to Virginia and wind up in some godforsaken place where they didn’t have the sense not to trade Babe Ruth.

So Thanksgiving isn’t really my thing, it’s pretty much just pre-gaming Advent for me, but there’s Obligatory Pie and any holiday involving Obligatory Pie is the sort of holiday that’s a-ok by me.

It’s also the season of Unwelcome Potlucks. There are few things I love more than a good potluck, because a good potluck is a blood sport in the South, and your covered-dish event can’t be considered a true success until someone cries, with extra points if someone gets tomato aspic –with homemade mayonnaise, of course– tossed at their head in a fit of pique.

Unfortunately, Unwelcome Potlucks –the office potluck being the worst– are as banal as their counterpoints are sublime. At this very moment I am staring at the food altar onto which a veritable sea of Cool Whip cheesecakes, dump cakes (how, uh, evocative) and deflated veggie trays have been placed. Which isn’t to say there aren’t a few guilty pleasures to be had. There is something shiny and beige in a casserole that was pretty good, and it’s hard to go wrong with a properly stuffed egg (although I will go to my grave thinking sweet stuffed eggs are a lowbrow abomination, if you turn your head for more than a second you will return to a surprisingly quiet and puff-cheeked Miss Plumcake).

So in the spirit of the food coma into which I will shortly enter, Today Miss Plumcake wants to know:

What is your favorite potluck food? Do you have a guilty pleasure? What’s the most embarrassing, tragic foodstuffs you’ve seen at a covered-dish and more importantly, was it delicious?

56 Responses to “The Big Question: Is That *Storebought* Pie? Edition”

  1. Lady A November 19, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

    Plumcake-I was born in Norfolk VA, raised in Chesapeake. Virginians are very good at the booze, it’s true–my Dad has proudly displayed a Southern Comfort mirror as part of the home decor for as long as I can remember. My grandad is still working part time in a liquor store at age 85. He is a bourbon drinker, and when I was younger I thought all of the different brands of bourbon were the names of his friends.

  2. Frances November 19, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

    @Madame Suggia

    No kidding, that is what pretty much every single family function of mine has been like. Sometimes there’s more cake, sometimes more jelly, but always Baileys and banana chips and giggling on the stoop and stuffing the dog til she can’t move and staying up so late that everyone just sleeps over and waking up the next morning to coffee and fantastic leftovers (rice and curry for breakfast!) and sitting around the kitchen table gossiping, then going out for lunch together and FINALLY heading home.

    Tums? Weak sauce, my lady. In my family, if you have heartburn, you must soothe it with copious amounts of punch and fruit jelly. Worked for us.

  3. Cathouse Blues November 20, 2010 at 11:08 pm #

    I tend not to indulge at office potlucks at all due to too many cases of food poisoning (seriously, does no one wash their hands), but I have watched in horror as proud cooks have presented their “famous” dump cakes (kitty litter cake variations included, not sure how tootsie roll poop is supposed to be appetizing), grape jelly meatballs (sorry, but ugh), umpteen variations of seven-layer dip and/or bean dip and some sort of UI casserole. I never feel more like a food snob (which I’m normally not) than at these events where I stick to the veggies and swear that I’ll try your whatever on my next pass through the line. I’ve learned the hard way to stick with cheesecakes or cookies for my contributions, because if I bring anything other than cafeteria food it just gets stared at, sniffed at, then ignored.

  4. Cathouse Blues November 20, 2010 at 11:13 pm #

    Of course, after all that carping, I will say that if someone brings those idiotic chipped-beef-and cream-cheese rolls they might as well just hand me the whole dish because ain’t nobody else gettin’ nuttin’.

  5. Leonard Colgin November 23, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    Man, my grandmother was Italian and she made the most delicious meatballs I ever tasted, like you had died and gone to meatball heaven. Sadly, she didnt leave a single recipe for us so I’ve been trying to work it out by myself… slowly working my through the meatball recipe here, I still cant figure out what her secret ingredient was though!!!

  6. Susan November 28, 2010 at 12:29 am #

    @Gina When Kraft discontinued the Jalepeno Cheese Roll for good – they received so many letters that it stayed on the market another year after they originally planned to stop making it – many of us began using Kraft Garlic Cheese Roll, mainly because we had it on and for making Cheese Grits, and some Green Tabasco Sauce. A few years later Kraft did the unthinkable and discontinued the Garlic Cheese Roll without a word of warning — some people resorted to Velveeta or Mexican Velveeta in both dishes. I favor using Colby and Monterrey Jack with an appropriate amount of green Tabasco sauce. Frankly – I have never found an acceptable substitute.