Encouraging seniors to participate in pot lucks

Hi, I used to belong to BHG food discussion group that was fantastic. I have recently moved to Cincinnati and have moved to a senior apartment complex in Cincinnati. Everyone is so friendly but hates to cook. We have recently started appetizer parties on Rummykub night and know few people are enchanted with my exotic gourmet dishes. We had our first appetizer event that was a BIG hit. I am looking for retro appetizer recipes much simpler and familiar than my fare. Goal is to remind attendees of real simple dishes to pass that will keep this going.
Marge Graham


Caprese salad is easy to like (and make). So are nachos, which you can present more elegantly by adding toppings to each individual chip.

Crab Rangoon comes to mind. All finger foods?
Are most natives and want Ohio comfort food?
And welcome. Our member Phreddy was just in Cincinnati. :slight_smile:

Welcome Marge! Love the concept of senior pot lucks! My best advice is to purchase a Cinncinati Junior League Cookbook. The JL books are usually loaded with very approachable appetizer recipes, not to mention all the other courses. You might even see if your library has a copy.

One of my favorite apps is bacon-wrapped chicken breast bites. Roll 1 inch (or so) chicken breast meat cubes in a mixture of brown sugar and mild chile powder. Wrap 1/2 slice of regular sliced bacon around the dredged chicken cubes, securing with a toothpick. Bake at 375 until bacon is crispy. Enjoy!

Will add that most community cookbooks are great sources of nibble foods and dips also.


Lambchop, you are brilliant! I even own it: “I’ll Cook When Pigs Fly… and they do in Cincinnati” not only will I look at recipes but bring it out to our lounge area for them to enjoy!


Fresh fruit salads in a handheld cup.
Grilled fruit with balsamic glaze
Egg rolls
Fresh spring rolls
chicken drummets can be sauced many diff ways
Mini lettuce wraps
Stuffed mini cucumbers
Indiv Shrimp cocktail

Sounds like a great time!


How great you already have a Cincinnati JL book. Nice idea to put in the lounge for the residents to enjoy as well! :blush:

Welcome, and what a great idea!

I don’t know what the age range is for your complex, but perhaps there are dietary or other considerations to account for.

Herby dip - like ranch but better - with lightly steamed veg or crudités

Mini crustless / impossible quiche - easy, variable fillings

Little tea sandwiches with familiar fillings

Mini meatballs (chicken/turkey) with a variety of dipping sauces (buffalo, bbq, something different/“exotic”)

Caprese skewers (toothpicks)

Other toothpick skewers - fruit “kababs”, grilled cheese squares, even dessert - pound cake and strawberries

Wonton and/or lettuce cups with various familiar fillings - chicken salad, cowboy caviar, etc

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When I read your first post, the retro word didn’t stick in my brain. What could be more retro than a Luau theme with pupu platters? Was thinking everyone could bring one thing to contribute. Although I don’t normally buy frozen foods, I have sampled many of Costco’s frozen Asian items. Some of them are really excellent for those not inclined to cook. They are a bit heavy on the sodium however.

Just a thought and easy to extrapolate to other themes. Might be fun!

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Great idea, but as @Lambchop said - sodium, and also fried things…

That said, a theme for each of your get togethers might make them easier to plan as well as participate in (maybe more fun too) - pupu, mediterranean, high tea, bbq, etc. Start with the familiar and expand to the “exotic” :joy:

Saregama, I am big on theme parties and I do have great luau recipes from the old days of our Gourmet Club.

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h, Caprese salad is such a winner. I didn’t already have my dish to pass done for Memorial Day party, I would do that. And I love the idea of canape version. Have to tell you, I did Caprese salad when I catered a girl friend’s birthday and when I took the platter off the table to refresh, we nearly had an armed rebellion. A great example of simply delish


My “crew” are mostly in their 60s and 70s with a few of us in our 50s.

We are constantly having potlucks for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and anything else that passes as a reason to gather around food and drink.

They are fit and healthy (including several who have kicked cancer, some more than one time) and vibrant and would show you the door immediately if you suggested that they should only eat low sodium steamed veggies.


Pigs in a blanket
Deviled eggs.
Swedish meatballs
Chicken wings

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Although I did mention the sodium issue, my experience of feeding middle age and older people echoes yours. They embrace life with gusto including food and drink. Health food is supplements and smoothies! But I know many have cut down on sodium including me & DH. Not simply for health reasons, but because most prepared foods even taste too salty. That said, we all make choices and indulge but balance it out hopefully.

The social contact, conversations and laughs are probably more beneficial than carefully sticking to a strict regimen of all healthy foods. If anyone has special issues like celiac, soy or dairy allergies, they will probably know how to navigate the buffet table. My sincerest sympathies to all who have to live with severe limitations and for those who can no longer eat. :cry:

Will add that my 93 year old dad and his 82 year old girlfriend are still embracing life fully, eating well, cooking simple meals and going out too, sometimes even fast food. The GF is celiac as well, but they manage.

Lest I turn this into a dissertation I’ll conclude this post now, with you knowing these are just my opinions and experiences.

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend no matter the weather where you are. (We’re cool and rainy)


Meant to say also this thread is turning into a hotbed of great ideas!

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I don’t think anyone actually suggested that…

Look forward to hearing your potluck favorites.

In regard to the sodium intake, I can speak volumes. I need to control my BP MUCH better but want to find balance. Dining out is an automatic sodium hit but I have decided on give and take. Before I moved I had no appetite. I was obeying all my WW rules which I truly respect but wasn’t eating. Preparing for the move on my own was incredibly stressful, Past. Now I am eating, enjoy cooking again and have moved to a wonderfully friendly community. I don’t need dietician, just time. Our apartment has group who dines every FRiday night. What a gift to my life! But when they pick Cracker Barrel I decline.


I am taking deviled eggs tomorrow! Swedish meatballs are a big yes! Thanks Dave