We know the power of food - cooking can be therapy from a difficult day, sharing a dish can be a display of love and friendship, Sunday dinners can bring a busy family together. In short - food brings us together, regardless of who we are, where we're from, or what we eat. Because we all have to eat and breaking bread together can be a powerful way to break down barriers. So we decided to try a little potluck experiment all across Canada... and guess what? Food really does unite all of us!
At FBC, we focus on bringing people together with a sense of community, kindness to one another and, of course, a shared love of food. With everything going on in the world currently, we thought the universe could use a dose of togetherness, humanity and food from around the globe.
We put a call-out to the FBC community in the hopes of sparking an idea and that idea was Food Unites All Of Us. We invited/challenged FBC members and food bloggers across Canada to open their homes to old friends and new acquaintances so that everyone could share a meal with one another.
The ask was a simple one: to enjoy a potluck meal with everyone bringing something that told a story of their family history and heritage. The goal was to break bread and be introduced to a dish that you may be unfamiliar with.
We had no idea what to expect but we were optimistic of having potential hosts step up. And we weren't let down, with more than 10 people graciously taking the lead in their respective cities. When it was all said and done, some potlucks consisted of two people while others ranged anywhere from 4 to 12 people.
We know that some hosts were envisioning and hoping for a huge turnout but we've organized and hosted enough events over the years to know better. In the case of something like this, bigger didn't necessarily mean better. It was about the connections and having the opportunity to sit around a table to have meaningful conversations.
Overall, it was a grand success and everyone who hosted and participated felt more connected than when they first sat down. So we thought we'd leave it to some of those bloggers who hosted to share their thoughts on their Food Unites All Of Us Potluck Experience.
With everything happening in the world these days, finding unity and bringing people together seemed like a worthwhile idea. And food has the unique ability to engage a group of people like few other things in life —maybe music. Harmony amongst friends and with food seemed like a good idea.
Our potluck in Victoria may have been teeny tiny (Heather Pace from Sweetly Raw and myself) but it was very fun and super delicious. Heather and I had only met once before, so being able to spend a couple of hours talking about blogging and everything under the sun with a fellow food entrepreneur was a fantastic experience. We are planning to get together for regular dinners and support! Food really does unite us.
Heidi - Chef Heidi Fink
Since my apartment would have been a tight squeeze, the Vancouver potluck was made possible due to the generosity of Sam from My Kitchen Love opening up her house for all of us. Before sitting down to dinner, we all huddled in the kitchen snacking on appetizers, sipping on wine and just enjoying the opportunity to spend time with each other. For my contribution to the meal, I brought a honey cake which is traditionally served in the Fall for the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah to welcome a sweet year ahead. It may have Spring, but considering the theme of the potluck, it hit the right note.
Ethan - Food Bloggers of Canada
It was my honour to host a Calgary Food Unites Potluck and invite many friends, old and new, into my home. It was a wonderful chance to catch up with each other, something we don’t often get to do. And the common food theme? Everyone made something that was easy to them. It was fascinating to see what easy means to different people. To me, easy equals delicious. This has inspired us to have more potlucks and we can’t wait until the next one.
Heather - Heather Eats
We had a small group that fit around my kitchen table. It included a food sovereignty professor, an alternative bookstore owner, a science outreach educator, a pastry chef and a market gardener along with me and my family — conversation was fascinating! I served venison stew to honour my Saskatchewan roots, along with pyrishki, potato-stuffed buns that my Ukrainian grandmother used to make. We also had maple and mustard glazed carrots, "Sunday dinner"canapés (lamb, parsnip and mint), Baja black beans, and old-fashioned donuts for dessert.
Noelle - Noelle Chorney
Opening your home to people that you may only know from the internet can be a little disconcerting. If you just push past the fear of judgment you get to a really nice place. That place is open and accepting and ready to welcome new friends. You may worry that you have nothing in common or conversation might be slim, but in the end those worries are whisked away by warm welcomes, lively chatter and the opportunity to share a meal. Good food and good stories go hand in hand, all of us come with our own history and experiences that solidify the connections of new friendships.
By the time the last bite of dessert was enjoyed and coffee cups were emptied we had made plans for the next potluck because you can never have too much of a good thing! Gathering around our common love of good food filled not only our bellies, but our hearts and minds as well.
Selena - Dip Diva
Like a lot of people, I started this year dismayed by the negativity sweeping across the world. When FBC invited members across Canada to host local potluck gatherings to connect and build community over food, I jumped at the chance to do something positive.
The four food bloggers present shared good conversation and dishes that spoke of our cultures, families and personal food stories. I honoured my roots with two classically Belgian dishes — frikadellen (meatballs) with sour cherry sauce, and green beans — that bring memories of my parents flooding back whenever I make them. Sharing these dishes with new friends brought deep meaning to the evening for me.
By the end of the event, four mostly strangers at the beginning had forged connections and a desire to gather again, proving once more that food unites us all.
Marlene - Urban Cottage Life
The first Toronto Food Unites All of Us Potluck at the Centre for Social Innovation was an intimate gathering of Food Bloggers of Canada local members. The idea behind the potluck — bringing people together over a delicious meal to share and celebrate our cultural stories and backgrounds — was an invigorating, brief respite from the ever-present world news.
Growing up in a Trinidadian family, food has always been the centre of gatherings; cooking and eating are both social events, a vehicle to bring people together to talk, connect and share. The potluck provided us the same opportunity, a chance to meet face-to-face, share food, stories and connect. By the end we were already planning the next one!
Hema - Nomadic Nutritionist
This is the Blog Post I wrote after our potluck.
I love a potluck because it brings people together, and in this case with a theme of something from our heritage it allows you to get to know the person and their culture.
I brought a simple carrot salad because I wasn't sure about food allergies and also it was something I thought could be a good side for anything else. It was a simple grated carrot salad with a vinaigrette. It's a salad my mother made a lot and it represented her European simple roots. My mother wasn't able to attend much school because of the war and because of growing up during the war in Europe she didn't have much so things like a simple salad were dishes she probably had often as my family had it often as well.
Linda - Starving Foodie
My folks emigrated from Poland to England; they owned a deli and food was literally our life. Canada, my home for nearly 40 years, is a beacon in turbulent times, and FBC’s call to unite around food resonated deeply. Though take-up among the approximately 14 Waterloo Region bloggers we contacted was surprisingly low, I was glad to share so much more than food with Carolyn and Paula. A first step in another journey...
Alex - Food For Thought
Our Montreal potluck was great fun and the time absolutely flew by. The evening was filled with delicious food and drink from a wide variety of cultures including Italian, Peruvian and French-Canadian. There was a steady stream of inspiring conversation from topics like food education in schools to the importance of family dinner. We debated over the best way to cook a turkey and swapped recipes for cranberry relish. Opinions on kale chips were divided, but we all shared a mutual love for the flan, shortbread and madeleines we consumed for dessert. We shared plenty of laughs, but also opened up about our struggles, too. I look forward to our next gathering very much.
Aimee - Simple Bites
So let's realize our differences aren't really that different. In fact, they're what makes life interesting, and worth living. Let's use them as an opportunity to learn about one another.