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May 13, 2015
If you’ve worked in corporate America or belonged to any organization for at least a year, then you too have participated in the dreaded annual potluck. It’s more like potyuck, but let’s pretend that you’ve actually attended a decent potluck. As an event planner, I believe it’s my moral duty to be against potlucks, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that potlucks are great money savers. With that being said, I’ve come up with the Non-Potluck Potluck.
Potluck dinners are events where the guest provide a dish to a meal. As I stated before, potluck dinners are great because they simplify the meal planning and distribute the costs among the participants. However, the problem with potluck dinners is simple: Potlucks do not enhance the experience of the event or the dining experience. In many cases, it takes away from the experience.
The Non-Potluckis a great alternative to a normal potluck, but it retains the distribution of cost among the participants.
First, choose a main dish (pasta, chicken, seafood, tofu, etc.).
Then, list all of its’ opposing sides. For example, if you choose pasta, list a few simple vegetable. Steak? A lighter side is the best way to go. If you've decided to make stir-fry with rice, then nix the rice salad.
Next, make a list with a theme. For instance, if you used lemon in your chicken, include a salad with lemon juice in the salad dressing, or lemon zest on the bread on the list.
Your last list should include seasonal dishes. Look at the produce at the grocery store or your local market.
Finally, review your list with a complete meal in mind (i.e., meat, starch, and vegetable.) This offers a traditional way to put the meal together. From your previous list, select the sides (or entrées) that would complement your main dishes. Then send this list to the attendees.
Viola! Not only have you minimized the culinary clutter (there are always a few rogue players), but you’ve created a harmonious culinary experience.
Final Thought: If you really want to stray from the potluck, you could always request that everyone brings their dish in a clear container (because that’ll match your décor) and include the recipes for each dish.