Frugal Entertaining-Throw a Potluck

The Host Should Provide Something Substantial

Summer is Here!

Here we are, finally, enjoying the lazy days of summer. Longer days and sunny summer weather practically call out for a party. But it is difficult for many in these hard times for one person to foot the whole bill. Don’t let that stop you. Throw a potluck instead. People won’t mind. In fact, these days most folks are so trained to bring a contribution that it is hard to stop them. Over the last couple of years I have thrown several parties where I was specifically doing all the cooking, and everyone showed up with a dish to share anyhow. I say don’t fight it.

The Role of the Host

Even though it is a potluck, if you are the host you should provide something substantial. We usually provide the main protein. This could mean running the grill and providing regular and veggie burgers with the trimmings, or cooking a turkey and a ham plus a tofurkey. This way, you still get to retain some of the graciousness of being a host, but with less expense and less work. Either way, guests all bring their own bottle, assuring both that everyone gets what they want, and that you don’t pay for it.

Organizing It All

The first thing you need is a list of categories. Perhaps appetizers, sides, salads, veggies, and desserts. Some people take a free form approach and tell the guests to just pick what they want to make. Often this works out well, but you may end up with seven pasta salads and no vegetables. There are other ways to break it up, including alphabetically and by astrological sign. Don’t always go straight through the alphabet. The A-F crowd gets tired of making appetizers and might enjoy a chance to make dessert.

Rules for Guests

If you are a guest at a potluck, bring a dish big enough to feed about ten to twelve people. If you like to cook, thing of this as a chance to really show off. If you are not talented in the kitchen, make something simple- say a cheese plate if you are doing an appetizer, or a simple green salad if salads are your assignment. Just don’t bring something from the deli counter. A potluck is about sharing and creativity, so make a little effort. Transport your dish in a container you are not attached to, and don’t forget serving implements. Be on time. A meal is a time sensitive event, and you don’t want to inconvenience your host or throw off the rhythm. And finally, help clean up. Your own mess and a little more. I wish all of you a summer filled with wonderful meals shared with good friends.


One Response

  1. Breaking it up by Astrological sign? Awesome suggestion! Love it.

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