Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Sep 16, 2011 09:26 AM

Opinions needed- potluck

I hope I'm not breaking any rules by linking to FN's site, but

Many of these tips are excellent, but one I found to be downright depressing. You'll know what im talking about. Comments?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm sad about the store bought comment. Really, cheese and crackers?

    The others strike me as fairly common-sensical (really, telling people they should have brought food that's already prepared?), but sometimes people need reminders. Particularly if you are out of practice, it's never bad to have a a list of "duh" points to review.

    1. I guess you're referring to the "store bought" comment.

      However, I'm probably in the minority here, but I'm not a fan of the potluck. I don't know how clean a stranger's kitchen is, if they washed their hands, if ingredients were purchased fresh, or they used leftovers, etc.

      I'd much prefer store bought options. Give me cheese and crackers over the mystery casserole any day.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Whinerdiner

        See, I can't have gluten, so having control over my food is wonderful. I can take my own and NOBODY notices that I'm not eating what the hostess prepared. I'm not being a pain in the waiter's neck, and I don't end up sick the next day. Perfect.

        1. re: StephanieBostic

          I suppose only eating what you brought would solve the problem nicely.

          But I think that people do notice. I have friends who routinely bring their own "contribution" to every holiday get -together or event, eat only that, then barely touch (if at all) what the hostess has spent days preparing. Not just one host or one household in particular, but every time - every event. When it's their turn to host, they don't seem to have any dietary restrictions. The first time it happened to me, I was vaguely insulted. When it happened to everyone else, I didn't feel so bad.

          I realize this is not a potluck scenario, but I think people who have put time and effort into a dish, check to see if everyone is enjoying their offering.

        2. re: Whinerdiner

          I love potlucks. they are huge in my community, I have gone to at least one per month for the last 15 years and although some are less than stellar I have never had any ill effect. I think it is sad to be so worried that one can't just enjoy community.

          And there is nothing wrong with bringing cheese and crackers, chips, wine, store bought anything. many people don't like to cook or are worried their homemade food isn't good enough.
          Potlucks are not usually primarily about the food.

          1. re: Whinerdiner

            Technically, you don't know how clean a commercial kitchen is either, or how good the hand hygiene is among employees there.

            Though I guess that would apply more to prepared store-bought foods than cheese and crackers.

          2. Actually, it's the ingredient-labeling part that made me sad.

            If you can't cook worth a crap, by all means bring something store-bought, just try not to make it potato salad because there will probably be five different bowls of them already. Try to make it a little more original.

            I once hosted a garden swap- a ton of people were coming, most of whom I only knew from the message board. One woman came in and needed a cutting board, the oven, knives and a few other things. Her dish was actually very good, and she's turned out to be a delightful person, but it was off-putting to have a stranger waltz in and take over your kitchen. And thank goodness she was the only one.

            10 Replies
            1. re: EWSflash

              I could see where that would be disturbing, but I once made a huge buffet for my wife's charity group, and didn't label all the ingredients -- never occurred to me, and I threw a sort of unconventional ingredient in one of the dishes, and next thing you knew we had to call the paramedics because one of the ladies went into anaphylactic shock due to some snow peas I had finely chopped up and put into one of the salads.

              So now with every dish I bring to a potluck, I bring a printed ingredient list which I make into a little tent card that sits next to the dish.

              1. re: acgold7

                I completely understand why it was suggested, I really do. It doesn't mean I have to like it.

                Wow- I've never heard of anybody being allergic to snow peas.Did the lady have an epi-pen with her? With that kind of reaction she should have at least one with her always.

                1. re: EWSflash

                  Yes, she did have her pen and she used it immediately. We called EMS anyway and they took her to the ER. After that I swore I'd label everything no matter how much of a pain it was. I don't need that on my conscience.

                2. re: acgold7

                  If snow peas are anything like regular peas, they're in the same category as peanuts for allergic reactions.

                  1. re: pdxgastro

                    Yep, we found that out the hard way.

                  2. re: EWSflash

                    could you explain why? it seems better than people going around asking if dishes have gluten or sugar or meat or shellfish or peanuts. What bothers you about it?

                    1. re: EWSflash

                      Wow, that doesn't bother me at all. I attend my share of church potlucks and god knows (dog knows?) those unitarians have a range of eating preferences. To keep the vegans, vegetarians, and nut allergy people safe and happy, I don't have a problem labelling. We don't go to extremes and include every single ingredient, just the typical "problem" items. I don't find the practice limits the range of dishes offered.

                      There are plenty of contrarians who take pleasure in labeling the "problem" ingredients, hence the handwritten note on the rice dish I ate last Sunday that read "unrepentently prepared with pork, peanuts, and soy products."