How to Host a Successful Potluck
June 21, 2012
pot·luck [pot-luhk] A meal, especially for a large group, to which participants bring various foods to be shared. (dictionary.com)
If you’d like to host a dinner party at home or a group lunch at the office, but don’t want to make (or buy) all the food yourself, a potluck is the way to go. It’s a sure way to learn new recipes and to try new dishes! Here are some fool-proof ideas to make sure your next potluck is a success:
1. Plan ahead
Compared to a dinner party, potluck planning is easy-peasy. Instead of having to plan an entire menu and cook everything yourself, you only have to think about one dish to contribute. However, while less planning is required, this doesn’t mean you should invite people the day of and hope for the best. With a last minute potluck you’re bound to have some duplicate dishes or too much dessert and not enough healthy options. To ensure that everyone knows what and how much food they should bring, send out a list of dishes to all the people who will be attending. Also include a note with dietary restrictions for people to consider when choosing their dish.
2. Give it a theme
For a more exciting twist, come up with a challenge for guests. Be the host that makes your guests do weird things; they'll love you for it.
Themes could include:
- “Iron Chef” potluck (everyone has to include the same ingredient in their dish)
- Food that start with the letter... (and be nice- don't choose the letter X)
- Colour theme (everyone has to bring a food of a certain colour)
- Childhood theme (everyone has to bring their favourite childhood dish)
- 80s theme (make sure everyone is dressed accordingly)
- A gluten-free, raw, or nut-free theme
- Or any other brilliant theme you can come up with!
3. Think about who will be attending
When you are thinking about what to contribute, consider everyone that will be attending. Does anyone have any food intolerances or allergies? Do any of the guests choose not to eat certain things for ethical or religious reasons? It’s no fun showing up to a potluck and not being able to enjoy all the food with everyone else due to dietary restrictions. If you can’t think of something that will cater to everyone’s diet, maybe think about bringing two different, smaller dishes instead.
4. Come up with a great dish to contribute
If you aren’t quite sure what you should bring, there are loads of online resources to help you. For some ideas, you can check out our Facebook or Flickr pages for photos of the Daiya office potlucks (we’ve created some pretty tasty meals!)
If cooking or baking isn’t your thing, or if you are running low on time, not to worry! Picking up something from the store is totally allowed!
5. Have an open mind
No one wants to contribute a dish that won’t get eaten. Unless there are foods that you can’t eat, try to take a small serving of everything. You might find you really enjoy something you wouldn’t normally try. If there is something you don’t like, be discreet about it (no making faces or throwing out the food in front of everyone!) The goal of the potluck is to enjoy food with friends, not to offend people. If you really enjoyed the food, be sure to tell whoever made it how tasty his/her dish was!
6. Eat, enjoy, and don’t forget to take photos
By taking pictures, not only will you capture some fun memories, but you will be documenting recipe ideas for the future. Plus, you can brag to your friends about the success of your potluck by posting online (like we do!)
Do you have any other great ideas for hosting a successful potluck?
Leave us a comment below for some more tips or ideas.