The other night, Elise was coming round to finalise the launch of our The Potluck Club (you can read more about it here) and offered to bring some takeaway, and also her husband, Chris. But the $35 Food Challenge had just begun, so this was out of the question. So I offered for them to have some pizza with us, as last week, we’d bought a ton of toppings for a pizza that never eventuated. They agreed and offered to bring salad, so basically it was a mini potluck. Since I still had the receipt from Aldi I figured I could subtract the pepperoni, olives and cheese from our big shop the next morning. And then I looked in the cupboard. And there was no flour.

We’d done the exact opposite of what I always advise people – be prepared and do one big shop. So I popped out to our much-loathed local IGA for some flour, only to find black and gold products have been discontinued. My 1 kilo of plain white flour suddenly jumped in price from $1.59 to $2.39. Shit. My stomach dropped. Oh yes, The $35 Food Challenge really has begun.

People who live in poverty are not able to participate in many of the activities we take for granted. This could be anything from sending your child on a school excursion, to a visit to the dentist, to having your friends around for dinner. Foolishly, we decided the first night of the Challenge to do the latter of the three.

Imagine your friend invites you round for dinner. Your automatic response? Great! I’ll bring a bottle of wine. But you have no wine. And you have no money to buy any. Or maybe you have enough cash for a really shitty $4 bottle of wine. Will that be good enough? Maybe you just tell them you can’t go, I’m sick, or I’m busy, or something. Anyway, I’ll never be able to return the favour.

That was the feeling that hit me in the supermarket aisle. And it occurred to me that since I was doing the Challenge, since I INVENTED the challenge, I could tell Elise and Chris about the flour, a funny story, and publish it on my blog. Nice one, Lauren, you’ve just created some content. But if this were really my financial situation I’m not sure I could laugh it off. It wouldn’t be blog material. And when my dinner guests showed up, I certainly wouldn’t be telling them this story. You want your guests to feel welcome.

In the end, we had a great night, ate up all the pizza and the delicious salad Chris had made and drank the last of our wine. It made me realise though that there’s a conversation we need to be having about poverty and about that taboo subject, money. It needs to be ok to say we can’t afford something this week or it is just not in our budget. I doubt very much that your imaginary friend who invited you round for dinner would want you to stay home because you don’t have the cash for a bottle of wine or a box of choccies.

This is exactly why we started The Potluck Club in the first place; to share a meal among friends, to contribute what we can. It’s why 20+ bloggers donated their work for free to put together an e-cookbook of recipes to share among friends, and to raise money for Foodbank.

Maybe having friends around for dinner wasn’t a wise financial decision that week, but it was worth that short lived panic in the supermarket aisle to enjoy an evening with friends.

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In support of Anti-Poverty Week (October 14-20) and in partnership with the $35 Food Challenge, a group of Aussie food bloggers have come together to launch an e-cookbook of simple and affordable recipes called ‘The Potluck Club’, at the low price of $5.95. All proceeds from the book are going to Foodbank Australia via The $35 Food Challenge. By purchasing a copy of ‘The Potluck Club’ you will be doing your bit to in the fight against poverty and not only cooking for yourself but cooking for a cause.


The Sydney Food Bloggers Picnic 2012, hosted by Suze and Helen.

The Potluck Club
The Potluck Club is a new ecookbook of simple, affordable recipes that anyone can cook. A fundraising initiative for The $35 Food Challenge, the ebook will be sold to raise money for Foodbank Australia.  A collaboration between food bloggers and budding home chefs, we are now seeking submissions for our first issue.

  1. Submit 1-2 original recipes of 200-300 words and a brief 50 word bio by Tuesday September 4th 2012 to elise@stuffthatibought.com or lau@corridorkitchen.com
  2. Submit 1 high resolution photo (minimum height 1000px) per recipe and one avatar (300px square – optional).

Please note: Recipe photos will be cropped to fit our layout and cropped images will be roughly square in shape. With this in mind, please send photos with plenty of space around the food, suitable to be cropped – pre photo-shop photos are fine.

Deadline: Submissions close Tuesday September 4th.

What are we looking for?
We welcome a wide variety of recipe submissions to The Potluck Club, however the emphasis is on affordable food, so steer clear of hard to find or expensive ingredients- no truffle oil, expensive cuts of meat, isreali couscous, purslane,  etc.

We would love anything that is culturally specific or that people might not know how to make (shakshouka, summmer rolls) or really on trend (peanut butter bacon maple hotcakes, easy pulled pork)…while still being relatively inexpensive.

The book will be in 3 sections:

  1. Share Plates and Sides
  2. Something Substantial
  3. Sweets

The fine print:

  1. You are welcome to submit previously published recipes and images, on the understanding that they are your original work and you retain the rights to them.
  2. You can submit as many recipes as you like, but we will only publish a maximum of 2 recipes from each contributor. All contributions must be received via email by Saturday September 4th.
  3. We encourage you to promote The Potluck Club on your own blog and will provide a visual ‘badge’ to link to our online store so that your readers may purchase it.
  4. As The Potluck Club is a fundraising e-book, with all profits going to Foodbank Australia, submissions will not be paid for, however all recipes will be attributed to you and include your blog url. Your bio and picture will also be included in the ecookbook (submitting a photo of yourself is optional).
  5. If your photographs do not fit with the ecookbook aesthetic, we reserve the right to re-photograph your dish. We also reserve the right to reformat your recipe/s to fit with our layout.

The Potluck Club
Elise Phillips and Lauren Quinn

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