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When strangers bond, does it always involve food? Maybe not. But more often than not it's food that brings people together.

That's why potlucks are so popular with campers. They bring people who might otherwise remain strangers together. More than food is shared at such affair. Friendships are forged. Recipes exchanged. "Secrets" are whispered in ears as you sit around the bonfire.

You find potlucks wherever people camp. Sure, they're more likely at private campgrounds, where the owners organize them. But I've also enjoyed impromptu potlucks at back-country primitive campsites in the Smoky Mountains. Potlucks are an intregal part of camp life at historic reenactments, of course. But they also occur at National Forest campgrounds where attendees are not part of an affinity group.

I've posted a number of camping potluck tips and recipes at But I thought it would be interesting to share thoughts and recipes about potlucks in the campground.

Here's a dish I prepare often, for instance, that's always a hit:

Sausage Corn & Pepper Hot Pot

2 lb sausage (either bulk sausage meat or links)
3 cups corn kernels
3 green peppers, diced
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste

If using bulk sausage, form into bite-sized balls. A teaspoon makes a good size. Otherwise, cut sausage links into bite-sized pieces. I prefer using bulk sausage, but there's not question that it's faster and easier cutting up links of, say, smoked sausage or Kielbasa. Fry sausage in deep skillet or chicken fryer until browned.

Drain all but about two tablespoons of the grease, then add the corn, peppers, salt, pepper and rosemary. Stir fry until peppers are tender, about five minutes, covering pan for the last three minutes.

Berries are in season, and are available at farmstands and farmers markets near where many of us camp. So it only makes sense to use them while they're at their freshest. One way is in this

Berry Corn Cobbler

1 qt fresh blackberries or strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour milk
1/4 cup honey
1 tbls melted butter
1 tbls lemon juice

Put the berries in a two quart baking dish & sprinkle with sugar.

For the topping mix together all the dry ingredients, then quickly stir in the milk and melted butter. Drop batter by teaspoons on top of berries, forming a crust made of rounds.

Mix together sauce ingredients and pour over batter & exposed berries.

Bake in a pre-heated Dutch oven until batter browns and everything is cooked through, about an hour. Or cook in a conventional oven at 350F for the same time.

What about everyone else? What are some of your favorite camping potluck recipes?
2 tbls melted butter
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling