Potluck Parties – The Dos and Don’ts

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Potluck parties are the best. It’s an excellent way to enjoy a variety of good food with friends over a beer or two. For a potluck party, everybody brings one dish to share and there’s a big feast for all to enjoy. No one has to do too much and no one has to do it all. But as they say, too many cooks spoil the broth, one needs to take care that potluck does not becomes a pot-mess.

Here are some dos and don’ts for the host and the guests…

1. Plan and Organize

The secret of a good potluck is not good food, but good planning. The host has to stay on top of things and know who is getting what so that there is an interesting spread of dishes and not 3 large bowls of caesar salad.

I find that sometimes, it is good to be an autocratic leader and dictate who gets what. And sometime being a free-rein leader works too. I like uploading a Google Doc Spreadsheet with names of all guests and categories of food like salad, starters, main dishes, breads, drinks, side-dishes, dessert etc and then the guests write the dishes they are excited to make against their name. Others take cue and pick the remaining items. This way guests take charge of the party!

2. Bring a Dish

Contributing a dish to the potluck is mandatory, it is not optional. In a large get-together, one or two people not getting their dishes may still be ok, but in a small gathering, it may create a problem. At a potluck, bringing a dish is not polite. It is a requirement.

3. Come Prepared

Get everything that is needed to serve your dish. While the host’s kitchen is open and available but things can get tight with so many people using the kitchen. So get your own serving spoon and the lid/cover for the dish, in case the food is served outdoors.

4. Be Thoughtful

Dishes like baked vegetable, salad, lasagna, pastas, biryani, pav-bhaji, etc can be served in a plate. Soups and stews need bowls and cups which not only add to the post-party workload but also is cumbersome to have in case it is an outdoor event.

The Dos and Donts of Potluck Parties

5. Don’t be Pushy

Agree, that you have spent time and effort in making your dish, but don’t push your food on everyone. With such a wide tempting spread in front, may be your dish isnt appealing enough for some.

6. Volunteer

It’s polite to help the host before, during and after the potluck party.

7. Be Prepared to Take the Leftovers Home

Expecting the host to keep leftover of 15 dishes in her fridge is unrealistic. If she asks you to take your dish back, do it.

8. Relax and Enjoy

A potluck is not about culinary perfection or a showing off of your cooking skills; it is about a communal experience of sharing food and friendship. People bonding over food and fun should be the goal, so focus on that and have a good time.

Potluck are great last minute party ideas. If great weather is on the cards or an old friend is in town, send a group text and get the ball rolling for that Perfect Potluck Party.

Do you love Potluck Parties? What do you like best about them? Which dishes do you usually cook for Potluck Parties?

My theme for this year’s Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is Food Talks. Join me for some interesting, fun conversations about food experiences, experiments, basics, tips, ideas, hacks, trends and much more.