It’s Pot Luck Time!

Today we’re feeling festive, so we’re imagining what our characters would bring if they were invited to a pot luck. Because it’s the beginning of Pot Luck Season worldwide! Or does that last year-round? In any case, let’s see what we end up with…

Lisa Q. Mathews

CotC Word balloons

Most of the residents at Hibiscus Pointe, a fancy retirement community in Southwest Florida, take their meals in the Cascades dining room. And often social events at the Pointe are catered by the same kitchen. That does not stop twenty-something Summer from snagging a few brownies and blondies (the sad, non-chocolate version) from the buffet table to bring to social events or eat for breakfast. Her older friend and co-sleuth Dorothy prefers to pick up a box of Pepperidge Farms Milano Assortment cookies and a bouquet of flowers from the nearest Publix supermarket. (Quite coincidentally, I often do the same for my real estate open houses.) All three of us will also throw in a gracious bottle of wine (Summer and I both prefer Prosecco.)

 Ellen Byron


Maggie Crozat would bring jambalaya, of course. Cajun, not Creole. What’s the difference, you ask? Cajun is brown, Creole red. Why, you ask? Because Creole – common in New Orleans – contains tomatoes, whereas Cajun doesn’t. She’d also bring a coconut pecan pie.

But don’t think for a minute that Maggie’s doing the cooking herself. Nope. She relies on the culinary talents of her mother for these dishes. But if you want to try your hand at them, you’ll find the recipes in my books.

Vickie Fee

vickieAs a party planner, Liv McKay depends on caterers for most of her events. And she’s not above picking up a pecan or coconut cream pie from Town Square Diner as a last-minute offering for a church potluck or to drop off at the home of a bereaved family. But for a gathering where Liv knows she’ll be judged harshly for bringing something pre-made instead of “making the effort”—such as at a baby shower she’s co-hosting or certain family gatherings—her go-to dishes are banana pudding and meatloaf. Her easy banana pudding recipe calls for instant vanilla pudding rather than homemade, topped with cool whip rather than meringue, or what Liv’s mama refers to as “lazy” banana pudding. And Liv’s meatloaf instantly puts her husband, Larry Joe, in a good mood. The secret to Southern, man-pleasing meatloaf is white bread soaked in milk—none of those store-bought bread crumbs.

Kellye Garrett


Much like her creator, Dayna Olivia Anderson does not cook. However, this does not mean she doesn’t like to eat. Since she couldn’t bring take-out menus, she’d probably bring the drinks. Nothing like a nice selection of wine to set a meal off. She’s also swing by Southern Girl Desserts in Baldwin Hills and pick up a nice selection of sweet potato cupcakes with a few red velvet throw in for good measure. We’d just have to hope she doesn’t eat them all in the car on the way there! They are that good.

Cynthia Kuhn


Lila is not much of a cook—she describes herself as a “warmer-upper.” So she’d bring a tray of delightful assorted cheeses and upscale crackers. (Can crackers be upscale? Discuss.) As accompaniment, she’d offer a lovely bottle of cabernet + a bag of crushed ice, the ingredients required for her favorite drink, The Wine Slushie. At the bottom of her tote, you’d find a box of Mint Milanos, the cookies she always has on hand in case her mother Violet shows up. Plus, they’re fancy because they come in little crinkly papers. Bon appetit!


Readers, drop us a note in the comments below! What would your favorite characters bring to a pot luck?

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30 thoughts on “It’s Pot Luck Time!

  1. This is a great post. And yes, I agree with all the choices. They sound spot on!
    Cynthia, Cynthia. Yes, of course crackers can be upscale. Something with herbs automatically makes it upscale. Or just some fancy brand. Nabisco makes Entertainment Crackers.
    Vickie, but the Nilla wafers in the pudding can call it retro’d out.
    What would Ashley bring? Well, Starbucks fraps would be too expensive for a party. So what would she bring? She doesn’t cook. She is addicted to chocolate and coffee. She would go to Fred’s Bakery and either get the Mocha Cake or the Blackout. The store is an icon, being around since like a few years before I was born. It will be hitting 60 years next year I think.
    What would Nathan bring? He is all about having the best for showing off, just like his clothes. So he would hook up with Danya and buy more expensive wine.

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  2. Ellen, I had no idea about the difference between Cajun and Creole jambalaya. And now I know we prefer the Cajun variety!

    Cynthia, crackers can definitely be upscale.

    Of my protagonists, Jim Duncan would bring the beer. Almost certainly a darker variety and maybe a local brew, although he’s partial to the Edmund Fitzgerald porter from Great Lakes Brewing. He might (grudgingly) bring a lager for people who don’t like to eat their beer. Sally Castle (who rarely cooks for herself, but likes to cook for others) would mostly likely bring a variety of a pasta salad (although she wouldn’t pass up one of Kellye’s cupcakes!).

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  3. When we have potlucks at work, I try to get on the list to bring plates and napkins, forks and knives, or drinks. If I’m too late (those items fill up fast), I buy something to take.

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  4. It’s hilarious how none of our protags cook – even in the series that includes recipes. (Aka/ mine!) And Kellye, I HAVE to go to that bakery. I wonder how early they’re open. Maybe I can go on the way to the airport. Off to do research!

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  5. I see Kat from my series would feel right at home with a lot of your characters. She’s not a very good cook either. She attempted a tofu pumpkin pie for the last potluck she went to, and it didn’t turn out well. (Tofu pumpkin pie in real life is delicious though, so don’t let Kat’s culinary fails deter you from trying it!) And as a side note, congrats, Kellye, on your Anthony nomination!

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  6. Well, my protagonist, Sally Solari, definitely DOES cook, but if invited to a potluck she might just buy something since she’d no doubt be sick of working the hot line at Gauguin. Pizza is always a big hit at potlucks, and is Italian, to boot!

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    1. Leslie, in Memphis lasagna seems to be a potluck standard — and I’m sure Sally’s would be killer! But, I like the idea of pizza. 🙂

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  7. The only recipes I have tried from the culinary cozies I read are from Joanne Fluke’s books, so I’ll take on Hannah Swensen. She’s bring a wonderful new culinary creation she’s just trying out. But I would have nothing to do with it because it would mean I’d become the new murder victim.

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