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tips on how to do a good potluck / community dinner?

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Hi, any quick tips on how to easily make a potluck / community dinner work? Main issue seems to be how to empower people to bring creative healthy items but still have some sort of main dish involved so it's not all salads!

Any apps or widgets or simple online things besides a million email replies that you've used for dinners in the 16-50 person range? I've seen some do a $5-10 donation for main dish and then everyone brings a side or drink.

Any other suggestions for making a community dinner work well with little planning/coordination? We just want to cook and eat!

I started a community foodie group called Fresh Foodies (on Facebook if you want to check it out) a while ago and we keep those to just 16 people and then we all cook together (the food shopper gets a free meal), but i'm trying to figure out how to make it more sustainable this winter.

thanks!

cheers,
-Nathan

 
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    1. When I was in college the people next door were into a 'new age group' what particular flavor I don't remember. They had a weekly potluck at their house. They said the key to a sucessful potluck was not to worry and to enjoy whatever showed up. On rare occasions they had 5 desserts and 3 salads or all 7 main dishes and one vegetable, but those times were few and far between. For the most part things just tended to work out, and deciding to just enjoy what showed up and not worry about it was the most important ingredient. There is a reason it is called potluck.

      1 Reply
      1. re: KaimukiMan

        Love, love, love that thought. Probably something we should carry through more parts of our lives. Thank you.

      2. Our Master Gardener association has a pot luck every month, along with a speaker and the business meeting. Usually about 50 to 70 people attend. Everyone makes dishes that they do well and enjoy, so it's a good mix of casseroles, salads, meat dishes, vegetables. And desserts. The only thing that there's never enough of is devilled eggs. Everyone loves them..
        I wouldn't worry about too many salads. I don't think we ever lack a 'main dish'. Once you pile all that other good stuff on your plate, who needs a main dish?

        1. How about assigning each person a number from 1-4. 1's bring a main-style dish, 2s bring ahot side dish, 3s bring a cold side dish, 4s will be split with two bringing dessert and two bringing drinks. If you have everyone keep their number, then the next month that you have the pot luck, just change the assignment for each number.