Four Tips for Pot-Luck Dinners

by | Aug 3, 2021 | All Things Good | 0 comments

 

How do you get a tremendous selection of tasty treats at your next get-together?  It can be difficult, but following a few basic strategies will help.  This article will help inspire you with four tips for pot-luck dinners.

Are you like me and suffer from Bring-a-dish phobia?   While some of my friends are magicians in the kitchen, I do not possess that talent.  With their help, I put together these tricks to help make your feasts an event to remember.

Next to the guest list, your menu can make or break your party.  In general, people remember two things about a party: good conversation and good food.  We want you to have BOTH!

The Basics:

  • Determine an underlying theme for your party.  By doing this simple tip, your guests will have an idea of what food they should bring.  Whether it is ethnic food, holiday-inspired, or bring your best side dish, your guests can start to comb their files for a fitting contribution.
  • Be specific.  Tell your guests what you are serving and supplying.  It is acceptable for you, the host, to say: I am looking for certain accouterments.  Who can help?.
  • Be selective:  You have been to a lot of food functions with your friends, right?  You know whether their dishes were hit or a miss.  Recruit them early in the menu planning.  Ask them to bring something specific.

The setup:

  • One of the most overlooked areas is the seating area.  Where and how will your guests feast on the delicacies provided?  Will they stand and snack, or is there enough room for everyone at the table?  Designing a menu based on these scenarios can be tricky.
  • Hosts should refrain from serving certain foods unless there is ample room for everyone at the picnic table: Crabs, other shellfish, steak, and chicken are among these offerings.  Nobody wants to cut into a steak while balancing their drink on their lap.

Generally speaking:

  • When the majority of your guests are without a table seat, finger foods work best.
  • When the majority of guests will be seated at the same time, more elaborate meals are acceptable.
  • Make your menu easy and fuss-free.
  • Monitor the menu to be sure that you have plenty of variety

Not sure what to bring?  Try these favorites:

  • Watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, or honeydew:  Cut it in wedges for easy pickup and eat.
  • Fresh Strawberries, shortbread, and whipped cream
  • Cookies, cupcakes, bars, and sheet cake.
  • M&M’s:  Empty bags into several small dishes around the buffet.
  • Salty assorted SHELLED nuts in small dishes around the buffet
  • Mini meatballs and sauce with small slider rolls.  The dinner roll size is much easier to maneuver when sitting or standing.
  • Chips & Salsa
  • Potato Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Charcuterie board with assorted meats, cheeses, mustard, and pickles.
  • Naked wings: on side buffalo sauce, ranch, and blue cheese dressing
  • Veggie tray
  • Buffalo Chicken Dip and Tortilla Chips
  • Crab dip with Chips
  • Spinach & Artichoke Dip
  • Tricolored tortellini, mozzarella balls, and grape tomatoes tossed in pesto

One final note:

On a final note, next time you attend a function, take special notice of what side dishes went first and what’s leftover.  The food that has been gobbled up is the food that your guests want!  Make a mental note.   The proof is in the pudding (as they say).

Whether you are a Master Chef or Queen of Takeout, bring-a-dish events can flow with ease and balance.  Backyard bbq and pot-luck dinners should be fun.  When all else fails, you can always call out

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