An assorted spread of different dishes at a potluck in Alberta, Canada

A potluck is a communal gathering where each guest or group contributes a different, often homemade, dish of food to be shared.

Other names for a "potluck" include: potluck dinner, pitch-in, shared lunch, spread, faith supper, carry-in dinner,[1] covered-dish-supper,[2] fuddle, Jacob's Join,[3] bring a plate,[4] and fellowship meal.


The word pot-lucke appears in the 16th-century English work of Thomas Nashe discussing wine, [5] and in his play "Summer's Last Will and Testament", spoken in a dialogue concerning wine. The modern execution of a "communal meal, where guests bring their own food", most likely originated in the 1930s during the Great Depression.[6]

Some speakers believe that it is an eggcorn of the North American indigenous communal meal known as a potlatch (meaning "to give away"). There are others who acknowledge the mixed traditions of Potluck.[citation needed]


Various Korean dishes at a potluck

Potluck dinners are events where the attendees bring a dish to a meal.[7] The only traditional rule is that each dish be large enough to be shared among a good portion of the anticipated guests. Guests may bring in any form of food, ranging from the main course to desserts.[8]

See also


  1. ^ "carry-in dinner". Dictionary of American Regional English.
  2. ^ "Definition of COVERED-DISH SUPPER".
  3. ^ "World Wide Words: Jacob's Join".
  4. ^ "What does it mean when you're asked to 'bring a plate'?". Food. 2021-07-09. Retrieved 2022-10-13.
  5. ^ Nash, Thomas (1870). Strange Newes, of the Intercepting Certaine Letters and a Convoy of Verses ...
  6. ^ Flora, Martin. "Potluck Meal Innovation Due to Depression: Guests Chip in With Part of Dinner", Chicago Tribune, Chicago, 27 January 1933. Retrieved on 5 March 2017.
  7. ^ "Potluck Dinner Party Rules for Both Host and Guest". Bon Appétit. 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2023-04-19.
  8. ^ Brown-Micko, Julie (30 October 2015). "Culinary Curiosities: What's the History of the Potluck". Retrieved 2023-04-19.