Ahh, potlucks—the perfect antidote to laziness or kitchen incompetence. Those who want to host a dinner party but struggle with cooking, or don’t have time to whip up a 5-course meal for guests, can always rely on the potluck. A potluck is a perfect “out” that lets you flaunt your hospitality while concealing the fact that even microwave popcorn terrifies you.
Luckily, asking your guests to bring their own dish is not only an acceptable option but a respectable one. Potlucks, rather than being a way to shuck off responsibility, are considered hip, exciting, and egalitarian. They allow everybody to participate and provide diversity to a meal that wouldn’t exist if only one person oversaw cooking. Furthermore, they allow more room for dietary preferences, which is important in the days of food restrictions, specialty diets, and food allergies.
Still, there are ways to make potlucks exciting. Sure, you can simply ask each guest to bring a dish without further directions. But you can also get creative, adding themes that will make for an even more exciting experience.
So if you doubt your kitchen skills but still want to entertain guests at home, here are some ideas for creative potlucks that are sure to get your guests excited while hiding the fact that you don’t know an oven from a microwave.
Assign Each Guest a Continent
One good way to avoid everybody showing up with the same avocado dip is to assign each guest a continent and ask them to create a dish from that area. Of course, this requires some confidence in your guest’s culinary skills, but it will provide everybody with a fun way to research new recipes, learn about a region of the world, and share their discoveries during a lively meal that’s sure to be full of surprises.
Ask Each Guest to Make Their Favorite Childhood Dish
If you’re less confident in your guests’ abilities to improvise, you can ask each person to bring their most familiar, comforting, or sentimental dish. Chances are everybody’s dish will be well-honed and delicious. This option also allows for some good dinner conversation. Ask your guests to share stories about the dish they brought, why they chose it, what it reminds them of, and who taught them to make it.
Take Care of the Wine or Other Non-Cooking Elements
Just because you can’t cook doesn’t mean you can’t participate. If you’re really hesitant to cook for guests, put your energy into wines, fruit spreads, or even the non-edible elements of the meal that are just as important.
If you put as much effort into your job as others, your guests will understand and appreciate whatever it is you bring to the table, even if that means food-specific playlists, scented candles, flowers, design, or tableware. And if you do decide to get your hands dirty in the kitchen, the best online grocery shopping services can make your job a lot easier.
Everyone Has Something to Contribute
You don’t have to let your poor cooking skills stop you from hosting a dinner party. Potlucks offer us the chance to share the responsibilities, contribute in our own unique ways, and get creative while doing it. Instead of ordering pizza or risking embarrassing yourself, you can ask each guest to contribute and host a diverse, flavorful, creative meal that will ensure people will leave satisfied and excited to do it again.
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