Corn Salad and Potlucks

June 14, 2024 0 By Mirm

I was asked to share about a salad that I made one time for a Staff women’s lunch years ago. Little did I know it would be such a hit! It was an old potluck recipe that I was given by a close friend and as I rifled through my recipe box I could have made any number of typical potluck salads, but that is the one I chose.  The original recipe called for ingredients that I really don’t like so I tweaked it and added a few different things and brought it to the lunch and since then I have been asked to bring it many more times. In fact when or if  I don’t bring it it feels a little mutinous at the lunch!

It is nice to make things that people like and that they ask for again and again. As a mom, I tried to make nutritious meals but I also tried to make things that my family would like. In fact my kids’ friends would ask if they could stay for dinner because they liked what I was making over what their parent was serving! I am sure that happened in the reverse as well.

The word “potluck” means exactly what it seems to mean, a meal of chance. You reach into the “pot” to retrieve some food, not really knowing what you might find, because the dish was prepared by someone else. I have been to my fair share of potlucks because I was raised in a Baptist church. Regardless of my feelings about an overfilled plate with tastes of all kinds of flavors mixed up (similarly to frozen mixed vegetables that all taste alike) here is some of what I have learned about church life from potlucks.

The first lesson about church life is Generosity –

I recognize that the “modern” potluck is not necessarily an accurate view of a true potluck because now people run to the store for a bag of cookies or chips when they could give more thought, energy or enough to share. But, back in the day we didn’t worry about running out (except for the lone tub of KFC chicken). Most families brought more than enough to feed their entire family. People came not to be fed but to feed others. There was a generosity, and no one went away hungry. It was a chance for some of the empty nest grandmas to once again make their favorite dish, eventually being asked to share their recipe in the church cookbook.

Isn’t this precisely the way we all should function?! – not just at a potluck, but everyday. Just like Jesus. Christians should “look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). We should desire “not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45). We should generously offer as much as we can possibly afford to share. And we should be giving our best, pouring our heart into it. When the whole church lives this way, we experience the same phenomenon the early church experienced, “There was not a needy person among them” (Acts 4:34). The abundance of the wealthy supplies the needs of the poor, “that there might be fairness” (2 Corinthians 8:14) and no one goes away hungry.

Church life means Hospitality

Once I learned that this word means to love strangers, to take care of others and that it is core value in biblical culture, it widened my perspective on what it means to make sure everyone is cared for and leaves feeling like family. No matter who comes to a meal they all leave well-fed and blessed. I remember plenty of single people in our church who probably ate alone every night and a family meal with the conversation and laughter, which as a kid in a large family I took for grated, but now as an empty nest widow I realize what a treasure a shared meal is. Looking for opportunities to do the next right thing, to do good for others, especially those who cannot return the favor should be the posture of every Christ follower. Creating a desire to serve our brothers and sisters, but also a desire to serve the outsider and the stranger (Galatians 6:10). We should all make room for one another, just as Jesus made room for us (Romans 15:7).

Church life is Diversity in community.

Next to running out of food, one of the worst things that can happen at a potluck is that everyone brings exactly the same thing. Monotony. I grew up in a church where several people spoke with eastern European accents and served food that matched. I served on a church staff with quite a few families from other parts of the world and they brought their favorite comfort foods that were very different from mine and very delicious! Good meals consist of a variety of foods. I love it when a potluck is multiethnic. I love to see the food that reflects one’s background, culture, and heritage and there is an opportunity to try new foods. The same is true in every aspect of the church, diversity is one of the greatest highlights. Rather than being a “melting pot,” the church should be like a potluck, a place where we recognize and celebrate the ethnic diversity of the people Jesus has brought to his table, people “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). The diversity of people- all made in His image – at Jesus’ table is a source of his glory and honor.

I could add many other thoughts that include Acts 2 type stuff about family and created intergenerational community. Last weekend I went to a funeral and gathered with church folks who became family almost 60 years ago and I will say that potlucks in addition to reminding me to be generous, hospitable and communal they remind me to be grateful. I am so thankful that God created community that will last forever over His banqueting table.

Side note: I am not sure I only want to be known for this one salad but I will stop for now.

PS Here is the recipe

Frito Corn Salad


2 15 oz cans whole kernel corn, drained

1 c. bell pepper chopped (I like to use all the colors)

1 c. chopped jicama

1 c. plain Greek yogurt

2 c. grated cheddar cheese

Optional additions -¼ c. chopped green onion, celery, black olives (chopped), cilantro (chopped)- add one or more!

1 bag coarsely crushed Fritos chili cheese corn chips

  1. Mix all ingredients except chips
  2. Add chips immediately before serving so they don’ get soggy. If you will put your Fritos in the freezer for an hour before serving this, they will stay crunchy longer.
  3. The original recipe calls for 1c. mayo instead of the yogurt and ½ c. chopped purple onion in place of the jicama