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The Potluck Dinner

Updated on February 7, 2018

The Potluck

Have you ever been invited to a potluck and wondered what to bring. You ask the host the question; “What should I bring? And they say whatever you want. You then begin to worry. You could bring bread, cheese, fruit, and maybe cookies. Perhaps that casserole your family loves so much?

Before we look at how you can hold a successful potluck event or enjoy attending one, let’s take a look at the potluck itself.

Potluck dinners are a way to reduce the cost of holding a meal and share the work. They are ideal for community-based events.

However, potlucks have emerged beyond community halls and church basements to create a venue for friends and neighbour to come together, share a meal and have some fun.

The only traditional rule is that each dish be large enough to be shared among a good portion (but not necessarily all) of the anticipated guests. In some cases each participant agrees ahead of time to bring a single course, and the result is a multi-course meal. Guests may bring in any form of food, ranging from the main course to flavourful desserts.

Now back to the basics. The informal or family and friends potluck is what this hub is all about. I have attended a number of potluck dinners over the years, some were great fun and others were deadly. The meals ranged form deserts, when all ten people brought desert. It was fun but not particularly healthy.

Another was a delightful completely vegetarian meal. The host, as she invited people to dinner, told her guests what she was making and had a list of suggestions that they could pick from or be inspired by. This was a great evening, no tension, as you watch everyone ignore your family’s casserole well diving into the double chocolate chip cookies.

The food was diverse and the atmosphere sparkled. I recommend that you use a similar method when planning a potluck. This way you do not remove the element of choice but you do reduce the worry.

If you have been invited to a potluck, it is also a good idea to let the hostess know what you are bringing as soon as as you decide.

This way the host can inform others what will be there and that will assist them to make their choice.

Themes work well; Halloween is a great time for a potluck. Pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes and turkey are standards for this season. The Halloween Kitchen has some ideas you can consider.

Potlucks are a great way to meet new neighbours and renew old acquaintances. Because the work is shared, everyone has more time for conversation and to sit back and relax. Even the cleaning up afterward is simpler. Your guests will either help you do the dishes because they have used their own to transport their contribution and want to take them with them when they leave, or they will just pack them up and clean them later.

It is a good idea to have some plastic containers, margarine, yogurt or ice cream, on hand so that people can take any food that is fit, away, if that is what you want to do. You may want the leftovers for yourself. Many a great and quick meal has been made from potluck leftovers.

Potlucks are fun and can be simple if you do a little planning


Submit a Comment
  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for the comments, having the hostess or host inform you about what is being brought is a great help.

  • Priceless Sam profile image

    Priceless Sam 

    10 years ago

    I love potluck dinners! Usually in our family and group of friends, the host or hostess will let everyone else know what is being made already. That's probably the best idea! Thanks for the information, Bob - great read!

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    11 years ago from New Brunswick

    as long as everyone eats the event will be happy.

  • Mel-Mel profile image


    11 years ago from United States

    Awesome Hub. I really enjoy potluck dinners. I know what you mean about at times when everyone brings a dessert. There has also been an occasion that I know of when everyone brought some form of pasta, but in different. It was not a problem with me, but I cannot speak for everyone. The way I see it no one came away hungry and there was enough to go around. Just my two cents.




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