I give a lot of potluck parties. I have made a commitment to the mitzvah of hospitality, but due to some chronic health issues cooking a big meal for a lot of people isn’t in the cards. Also, I find that it actually adds to the warmth of the table for guests to share food with each other.
In the process, I’ve learned a lot about giving these parties, and I have also learned what makes a great potluck guest. Here goes:
- Bring everything you need. Maybe I have balsamic vinegar, and maybe I just ran out. I probably have enough serving spoons, but if you bring one, you won’t have to stress over getting the slotted one your dish requires. Be safe and bring what you need.
- Do your cooking at home. My kitchen is small. Too many people trying to use the same appliance is a problem. If you must, let me know well ahead that you will be cooking and what you will need (oven, cooktop, microwave.) Then I can plan for it.
- Assemble your dish at home, or if there is last minute prep, make it something you could do on the coffee table if six people are already in the kitchen.
- Bring what you say you will bring. If you need to make changes or substitutions, let me know.
- There’s no need to show off. Bring something you know how to make, or bring take out. Science experiments don’t add to the pleasure of the meal.
- Takeout is great. I invited you because I enjoy your company. If stopping by the deli for potato salad is easier than making it, that’s really OK. I am not a great cook myself and often go that route.
- Be honest about your dish. If there’s dairy, or gluten, or whatever, that’s OK, just say so if asked. If you aren’t sure, say so.
- If you have allergies, etc, please let me know well ahead of time, so that I can make sure there is food that you can eat. I don’t want to poison my guests or starve them. I respect those who make ethical or religious food choices and I promise I won’t see you as a problem unless you spring it on me after the food is on the table.
- Please take leftovers home with you! When I say that I can’t keep all the leftovers, I’m not kidding. At least take home leftovers of your own dish.
- Come anyway, if something happens and you can’t bring your dish. As with #5, I invited you because I enjoy your company. Just let me know, if you can, so that I can arrange for enough food.
Is there anything you’d add to this list? Tell us about it in the comments!