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Please don't judge me based on my potluck

Suppers, Potlucks & Socials: Crowd-Pleasing Recipes to Bring People Together. 

I hate everything about potlucks. Work potlucks, friends potlucks, basically the word potluck runs a chill down my spine that spells disaster all the way.

Work potlucks are especially gruelling. Don't you feel you just can't show up with kale salad and a side of Kraft Caesar Dressing?

Plus, you never can opt out of a work potluck. It's performance pressure to the nth degree. You know your coworkers are judging you (snide remarks aside), and there's no doubt that your boss has made a mental note somewhere at the front of his mind, that either puts you in the impressive category or in a separate category titled either "miscellaneous" or "not promotion-worthy".  

Judgement aside, is it just me that feels like potluck prep always happens on a school night? Am I the only one slogging it on the jammed transit cars, trying to get it in one piece to the office? It's damn stressful. Not to mention that when I'm finally able to get it into work (in one piece), there's absolutely no space in the communal fridge for an extra piece of fruit, rest alone my "impressive" potluck that comes in its own Linen Chest presentation plate (that I purchased specifically for this day). 

But, perhaps why I hate it so much is that suddenly the burden is on me to prepare a dish that is exemplary in taste and presentation. Hosting a dinner party at home, in comparison is relatively simpler. I've made the choice to invite my friends and of course I'm usually mentally prepared for it. I plan it well in advance so I know it will be manageable for me and I have the luxury of time to decide on a delicious spread. In most cases, I also who my guests are and am aware of their specific dietary requirements and food idiosyncrasies. 

Karlynn Johnson aka The Kitchen Magpie has a new cookbook out that's slated to allay all my anxieties about potlucks and socials. She's already the bestselling author of two other books called Flapper Pie and Blue Prairie Sky, and her new one, The Prairie Table is published by Appetite by Random House, so seriously, what do I have to lose but to try out some of these recipes that on the cover tells me are "crowd-pleasing recipes to bring people together". 

I figure I'd bring The Prairie Table home to my table and give it a try. 

Buttery Mushroom Rice is one of my favourite home comfort recipes. I must say that I was surprised when I came across this recipe in Karlynn Johnson's The Prairie Table, because I like to think of it as one of my own recipes that I serve at home all the time. So simple to make with the basic of ingredients: butter, mushroom soup, beef broth and basmati rice. But then again, I consider cream of mushroom soup a versatile ingredient that can inevitably spice up an infinite number of dishes. 

Karylnn Johnson's husband gets his own chapter in The Prairie Table, and it's one of my personal favourite sections. Titled "Libations", Mr. Kitchen Magpie shares recipes from old-time favourites like Sparkling Gin Gimlet, Red Wine Whiskey Sangria, Maple Mudslide, and even a Family-Friendly Sangria Punch. In addition, you'll learn how to make several types of syrups, including Strawberry Rhubarb Simple Syrup, Smoky Simple Syrup and Brown Sugar Simple Sugar. My taste buds are getting all sugary spelling these out. 

Want to know what to stock up in your home bar? No problem. Mr. Kitchen Magpie shows you how. From what types of glassware to have on hand, to what to have in your liquor cabinet, the list is comprehensive. He also includes a list of perishables such as vanilla ice cream, oranges, egg whites, and more. Follow me on Instagram @sukasastyle and I'll post a few of these must-have items.

I've digressed from Karlynn Johnson's recipes, but I'm running out of time and if I continue to write the content in this post will be voluminous. I'll be sure to post a few pics on Instagram (@sukasastyle) over the next little while. 

It seems that every foodie blogger is destined to get a cookbook these days. And, why not? After all, they do have millions of followers who hang on to their every recipe on YouTube. So naturally, you'd think that a paper edition would be a logical choice to get chefs into more people's homes. But is this really the case. Do people who always go to YouTube, for a quick recipe, actually pick up a physical cookbook and peruse through to decide on a dinner recipe. The alternative is a Kobo. And that is just not as accessible. Never owned one, and most of my friends who did, have put it on their shelves to collect dust, opting instead for something tangible that they can have an organic connection to. 

That's the marketing side of me talking. Whether or not publishing more cookbooks is the answer to increasing the chef's brand, for me the ease of having a visual foodie presence at home, is key. It inspires me, and reminds me that I should be cooking more. It brings me joy knowing I have control over what I put into my body. After all, health is everything.