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Themed Office Potluck/Contest - ideas?

emmaroseeats Nov 21, 2008 01:36 PM

We occasionally have themed office potlucks, some of which are contests including various categories and actual prizes other than just bragging rights. We've done cookies, salads, pies, muffins, stuffed items, chili, jam/preserves, family traditions, crisp/crumbles, farmer's market, and a bunch of colored themes - all green foods or all yellow/red/whatever.

I always seem to need to come up with these themes, and I'm feeling a little stumped on the next one. Wanna help?

It's going to be mid-December. The item can't need to be heated up, (we blew all the fuses in the conference room with electric hot-plates when we did the chili-off; they're fixed, but that means we're limited to one microwave and one toaster oven). It should be something one can make the night before. And preferably be something that can be broken into judgeable categories.


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  1. JamieK RE: emmaroseeats Nov 21, 2008 04:44 PM

    Wow, that's tough. Why do people do this -- isn't work stressful enough?

    okay, what about a finger food or hors d'oeuvre theme, there's not much heating up required for something like that.

    or what about a total chocolate theme. Do you have access to a fridge (for the chocolate-dipped strawberries)?

    1. s
      Sisyphus RE: emmaroseeats Nov 21, 2008 06:00 PM

      Given the current economy, what about a dollar limit on the total price, with a minimum amount the dish can serve, such as no more than $10 and serves 10 people. And then include the recipe and any great bargains found to create the dish?

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        lexpatti RE: emmaroseeats Nov 22, 2008 04:30 PM

        Or to expand on sisyphus on the "current economy" thing - 3 ingredients only! or maybe 4.

        1 Reply
        1. re: lexpatti
          PattiCakes RE: lexpatti Nov 23, 2008 07:15 AM

          We did an ethnic theme once. We were able to set up a conference room to accommodate warmers/crock pot. We asked everyone to bring a dish from their cultural heritage. The array was astounding! We also asked them to decorate their cube if they wished with something from their heritage as well. We had kenta cloth, a kilt, and even the Korean robe that a co-worker wore to his wedding (and pix of the wedding). It was sop successful, it was wriotten up in the company-wide magazine.

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          Erika L RE: emmaroseeats Nov 23, 2008 05:15 PM

          How about "bring what your grandmother made?" I went to a potluck with this theme and wondered if we'd get a table full of pot roasts and Jell-O molds but instead got a fabulous array of lots of great stuff (lentil soup, pea salad, piroshkys, ginger cake).

          1. emmaroseeats RE: emmaroseeats Nov 24, 2008 08:52 AM

            These are all really great. No warmers or crock pots in the conf room unfortunately (the building management built something into our lease after we blew the fuses with hot plates). I love the economic challenge one. And finger foods are always good...

            The other theme I have been considering would be High Tea - tea sandwiches and scones and all that loveliness.

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              cyberroo RE: emmaroseeats Nov 24, 2008 12:13 PM

              What about "food gifts" to fit with the holiday theme? Presumably the people that are participating may also be the type to gift homemade gifts, so it could be a good opportunity both show off and share ideas.

              And, since food gifts are generally shelf-stable, it should address your other issues as well.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cyberroo
                emmaroseeats RE: cyberroo Nov 24, 2008 01:23 PM

                Oooh - good. I like that. That way I can make my salted caramels and just be done with it. Everyone else can figure their own business out.

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