It’s getting to be party season again and if your friends are as lazy as mine that means potlucks lots and lots of potlucks. So how do you make sure it’s successful? Just follow the golden rule. Thou shalt let people bring what they want to thine potlucketh feast. Yes that means what you think it means . You don’t get to dictate. Leave the micro-managing back at the office, parties are about fun.
Why? You ask? Why can’t I simply require people with the last names A-L bring a main dish and M-Z bring a dessert or side or drink? It’s unfair to the people with names A thru L that’s why. Especially when you live 45 minutes away, and you show up with some rotisserie chicken that cost 9 bucks and is now cold, while someone who lives around the corner gets to bring a dollars’ worth of generic Oreos simply because their last name is Zelinsky.
Also what if your potluck specialty is fudge and everyone else love the fudge but you are told you can’t bring it because too many people already signed up for desserts. Then you are going to be annoyed that you can’t make your special fudge and everyone at the party will be miffed because all the desserts there are stale fruitcakes, dollar store vanilla wafers and diet sugar free rum raisin yogurt squares. You will not only be bummed that you can’t make fudge when it’s your only chance because you live alone and don’t need a pan of fudge hanging around taunting you at midnight. “Don’t you feel guilty,” They’ll say “You ate 4000 calories of me today, better finish me off right now….”
Then you will subconsciously rebel by bringing warm gas station sushi you bought on the way to the party. After that you will be all screw it, next time I’m gonna bring what I want. Most people do this anyway. If you are tacky enough to question they will say, Oh I forgot I signed up for 26 layer bean dip, or it turns out I have a string bean intolerance, who knew? Or they ever popular, I thought you meant first names M-Z get to bring something good. It still sucks if your name is Beverly Barnes though.
So just let people bring what they want. If you have too many desserts order a pizza, or run down to store and get a chicken. Let God, or the universe, or the ghost of Colonel Sanders work it all out for you.
Your Potluck Party can be a valuable learning experience. If everyone brings one bag of stale Doritos, or the beer that comes in a white can that says Beer on it, maybe you need friends who are less financially strapped. Or maybe people bring crappy food they bought on the way because they are annoyed at you. Stop being a control freak and just be a good friend and watch your potluck plates go from corn nuts to canapés. Or if you want something good and your friends really are that broke provide your own canapés.
Special Note about Theme Parties.
You can suggest that people bring something related the the theme, but if you want at least one dish pertaining to it you need to make it yourself. Example: If you have a St. Patrick’s Day potluck and demand something Irish you are going to get 20 bricks of that Dubliner cheese paired with crackers.