Next Stop: Food Network

Quick: Who is the one person you know who is LEAST likely to win a prize for cooking? Hint: Her photo appears in the sidebar to your right.

Yep, the Devil is buying ice skates right this very minute. I have won the highly coveted Neighborhood Pot Luck – Salad Division Award! Okay, so technically, it was a tie with neighbor Roger who made a yummy pimiento cheese salad, and if I had quit eating and talking long enough to cast my vote, he would have won outright.

But he didn’t–we tied, and my name was called as a (co)winner of an Award in Cooking! I beat–I mean, WE beat out a cole slaw, a Chinese cashew salad, some sort of Cool Whip concoction, and three different versions of potato salad (gotta love the South.)

I wish I could tell you that my entry was a “healthy” salad, but it wasn’t. Past neighborhood pot luck experience has taught me that “healthy” don’t move. The average age of attendees is probably around 70 (maybe a little higher), and they don’t want what those of us here would call “healthy.” What they want is low-cholesterol, sugar free stuff they don’t eat every day at home. So I pandered to the masses and chose a recipe that fell somewhere between truly healthy and a category I like to call “probably won’t kill you in small portions every now and then.”

I’ll share the recipe with you, just in case you find yourself in a similar situation. I poached it from AllRecipes, and made only a few minor changes. It’s inexpensive per serving (important for the unemployed person cooking for a crowd), easy to prepare, and colorful. Plus, it probably won’t kill you.

Fruit Salad
• 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks (I used 2 cans, packed in juice)
• 1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix (I used sugar-free, nectar of old people)
• 1 (15 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained (I couldn’t find any juice-packed, so I used light syrup)
• 1 (10 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained (I used 2 jars, minus 3 cherries)
• 3 bananas (my bananas were small, so I used those plus one medium sized)
1. Drain all of the juice from the pineapple into a large bowl. Set the pineapple chunks aside.
2. Add the vanilla pudding mix to the pineapple juice and mix well until smooth. Stir in the pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, and maraschino cherries. Mix well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Just before serving slice the bananas into the bowl and fold in.

I also sprinkled a few whole pecans across the top for contrast. I think I read that in a magazine once.

Okay, so it’s not really cooking, just stirring. And in my book, it’s more dessert than salad. But considering it was a “salad”, I’ll let that part slide. (I’m generous that way.) I’m mostly just gratified that people liked what I brought. Some poor lady made a spice cake (from mix, I think) that had only four small squares taken. I had one of those, and she insisted I take another piece home with me. Since I’ve been in her shoes and had to take home most of a dish I’d prepared, I agree. Unfortunately, I “dropped” it in my yard when I was walking home, over on the side where the birds congregate in the mornings. (The chocolate-covered marshmallow thingie made it in the house safely.)

Overall, it was a fun and informative evening, with the social aspect of it being the most enjoyable. We had around 45-50 folks in attendance, and I met some new-to-me neighbors for the first time. AND I get to see my name (and Roger’s) in the next neighborhood newsletter as prize-winner(s)! Plus, now that I know there’s a contest involved (I had forgotten that), I can begin planning what to take to next year’s event.

Unless I’m busy with my new show on Food Network. How does “Cammy Stirs!” sound for a series title?

Does your neighborhood have potlucks and gatherings like this? What types of foods do folks typically bring?

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! I’m off to the gym to counter some birthday/potluck excesses. :)

18 thoughts on “Next Stop: Food Network

  1. STIRRING COUNTS! Congrats on your co-win. Now.. what do I take to a pot-luck? We don’t go to many, except around T-Giving and X-Mas and usually family requests my (THE) greenbean cassarole and pecan pies. HOWEVER, because I’m working to get healthy, I’ll come up with a new dish. Deviled eggs (since starting in a couple of weeks we’ll have over a dozen laid a day. Or my homemade goat cheese. Or homemade goat yogurt parfait. Hmmm… I’m getting hungry! Vee at

  2. We have many, but just our street so not nearly as many people. And no awards:) Our food is always unpredictable and a mix. Last time I brought a black bean salad since I wanted something healthy for myself. (Also allrecipes. And I brought it to Minnesota for our family potluck too.) Unfortunately we have a neighbor who works for a candy company so at dessert time, along with whatever goodies are there, he starts passing around boxes of candy. Sigh.

  3. Congrats! How about Tiptoeing through the kitchen with Cammy?

    Surprisingly for such a small town I live in, those kind of things don’t happen very often. There are, however, quite a few chicken BBQs and spaghetti dinners at the local VFW and firehouse 😀

  4. I have often pan handled a recipe from All Recipes, with pretty good success. Have a great workout! :)

  5. Hi Cammy: here’s my answer to your comment on my blog: Cammy: Actually we do live way off in the country. There’s a tiny corner-store about 1 mile from our home, but the next closest gas station and store is about a 30 min drive. We live in this “subdivision” of about 500+ homes, from 2 acres to 60 per property. And in this subdivision, it’s accepted that people have livestock… at least chickens or horses or goats. A neighbor behind us have pigs, goats, chickens and turkeys. There are alpacas to our left, a horse to our right, and donkeys across the street. Of course, we just have chickens and goats for now (well, our bunny is inside). We also have roaming the area: deer, elk, mountain lions, foxes and coyotes, and the occasional wild dog or feral cat. Lots of mice. It’s NEVER completely quiet here, but that’s ok. We like it here. Vee at

  6. That’s so funny!! And congratulations on the great stirring. I think there’s some alchemy involved to get all your good energy in it.
    I love the “healthy don’t move” line. Too funny.
    We never have neighborhood pot lucks or gatherings. I wish we did. Maybe we’ll have to start something…

  7. Congrats! That sounds like fun!

    We used to do potlucks up at our neighborhood pool, but those kind of died out when Big Al moved out.

    Where ever I go, I bring my signature choc and white chip cookies. I don’t care if no more desserts are needed, I squeeze them onto the table, and they always seem to disappear.

    I remember a young woman bringing cupcakes to an office I worked in and none of the old fuddy-duddies would take one. She was so disappointed. I didn’t want one either, but I took several that day, just so they’d start diminishing. You can count on me to be helpful in that area. Ate one, threw one away for a couple of days. I didn’t work there for long, and I hope she didn’t either.

    I thought you were going to say that you made something with your KitchenAid bargain. But, stirring counts.

    “Cammy Stirs it Up” “Stir it Up with Cammy! “Tiptoe with Cammy while She Stirs it Up” “Sit Up and Stir with Cammy!” “Wake Up and Stir with Cammy!” “Cammy Sure Can Stir” “Stir Cammy Up”

    There are endless good choices.

  8. Hey congrats on the win! Good wrist action with the spoon!

    Our neighborhood has never had a pot luck. Our church has plenty and we also have a group of friends who we get together with at least once a month for a group dinner.

    The host couple does the main dish and the rest bring the sides. There is always a huge green salad filled with nuts, avocado, a variety of baby greens and every vegetable you can imagine tossed with a home made vinegar, oil, Dijon mustard dressing. For side dishes fresh oven roasted veggies, polenta or couscous for the starch and often times fresh fruit for dessert.

    We live in CA now but I grew up in the Midwest and we ate a lot differently there than we do here.

  9. We live on a smallish court and have had a few Pot luck BBQ get togethers. The first year I think I went too gourmet. It was a corn salad with cherry tomatoes and basil. Not that fancy, but not very many people ate it. After that I did cupcakes which were a hit. We have not had one in the last couple of years – I’m not sure why.

  10. LOL I love Cammy Stirs–I promise to watch every episode and all the syndicated re-runs! We’re hosting a choir potluck at our house tomorrow. Burgers, chips, potato salad, broccoli salad, jello/cool whip salad, and birthday cake (for our director). I’m making a big green salad with tomatoes, avocados, pine nuts and my olive oil/red wine vinaigrette. I’ll fill up on that and have a burger with lettuce in place of buns.

  11. I make kind of the same thing. Only I add Keebler fudge stripped cookies and buttermilk instead of pineapple juice. It’s a Thanksgiving day faverite.

    congrats on the win/tie

  12. Congrats on the co-win!
    I miss the Food Network like mad here. Though I get by with downloads of my favourite shows, it’s not the same as being able to flick on the TV and just tune in to whatever amazing show they’re airing at the time.

    There aren’t really any big neighbourhood potlucks here. Or, if there are, I don’t know of them! Whenever we’re invited to dinner parties, etc., though, I usually either bring some homemade guacamole and tortilla chips or a tomato, cucumber and feta Greek salad. Both super yummy and easy to make. I used to bake a lot but have cut way back since finding out I was gluten-intolerant. It’s just too hard to have delicious, fresh-baked cookies and not being allowed to eat them, and gluten-free baking just isn’t as good.

  13. we dont have those around here—and did all the time growing up.
    although now that I type this there IS the small chance that there are the potlucks and word of my lack of cooking skillz has gotten the misfit clan on the Do Not Invite list :)

  14. CAMMIE STIRS! LOLLOLLOLLOL. That is a classic. And yes, I love the dessert salads. They have been a must in our family gatherings for three generations. I’m not kidding…

  15. Pingback: Potluck Recipe: Red Velvet Cake Joys

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