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Potlucks: what to bring

Art by Mia Walker.

Potlucks. These group gatherings involve everybody bringing a dish of some sort for there to be enough food for everyone. If you’re like me, these are events that you greatly enjoy, as they offer a good opportunity to eat large quantities of food -- but are some foods better than others in this scenario?

Balance is key in a potluck; too much of one type of food is a bad thing. For example, having too many sweets can completely overpower the rest of the food at an event. Additionally, if this potluck is supposed to be a meal, then items such as sweets should be limited in favor of other savory dishes present. For this, communication is incredibly important. If you’ve ever had a potluck where you don’t know what someone else is bringing, you would see that it can be incredibly chaotic. Having insufficient main dishes can mean nothing but chips and drinks at a potluck; something nobody wants. To fix this, some sort of form to fill out is vital, as you can show everybody who plans on bringing something some sort of guideline on what to bring, and whether or not there is room for a particular dish or not. A Google spreadsheet is great for this as they are easy for anyone to share, set up, and edit.

Savory is oftentimes better than sweet. Personally, eating too many sweet foods is too much for my taste buds, whereas savory foods are something that I can keep shoving down my throat. Dishes such as pasta (like mac and cheese) or sandwiches are great examples of this, especially because most people will enjoy them. While main and savory dishes are generally more important than others, it is still important to have foods that balance and mesh well with each other. Salads or vegetables are great options, as they pair well with most things while also bringing a healthy option to a gathering that, more often than not, involves unhealthy foods. Others, like such, include fruit or chips and some sort of dip.

Although not as crucial to a good potluck as other segments, suitable desserts can still be very important to have -- and just as with different sections, balance is important to have. Personally, I feel some of the best things to bring are cookies, brownies, and such. These choices are preferred because of how simple and popular they can often be; just about anyone will enjoy a brownie, cookie, or cupcake, especially if they are delectable. Cakes and other similar desserts are also favored, but they can be messier and harder to serve than easy things like cookies, which can be easily picked up and put onto a plate.

Drinks can also be very important in having a good potluck. If there is nothing but food, participants will only be able to eat, causing them to get more and more thirsty, especially if much of the selection is salty. Even if it is merely some water or soda, some sort of liquid is a necessity. Additionally, plates, cups, and utensils are critical because, without them, you can’t even eat. Plus, only one person needs to go out and purchase some paper plates, plastic utensils, and napkins. Thus, if you need to bring something for a gathering, and you don’t know whether anyone is bringing them or not, cutlery can be a good and consistent fallback.

Potlucks are great activities that can be a lot of fun when done with friends. Although it can be a fair bit of work to make a dish large enough to feed everyone, they are almost always rewarding and exceedingly enjoyable. Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll have a better idea of what to do when one occurs, but even if you don’t, managing one isn’t too much of a hassle.

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