Community Cookie's Bliss Food

Potluck Revival

Eating together is the most powerful way to signal friendship and the easiest way to build community.

I told Bob I wanted throw a potluck for my birthday and he sprang to it by spiffing up the vegetable garden and ordering a huge cake from Phoenix Bakery. Meanwhile, I mulched the orchard and spread the word.


Tami and Maria

We opened our doors at 4:30 with the sun still high above, and two hours later when we began eating, it was still pretty and bright.

Little Pond Farm gang

When Arlo and five of his friends emerged from the woods in their work boots with food and a couple of guitars, I felt as if I were watching a movie. They looked like the rescuers striding through smoking rubble after an apocalyptic disaster. I’m not exaggerating, my vision grew blurry with emotion for an instant before I remembered my manners and waved cheerily.

In retrospect, having just turned seventy and finding myself uncharacteristically exhausted by 2:00 PM on some days, the sheer vigor of this next generation brings me great comfort. I feel as if they’ve got our backs, us older folks, and that it’s okay for us to slow down.


Little Pond-ers Zach, Rob, Emma, Soren, and Kristin—everyone but Arlo who has been to our house many times

Spot, our greeter, had his work cut out for him and kept Bob busy snapping “first time to Trouts Farm” pictures of the newcomers.

Zach brought freshly-baked bread
Rob, man of many talents
Emma brought a killer Mac and Cheese
Soren’s people hail from Sicily and I see it in his features.
Kristin, a solid ray of sunshine
Surprisingly, Carrie had not gotten into our Spot Album even though she has visited many times.
Shelley’s Eric gets to guess what on earth Spot is thinking about.
Maria, a woman brave enough to squeeze a rusty old zebra
Bob set up two tables into our new, very yellow, dining room.


Dishing it up

There was so much food! Salads, fruit, bread, casseroles, tempeh, meat, and beans.


I cannot say how many friends have eaten with us in our little dining room but it has been years since we had more than eight people at the table.

The old guys, making each other laugh.

Lyle’s Potluck Podcast captures my joy above the roar of 27 people having a good time:

The overflow table in the kitchen with David, Eric, Shelley, and Hannah 


Giant lemon lavender cake from Phoenix Bakery

Bob bought a unforgettable triple-layer, gluten-free Lemon Lavender Cake to help us celebrate six May and June birthdays.

Birthday wishes

Shelley, Camille, Kersten, Arlo, Zach, and Hannah made birthday wishes and blew out the candles.

All animals share food to show each other that they are friends. A horse new to the herd, for example, gets run around by the lead mare until she decides they belong, and then she lowers her head to eat. New acquaintances say, “How ’bout a cup of coffee?” The alpha wolf brings food to the den and shares it. Eating together is the most powerful way to signal friendship and the easiest way to build community.

After everyone left, Bob and I tidied up, savoring bits of stray conversation and getting one more taste of cake before tucking into bed, spent and happy.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

6 replies on “Potluck Revival”

What a great idea for a birthday celebration. Sounded like everyone had a great time.

Great event, Bob and Camille. I think our little bend in the road is returning to a “flow state,” after many years of solid “ebb.” Great party, thank you for hosting.

Yes! Flow is the perfect way to describe how I feel about the state of the ‘hood. Thank you for starting the whole thing by drawing so many wonderful people to The Bend.

What a beautiful gathering you hosted! Thanks so much and can’t wait to do it again.

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