Whether you’re trying to cut back on eating out, trying to lose weight, or simply enjoy the comfort of spending time in each other’s homes, gathering your closest friends together for a regular potluck is one of life’s loveliest pleasures. Throwing a dish together and heading round to someone else’s house is easy. However, when it comes time for you to host, you’ll soon realize there are quite a few complications to contend with. While you will have a lot to juggle, the following five tips will set you up to slay on your potluck hosting day.
1. Prep Your Space
Many potluck meals need to be cooked, reheated, or garnished upon arrival at the host’s house. So, make sure your kitchen is ready to be invaded by a swarm of guests. Clear your countertops to make some space, have all the necessary cookware and utensils at the ready so your guests can present their creations with confidence.
2. Perfect Your Dish
In addition to being the perfect potluck host, you’ll still have to prepare an offering for the occasion. As the host, you want to make sure that you set the standard and put up the most scrumptious dish possible. Spend some time researching something a little special and then make a practice run or two with your family prior to the event. This way, you can iron out any minor difficulties and be primed for the big day.
3. Theme the Party
Setting a theme narrows down the options, thus preventing your guests from becoming overwhelmed by the billions of recipe options they’d otherwise be faced with. It also adds to the fun of the event and means that each one will be a unique and memorable experience. Consider choosing a different country each time you get together, having seasonal potlucks, wine pairing nights, working from a single cookbook or recipe blog, or even setting a challenge to use only local, in-season produce.
4. Assign General Categories
While it’s way more fun if each guest’s dish is kept as a surprise until the day of the potluck, you can’t entirely leave things up to chance. Otherwise, you could end up with a table full of desserts and nothing healthy to eat. Or even worse: no dessert at all! To get around this, don’t assign specific dishes (that’s way too much work for you anyway), just assign categories. So, some people will be asked to bring snacks and appetizers, others get main meals, one gets drinks, and at least one person is tasked with bringing the ever-important sweets.
5. Ask About Allergies
The last thing anyone wants is to have to call an ambulance or whip out the EpiPen at their potluck. To prevent catastrophes like this, be sure to ask each guest about their allergies and food intolerances, then try to ensure everyone prepares meals to suit. A group Facebook or Whatsapp message can help with this as it keeps everyone on the same page. If it’s not possible to entirely cater to all the specific food needs, at least ensure the dishes are all labeled. If your friends have a complicated mix of dietary requirements, it might be worth asking each person to bring a card with the name of the dish they’ve prepared and the ingredients it contains. Better safe than sorry!
Hosting a potluck can be a stressful experience, but if you follow these simple tips, it’ll be a cakewalk… so long as you don’t forget the dessert!