Now that we’ve successfully managed to adult our way through autumn (AKA we learned how to actually decorate for fall and elevate last year’s wardrobe with some cheeky autumnal DIYs), we’re ready to take on our next big seasonal event: the annual holiday potluck, Friendsgiving or other. While trying everything from Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook is always an option, we’re going to go ahead and say that we might need to start with something a *tad* easier. To help us avoid any potluck guest blunders, we’re sharing seven expert dos and don’ts for adulting newbies. Enjoy!
1. Bring everything (we mean EVERYTHING) you’ll need. Sure, bringing the actual dish is a must… but so is serving ware, a dish towel and extra napkins. “Bring everything you’ll need to serve your dish,” says Danielle Walsh from Bon Appetit. And yes, that includes an extra trivet.
2. Avoid needing to use the host’s oven. While your host knows that some dishes will need to be warmed up, the best way to prevent an oven bottleneck is to skip it altogether. Potluck enthusiast and culinary guru Jamie Oliver suggests bringing slow-cooked joints of meat as an easy option. “Cook a marinated shoulder of lamb on low heat for four to five minutes, wrap it tightly in a double layer of foil and make it airtight with cling film, allowing it to rest while you transport it,” he advises. Done and done.
3. Try something interactive. If you want to ensure your dish is a hit, try making it interactive. “People love wrapping, dipping and eating with their fingers,” says Jamie Oliver. Get creative with your presentation and watch your dish fly off of the buffet table.
4. Stay away from the Triple-S: Stinky, spicy and strange. According to Danielle Walsh from Bon Appetit, simple spices are definitely a winner when it comes to communal potlucks (AKA cool it with the garlic and curry — at least for this gathering).
5. Don’t forget about food safety. We’ve all licked and dipped a cooking spoon when making a dish for one, but it’s probably not the best idea when preparing a dish for your holiday potluck. “Headlines about people getting sick at church potlucks are enough to make anyone nervous,” says Kristin Donnelly at Serious Eats. Try to procure quality ingredients, ensure your counter space is clean and keep your pets (and children) far, far away.
6. No matter how good it looks, don’t take the last bite. Even if you’ve been waiting all year for your coworker’s famous mac ‘n’ cheese, nothing warrants taking a whole plate full. As manners expert Diane Gottsman says, “As good as the turkey may be, avoid that second trip through the line until everyone else has gone through once.”
7. Don’t lunge for a doggy bag. Although most of the time hosts will want you to take your extras home, don’t start packing up until you are asked. It’s common courtesy to let the host keep the leftovers if they’d like, advises Siobhan Adcock at Epicurious.
What’s your biggest potluck pet peeve? Tweet us by mentioning @BritandCo!
(Featured photo via Getty)