Tis the Season for Sharing at a Potluck

An assortment of food dishes at a church potluck.

An assortment of food dishes at a church potluck. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘Tis the season for celebration which means invitations to holiday parties, seasonal swaps, and festive events of all kinds are starting to arrive.  There is little doubt that potluck meals will pop-up throughout your holiday schedule.  This year, get ahead of the game by freshening up on your potluck etiquette and planning which dishes suitable for sharing you will be taking to each party you attend.  Taking steps now to ensure you are prepared later will help alleviate some holiday stress and ensure you always have exactly what you need on hand exactly when you need it.

Here are some tips for avoiding the most common potluck mistakes and ideas for delicious dishes that will have everyone asking for the recipe.

1.     Bring a Dish

It is never acceptable to show up to a potluck party with nothing in hand.  If you are not into cooking, bring something great from your favorite restaurant or a local bakery.  If you don’t know what to bring, ask the host or hostess what is needed.

2.     Condiments and Chips Don’t Count

In almost every circumstance, bringing condiments or chips as your contribution to a potluck is not up to par.  Unless, of course, the hostess asks you to bring this items or indicates that those are items that are needed.

3.     Alert for Allergens

If your dish contains any of the most common food allergens, make up a little card that lets other partygoers know what is in your dish.  This is especially important if it isn’t visually apparent that your dish contains one of these ingredients.  This helps your hostess out because she won’t be asked 100 times “who brought this?” and “ who brought that?”, you won’t then be asked “what’s in this?” another 100 times, and your fellow attendees with food allergy issues will be able to eat without worrying that one wrong bite will land them in the ER.

4.     Think Big

Some people say the rule of thumb for potluck quantity is that each dish should provide 6 servings.  This is one time when bringing more is definitely better.  A better gauge of how much food you need is to bring enough to provide a meal’s worth of food for each person attending with you.  If you are bringing soup and there are four of you, you will want 8-10 servings of soup since it would likely take more than one bowl to fill people up.

5.     Pick Suitable Dishes

When deciding which dish to bring, think about what works well at room temperature and can safely sit on a potluck table without spoiling.  If your dish must be refrigerated or only tastes great when it is piping hot, you should pick something else.

Here are some of our favorite recipes that work great for potluck events of all kinds.

About Fill Your Plate

Julie Murphree brings more than 20 years' experience in messaging, content and marketing development and management working with traditional and new media to tell Arizona agriculture’s story. That story began with Fresh Air; her book published in 2006, but continues through her efforts with Arizona Farm Bureau.
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