Stories from middle America

The idea struck me–like most good ideas tend to do–early one morning in the shower. While vigorously shampooing and deeply conditioning, the theme of an upcoming family get-together crystallized in a few brief seconds. Rather than hosting the standard potluck dinner with my mom, aunt, two cousins, and a good friend, I quickly decided to enhance the evening with the addition of a single word.


Yes, I would still host a Saturday night potluck dinner with a signature cocktail, appetizers, main entrée, side dishes, and dessert. However, my beloved guests had one stipulation: their recipes must be plucked from–and only from–Pinterest.

Awash in stunning photography, delicious foods, fashionable accessories, drool-worthy dresses, clever craft projects, and countless other DIY inspiration, within Pinterest are actual instructions. Guides to making our lives and our homes more peaceful and less chaotic. Recipes that make our pallets sing, forcing us to travel beyond our casual favorites for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Of course Pinterest is a stress-free website perfect for perusing on a lazy Saturday morning. But its value can only increase when we take action on the projects that tickle our collective fancies.

I set about planning my Pinterest Potluck Party with a simple email, requesting that my guests send me their menu choices based on new recipes from Pinterest. Based on each person’s pick, I could safely ensure we would not sit down to six variations of cheesy chicken pasta. I kept each dish a secret from the other guests until the night of our dinner. There was much excitement, a hum of “ooohs” and “aaahs” with each grand reveal, as warm serving platters covered in aluminum foil were unwrapped for the tasting.

Our dishes ranged from Mississippi Sin Dip to Asparagus with Dijon Vinaigrette to Vanilla Oatmeal No Bake Cookies (and various other sweet and savory combinations in between).

After the event, I collected every recipe served that night and created a shared board on Pinterest by reference for my guests and my faithful Pinterest followers. (To view our entire menu and their respective recipes, visit my Pinterest Potluck Party board.)

As the host, I provided a cocktail and the main dish. Simple, fresh, and colorful flowers were the inspiration for my table décor (and my bathroom, an important room not to overlook when guests are expected).

And because I love to surprise friends and family, each guest went home with a scented hand soap and a pretty desktop notepad holder – the latter of which was a craft project completed by my aunt which she found (of course) on Pinterest.






  • Mary Townley

    I was one of the very lucky ones who got invited to the absolutely charming potluck dinner!! The table setting was was so pretty, the food yummy and the fun and giggles were non-stop! What a darling and creative host!!!

    • Jessica McKay

      It looks like it was a lot of fun!

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