Oh My Potluck!

Good recipes to share with friends.

To Bake or To Buy

I would never ever tell you to buy something to bring to a potluck. I blog recipes for goodness’ sake. Why would I ever suggest that?

Well, let’s admit it. You have a busy life. I have a busy life. Sometimes we get swept up in the hustle and bussle and for one potluck won’t have the time to whip up anything decent.

Now, in most situations the rule is to strut your kitchen prowess, devote some time to your food and bring a unique dish crafted with the love only you can bring. Set aside the time to make something really phenomenal. Show your host and fellow potluck goers that you care. Certain excuses just won’t fly, for example:

  • I ran out of butter
  • My avocado tree needed pruning
  • I don’t have any good dishes
  • My house-mates ate it
  • I burn everything I touch
  • I slept in

However, there are situations where you do have a decent excuse. Maybe you have a busy day, or you’re just getting back from a trip or maybe you just can’t cook if your life depended on it. Heck, maybe your kitchen is under renovations or you need to spend time in the hospital with a loved one all day. I don’t know… life gets in the way of potlucks. Blah blah blah.

Consider the amount of time you have. Even if you have to buy make sure you bring something special and unique. Use your farmers’ markets and local shops if you can. Here are some options:

A teaspoon of time
(less than 15 minutes of prep time at home plus some time for baking and/or picking up groceries)

  • Find a quick recipe to pull together.
  • Get some fresh fruit or vegetables from the market and slice them up before heading out. Don’t forget a dip!
  • Go to the market and grab some lettuce, seasonal vegetables and nuts. Throw together a speedy salad.
  • Grab some lemons and whip up some lemonade. 8 lemons (1 cup juice), 1 cup sugar, 4 cups water and lots of ice.

A dash of time
( 5 to 15 minutes out of the way, maybe half an hour depending on where you live)

  • Find a nice bakery and pick up some artisan rolls, cookies or tarts.
  • Track down a chocolatier and pick up a box of truffles or chocolates.
  • Pick up some interesting cheeses and crackers from a local market.
  • Find some nice sausages and deli meats from a local vendor… the more interesting and unique the better.
  • Toast some pita wedges with a bit of olive oil and cayenne (or a flavour of your choice). It’ll only take 10 or so minutes!
  • Make nacho popcorn: popcorn, butter, salt and cayenne tossed then melt a touch of cheddar on top. Or make sweeter popcorn with popcorn, butter, sea salt and sugar. There are tons of variations.

A smidgeon of time
(less than 5 minutes out of the way)

  • See if the host needs plates, cups, napkins, cutlery, or beverages and pick some up before arriving.
  • Pick up a few small bouquets of flowers for the tables.

With all these simple ideas you really shouldn’t need to resort to something generic. Whatever you do don’t bring chips and salsa and don’t buy a pre-made dish from the deli counter of your generic supermarket. Try to avoid bringing what another time-lost person would bring. Even if you can’t bake, strive to be unique and go that extra mile.

I’m sure there are a million more great ideas floating around out there… what have you got?

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This entry was posted on June 28, 2012 by in Tips and tagged .

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