Author Topic: Duplicate Dish at a Potluck; What would you do?  (Read 3680 times)

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TomatoBunny

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Duplicate Dish at a Potluck; What would you do?
« on: November 10, 2011, 01:00:35 AM »
The potluck thread over in the work forum made me remember this, but I figured it wasn't really work-exclusive, so I'd just pose the scenario here. I know it's not really all that important, just curious though...

You're having a potluck and two guests brought a similar dish. For the sake of argument, let's say corn. Sarah brought white corn and Trixie brought plain ole yellow corn. The corn looks to be just canned corn which was placed into another container, but you don't know if/how it was seasoned, etc. Sarah brought hers in a reused butter container and Trixie had placed hers in a casserole dish. If it matters, there was a 'sign up' list, and Sarah signed up, saying she was bringing corn, where as Trixie did not sign up for anything.

What would you serve?
1) Both, there is plenty of table space and potlucks are all about options.
2) Sarah's because she signed up. Trixie's would be used if Sarah's was finished.
3) Trixie's because she used a nice casserole dish and it looks better on your table/food spread. Use Sarah's if it emptied.
4) Dump Sarah's corn into Trixie's dish, mix them up and serve. Hey, it's all corn anyway, so who cares.
5) Whoever arrived first. The second person's dish would be used after the first was finished.
6) Other - please describe.


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My real scenario; I was 'Sarah' and the designated(?) server, who was just a coworker, decided to use option 4, but also because of option 3. I was disappointed to find them mixed, because I had prepared mine a certain way, prefer white corn, and even spent extra on getting a 'good brand' for it. Full disclosure; the item in question was not really corn. She also threw my container away without asking me, which may be a self-fulfilling thing now, since I specifically used it because it seems whatever type of container I use always tends to disappear during these things, regardless if my name was on it or not.  :-\

My opinion; I'm mostly leaning towards placing both out, but if space was a factor afterall, as it could very well be in a home scenario, prime placement on the table would be first come, first placed (desserts excluded, obviously ;) )and the rest would get put in the kitchen/whereever there was space for whatever didn't fit on the table. :P   I figured this was typical procedure, until I ran into this weird combiner incident. If I remember correctly, she also piled up all the cookies on a huge platter or two, getting them all mixed up.  :-\

Snewt

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Re: Duplicate Dish at a Potluck; What would you do?
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2011, 01:12:14 AM »
Put them both out.  The point of the pot luck is for people to share things.  I have never been to a pot luck where the host/ organizer didn't put things out because he/ she didn't like the serving dish or it was a duplicate. (VERY rarely did something not make it out to the serving area due to a problem with the dish itself, ie, it got damaged in travel or something.)

cicero

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Re: Duplicate Dish at a Potluck; What would you do?
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2011, 02:19:22 AM »
put both out. unless there were rules (food needs to be brought in pretty container; only one type of specific food will be used - first comes first served [or whatever]; etc).

if people are having a potluck - then that's just what it is (emphasis on the "luck" ;D).

to my mind, it makes more sense to have a semi-potluck (and this is how we've done it in my former foodie forum): people can't just bring things w/o saying "what" they are bringing and the coordinator coordinated dishes [e.g. if she had three mains and no sides then she would tell the next person not to bring a main but to bring a side. or if she had two pasta dishes she would tell the next person to bring a vegetables, etc] and the hosts put out an array of serving dishes so it all looked nice, though some things were left in their disposable trays and that was fine.

If there were no such rules in place, then everyone's dish should be put out and let the people decide what they were going to eat. I would not have been happy if someone had decided to mix two "similar" dishes.

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MariaE

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Re: Duplicate Dish at a Potluck; What would you do?
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2011, 03:35:29 AM »
Definitely option 1. I wouldn't even give it a second thought.
 
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O'Dell

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Re: Duplicate Dish at a Potluck; What would you do?
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2011, 05:06:09 AM »
Put both out as long as there is room on the table for both. If there was room for only one, I'd put out Sarah's...the one who signed up for it and hold Trixie's in reserve.
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mechtilde

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Re: Duplicate Dish at a Potluck; What would you do?
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2011, 05:27:47 AM »
Both, as long as there was enough room on the table.
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Just Lori

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Re: Duplicate Dish at a Potluck; What would you do?
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2011, 07:36:18 AM »
When I say potluck, I think of church gatherings where the food is set on long tables and you often choose between six different chicken casseroles and eight different potato dishes.  So I'd definitely set out both.

sammycat

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Re: Duplicate Dish at a Potluck; What would you do?
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2011, 08:15:47 AM »
Definitely option 1. I wouldn't even give it a second thought.

Same here.

lowspark

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Re: Duplicate Dish at a Potluck; What would you do?
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2011, 09:08:22 AM »
There is no question in my mind: both should be served. Mixing up different people's dishes is a big no-no! What if you made your dish with specific ingredients that you are not alergic to, for example? Then it gets mixed with someone else's - oh well. Now you can't even eat your own dish!

As far as how pretty the container is, well, really, who cares? If it was at my house and I was trying to make a pretty presentation, then maybe I could ask you if you wanted me to put it in a pretty dish before it was placed on the table. But honestly, even then, why bother?

So, this is what strikes me as odd: Whenever I've had or participated in a potluck, everyone just puts their dish on the table as they arrive. There isn't someone in charge who collects the dishes and places them on the table. Why does someone even need to do that? As hostess, the only time I even get involved with the stuff on the table is to scoot stuff around if more room is needed, or to serve myself when it's time to eat!

rose red

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Re: Duplicate Dish at a Potluck; What would you do?
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2011, 09:47:18 AM »
I would place both dishes on the table for people to decide what they want to eat.  I think it was rude of the server to combine them. 

Once at work, two of us brought spinach dip.  There was a lot, so some of it went into the fridge for the next day  :D.  But that was our decision.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Duplicate Dish at a Potluck; What would you do?
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2011, 09:49:45 AM »
They both go out on the table.  After everybody has had firsts, as hostess, I might scooch what's left of Trixie's down to one end of the dish and put what's left of Sarah's in the other end, just to begin the clearing up.  And I would never throw out someone's container, even a reused butter container, without asking.
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Lynnv

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Re: Duplicate Dish at a Potluck; What would you do?
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2011, 09:56:45 AM »
I agree with everyone else.  Both of them go out.  And I think throwing anything away without checking with the person who brought it is always a bad move.

The potlucks I attend are for my MC club (we do one at our Nov meeting and at our Dec meeting).  And it is completely disorganized.  The club buys and cooks the meat, and everything else is luck.  Sometimes we have turkey and 14 desserts.  Sometimes we have turkey and 10 sidedishes and only 4 desserts (there is always dessert).  We have one guy who doesn't cook at all-so he usually brings a cheese pizza or KFC.  Everything goes out, we have piles of leftovers, we beg invite any visitors or guests to eat even though they didn't bring anything (because we ALWAYS have enough food for an army) and generally have a good time with it.  We often have more than one of our 'non-cooks' buy bagged salad and dressing...and both go out.  The only way I can see that not happening is if the salads were both identical so we would only open them one bag at a time.  Same with chips-two different flavors means both get opened.  Two bags of the same brand of salt & vinegar chips means that one gets opened at a time.
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WillyNilly

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Re: Duplicate Dish at a Potluck; What would you do?
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2011, 10:00:42 AM »
1) Both, there is plenty of table space and potlucks are all about options.

As MariaE said, I wouldn't even give it a second thought.

The only time I would hold something back or mix two dishes of something is if one person brought a dish plus a 'refill' dish of the same item (so its literally exactly the same - from the same person, same kitchen, same time, etc just maybe the refill is in a less elegant serving container).  I know I have at my own parties done that - made a big batch of something but only put out half or so, to see if it gets eaten.  If it does, great I put out the other half, if it doesn't I reserve the other half, in its untouched state, for myself for a later meal.

Smitty

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Re: Duplicate Dish at a Potluck; What would you do?
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2011, 04:03:43 PM »
I think one of the benefits of growing up in a church-potluck culture is that it trains you on all the nuances of potluck etiquette. I can't imagine messing with someone else's potluck dish! I see stories all over this site about people who don't contribute, take too much, take leftovers that aren't theirs and that they weren't invited to take, making nasty comments about other people's contributions, take way too much of the "good stuff", etc. etc., and I am always horrified. Growing up with regular potlucks, I learned as a child that there are some things you just don't do.

I guess I'm hoping that all these potluck boors just didn't have to opportunity to learn potluck etiquette as children. The alternative is that there are an awful lot of jerks out there.  >:(

gramma dishes

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Re: Duplicate Dish at a Potluck; What would you do?
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2011, 04:08:55 PM »
Don't mess with people's food!!  Of course you'd put them both out!  I couldn't imagine not doing that!
I'm also a little shocked that your dishes keep disappearing, especially if your name is on them!! 
So I think you have two reasons to be a little upset!