Two Potlucks

There’s been quite a bit of potlucking around here. Summer, my birthday, and a fresh lively wave of queer activism seem to bring out the culinary best in everyone.

First, there was a tapas potluck at The Diasporic Filmmaker’s place, in a charming courtyard with a random lattice work of tree branches above, on one of the hottest days of spring. The Librarian outdid herself with smoked trout canapes, tomato-olive-anchovy bruschetta, and little radicchio leaves filled with beet, goat cheese and chopped walnuts. I made a sweet and sour roasted vegetable dish (recipe below). There was an exquisite tuna tapenade and an insouciant red bowl of fresh figs.

On the way there I had stopped off at Bill’s Lobsters, buying an extravagant two pounds of tiger prawns (it was actually quite reasonable). I fried those prawns in garlic and olive oil, squeezed lemon on top and threw on some basil. As the light fell and candles got lit, faces softened and tongues loosened. Emboldened by Prosecco, our jokes got sexier. I passed around the prawns as a kind of coda to the meal. People protested they could eat no more. But as the night deepened the shadows and made candles flicker, we did.

Issues, affects, opinions and heartfelt passions are simmering in the gaybourhood. You’ve probably heard, but Pride Toronto, the bloated, corporate-driven organization that now organizes Toronto’s Pride Day, has chosen to ban Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from the Pride Parade. An entire community has risen up in protest.

What does this have to do with potlucks or food? Well, the newly organized Lesbian Revengers are mixing it up with grassroots politics, potluck picnics on grassy terrain, and a retro, tongue-in-cheek, pomo, intergenerational approach to organizing. Their motto: “Fight the Right While Also Hooking Up.”

A picnic last Sunday proved the point. Over caprese salad, marinated asparagus spears, samosas, spelt bread, Camembert, and more Prosecco, a group of twenty-two lesbians and queers discussed the current issues. Some had marched in the first Pride Parade in Toronto. Others had been involved in anti-racist, Latin American solidarity, and pro-Palestinian organizing, making the links all these years.

” I remember fighting for space in the first Dyke March in the 1970’s in Vancouver…” said one fifty-something woman, as petals from a blossoming tree fell on her head. Someone else had living memory of the bathhouse raids. A young woman spoke poignantly of how we need to seize this moment in a thoughtful, considered way, otherwise, “Next year it’ll be TD/Canada Trust Pride.”

The sun, hidden from us for days, emerged, caressing bare legs and arms. White petals rained down in a sudden gust of wind.

Sweet and Sour Carrots and Zuchinni With Mint

2 medium zuchinni
2 medium carrots
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tblspns wine vinegar
A few sprigs of mint plus extra to serve
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Slice carrots and zucchini lengthwise into finger-sized pieces. Toss in a bowl with half the olive oil. Place on a cookie sheet and roast at 200 degrees for about 15 – 20 minutes, until slightly browned and caramelized (on a day when it’s too hot to turn on the oven, just throw them onto the grill until cooked but not charred).

After removing the veg from the oven, tip the olive oil into a saucepan. Add vinegar, mint, salt and pepper and the remaining olive oil. Place over high heat and let bubble for a minute or two until slightly reduced. Pour over vegetables. Serve warm or room temperature, extra mint sprinkled over top.


  1. Thanks for that. We’re having a big potluck party this week, kind of for Xmas I guess and I’ve been trying to find something unique.. found some awesome ideas at this potluck recipe site. You know, someone should invent a website where you can write what you’ll be taking, and it would make sure no one is bringing the same thing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *