Sharing food is an intricate part of many get-togethers. Potluck dinners or lunches are a wonderful way to spend time with friends or family. Potlucks make planning a get-together easier than doing everything yourself, especially for large gatherings. The fun of a potluck is in the name because you never know what will be in the pot.
Whether you are hosting an after-church function or entertaining in your own home, the basis for a potluck is the same. Everyone brings a favorite dish to share with everyone else. The burden of providing the meal is not placed upon one or two individuals but rather shared among the group. Not only does this mean less work and planning, but potlucks are also great for experiencing all types of different foods. Everyone has their favorite recipe, especially for potluck casseroles. It's all part of what makes potluck suppers great.
Planning a Potluck
Even though many will share in the making of the food, someone still needs to be in charge of planning and organizing. So, to start off, choose a few people to make sure the word gets out, that everyone knows where the potluck is to be held and that someone can handle setup and cleanup.
Next, move on to choosing a location for your gathering. You may have a group of ten or a crowd of fifty. If it is something like an after-church lunch, the meeting place will most likely be established. If not, decide whether you want to have it in your home or if you need to rent a room. Make sure there is plenty of seating room for your guests and that you have access to chairs and tables. You may need outlets to plug in appliances like slow cookers and coffee pots.
However, not every potluck requires tables. Some of the best potlucks are informal, and everyone holds their food on their laps. If you go this route, make sure that the foods people bring aren't too messy. You don't want someone dropping a bowl of chili or soup onto the floor.
The best way to assure an even amount of dishes is to assign people different types of dishes to prepare. You do not have to tell them what to bring; just give them the category. An easy way to break down a potluck is into a few categories:
You might assign someone the task of bringing tableware, or you can ask everyone to bring place settings for their own families. Another option is to post a sign-up sheet and have attendees choose their category. This way, they can decide what they would like to bring, but you can still make sure you have an even balance of foods.
Here is a great potluck salad or side dish recipe to get you started:
Asian-Style Noodle Salad
1 large package of fresh cabbage (coleslaw)
1 cup shelled sunflower seeds
1 cup slivered almonds
½ cup chopped green onions
2 packages instant Ramen noodles (choose your favorite flavor-beef or chicken are easy)
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1. Place vinegar, oil and sugar into a small pan and bring to a boil. Add the seasoning packets from the ramen noodles to the water. Do not add the noodles. Stir to dissolve. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2. Mix the shredded cabbage, sunflower seeds, slivered almonds and green onions together in a large bowl.
3. When you are ready to serve the dish, add the broken-up noodles into the cabbage mix. Pour the dressing over the salad, and stir well. Make sure everything is coated.
This dish serves six to eight, depending upon the size of the servings.
No matter what you bring, be sure to write the recipe down a few times on index cards. That way, if your recipe is a hit, you can share it with others.
When it comes to potluck recipes, pasta dishes are always popular. They are so simple, nutritious, comforting and filling that it is hard to imagine potluck menus without them.
Having a potluck dinner is an easy way of hosting a party without having to do all of the cooking. But there are a few points you need to follow to avoid a menu full of potluck casseroles or desserts, not to mention unhappy guests. For example, your potluck will be a problem if more than half of the guests bring potato chips and the other three bring one dish that won't feed everyone.
The joys of group gatherings and potlucks can't be denied. What better way to entertain guests and enjoy a get together than a sampling of everyone's culinary talents?