Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Adventures in Potlucking

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Every year during the holidays, my co-workers and I have a dinner at one person's house.  There are eight of us in the firm, and the four of us partners provide the food and drink in potluck fashion, and we invite our associates to enjoy and not worry about bringing anything.  My partners and I always have fun beforehand coming up with the menu, and everyone commits to bringing a certain dish or dessert, and we're careful to coordinate so we have everything covered for a nice sit-down meal.  The last two times have been at my house, since I have the biggest dining room and all the china and serving dishes and such. 

Anyway, this past time, we had agreed to a menu of salad, spiral cut ham, scalloped potatoes, steamed broccoli, corn, rolls, various desserts, sparkling wines and ciders, etc.  I had the house and dining room festively decorated, and it was going to be a very nice dinner.  One of my partners, we'll call her Ditzy, had committed to bring the salad and rolls.  However, on the night of the dinner, she arrived a little late.  She said she hadn't had time to make a salad and rolls, so she had run through the drive-thru at Captain D's (a fastfood seafood restaurant) and picked up a tub of cole slaw and an order of six small hushpuppies.  Knowing Ditzy as I do, this did not surprise me, and I was prepared with salad fixings and rolls just in case.  I was tempted not to serve the cole slaw and hushpuppies, since they really didn't go with the meal, but I thought that would be rude, so I did serve her offerings in nice serving dishes.  But no one touched them, not even Ditzy. 

So have any of you ever run into the same sort of adventures in potlucking?  Do you normally try to keep enough on hand to take up the slack for someone who does not bring what they said they would bring? 

I would only do that if I noticed that a certain person had a bad habit of doing this. I wonder why she didn't just stop at the grocery store deli section, where she could of gotten something much more decent and fitting than fast-food. The only thing that irks me about potlucks sometimes is when people sign up to bring something, and then they don't stick to that plan and they bring something else. For instance, I sign up to bring a fruit platter. Then someone else shows up with the same fruit platter, obviously not reading that I had signed up to bring that. So then mine doesn't get eaten as much, and I have leftovers which I don't want. Maybe it sounds controlling or petty on my behalf, but for potlucks I wish people would make sure to pay attention to what others are bringing so that there are no duplicates or too much or too little of one kind of dish (for instance, just mostly desserts or appetizers and few entrees).

Just Lori:
I grew up in a church where potlucks were a regular thing.  Usually, you'd get a great variety of main dishes, side dishes and dessert.  But one month, nearly everybody brought lasagna.  There were several varieties of lasagna, with maybe a couple of chicken dishes in between.  At the time, I did not like lasagna.  So I was excited when a lady showed up a little late, after the line was forming.

"What did you bring?" someone called from the line.


Of course.

My story relates to one of my friends.  We had tried potlucking as a good way to get together when we were first out of college, since a lot of us were still broke and can't afford to go out to restaurants all the time.  My apartment was the biggest and my roommate also participates, so we agreed to have it there.  There were 6 of us at the time.  We would always plan ahead of time what everyone would bring, and this would be through e-mail so everyone would have a record.  After awhile we start noticing that this one person would always volunteer to bring dessert, and would invariably show up with a box of Entenmann's cookies.  We tried to switch it around so that everyone gets to bring different things, but she threw a fit and refused to participate.  So we stopped inviting her.  

We had one girl at work that would "decide" for you what you should bring.

Not too bad, you didn't have to think too hard about what to bring, but if she liked the way you made a certain food.  You were asked to bring it every time.

now I like to cook, but she liked my deviled eggs, so unless I pitched a fit, that is what I usually brought.


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