At the risk of alienating all of my fellow cruisers and never being invited to another potluck again, I’m going to write an opinion piece here…on potlucks.
I hate them. I always have and I hate them more now that we’re cruising. I’ll start off by saying that I love the company, it’s the food I hate. I’ll add a tidbit about Andy and myself you may or may not know…we’re food snobs.
|Believe it or not, I don't have any pictures of a potluck.|
Here's the marina we're staying in.
First off, there’s never a theme. You could have sushi sitting next to hot dogs and deviled eggs next to an enchilada casserole. There is no rhyme or reason to it. If you’re planning a potluck, pick a theme… Italian, Mexican, Bar-b-que, whatever. Give people a direction. No one likes to walk in the dark.
Inevitably, you will have more pasta salads and potato salads than you can count. Now, I’m not criticizing those who bring these things…I too have brought pasta salad to more than one get together, I’m just pointing out that there are only so many dishes appropriate for a potluck. Which leads me to my second issue…not many good dishes still taste good after they’ve been sitting around (which is why I hate buffets too, but that’s a totally different subject). Take for instance the taquitos I made for one of our more recent potlucks. I rolled up chilorio (a spicy easy to prepare meat here in Mexico) and cheese in some small tortillas and then fried them. Add some salsa and they were very tasty. But by the time I put those in a Tupperware container, got in the dinghy, went to the potluck (in our case we stopped by the showers first) and then set them on the table, they’re already cold and if they’re not cold, they’re soggy. In our case, they were cold and soggy. People still ate them but I’m not sure if it’s because they tasted good or because there wasn’t enough food and people were starving.
Number three reason I hate potlucks… some people can’t cook. There, I said it. They suck and they don’t know it. I’m not talking about the people that know it and bring chips and dip. To those folks, I salute you. I’m talking about the people who really and truly think they can cook and sometimes it even looks like they can cook so you pile your plate with whatever it is only to find out that there’s no where you can spit it out without making a scene. This has happened to me more than once on deserts. Have you ever eaten one of those brownies that tastes like it has been in the oven since Easter? You know what I mean.
Reason number four… some people have no scruples. I think they hate potlucks as much as I do and are trying to poison us all to keep us from throwing another one. I remember one potluck in San Diego at the dock where someone was bragging about bringing their leftovers from their dinner earlier in the week. They just put it on a plate and heated it up. I’m not talking about the dish that you made ahead of time (and maybe even threw in your freezer) because you’re busy. I’m talking about the one someone has already stuck his/her fork in and decided they would eat the rest later (along with 20 other people). It’s just gross.
I’m not sure if this is reason number five or just an extension of the other reasons but I always run out of ideas for potlucks. Recently I even resorted to soliciting ideas on Facebook. Some were helpful… The last potluck I went to I just took watermelon. Had more than 4 people shown up, it would have been very appropriate, but as it turned out we only had salad and watermelon. Everyone had to run up to the store and buy some meat.
It wouldn’t be a fair post if I didn’t point out the good things about potlucks. They are an inexpensive way of getting together with friends and not burdening one person with all of the work. I appreciate that. Occasionally, you will run across someone who has a really good recipe and you want to eat it again (that’s the way I found out about chilorio). That’s the luck in the “potluck.”
Potlucks won’t go away and I won’t quit attending them. I do enjoy the company and occasionally the food. But the next time you attend a potluck (particularly if I'm invited), put a little thought into it and leave your leftovers in the fridge.