Stress-Free Planning for Hosting a Potluck Party
The idea of a potluck party easily brings to mind images of homemakers and old ladies in the neighborhood trooping down to the party venue, carrying Tupperware bowls filled with home cooked dishes to share. Although it has an old-fashion ring to it, potluck party remains as a popular and practical way for busy people to host a casual get-together, or simply enjoy a break from their hectic schedule. Whatever event calls for it, if you’re the host, you’ll be glad to be relieved from much of the stress that goes with party planning, especially in food preparation and financial pressure.
The Role of a Host
A potluck party can only be successful if planned correctly. In a setup where sharing food is the objective, it is important to have a plan that involves everyone’s participation. Even if guests are categorized as guests, they are asked to bring their favorite dishes to share with the rest of the group. As host, you don’t need to know how guests will prepare their respective dishes or the ingredients that are in each pot. However, it is still crucial to delegate the dishes to avoid everyone pitching in the same thing, while creating an imbalance on the buffet table because there are no sides, salads, or main dishes. Instead of achieving the element of surprise, everyone would end up disappointed.
Being the host, you need to oversee who’s bringing what to allow everyone to enjoy various flavors brought in from different kitchens. Create a menu to list down ideal food components that make any party complete, such as appetizers, salads, main dishes, desserts, and drinks. An efficient way is to divide your guests’ name and assign them according to food categories. For example, guests whose name starts from A-D will bring the appetizers, E-K will be assigned for the salads, while L-R can be delegated for the main dishes, and S-Z for the desserts. If guests are at a loss for the type of food to bring, here’s a list of what to suggest.
- Breakfast: muffins, fresh fruit salad, breakfast casserole, and granola parfait
- Lunch: classic potato salad, asparagus and mushroom casserole, chicken and cheese lasagna roll ups
- Afternoon: potato focaccia, seafood paella, butternut squash turnovers, lime pie with blackberry jam
- Dinner: zucchini enchiladas, caramelized onion and bacon tart, wontons with sweet and sour sauce and spinach casserole
Since you’re the host, you are obligated to fill in whatever is missing in the list. Usually hosts provide one or several main courses, such as roasted turkey, baked teriyaki chicken or roast beef with veggies. If you want to flood the party with lots of drinks, ask everyone to bring their brand of beverage or booze.
Remind your guests about the advantage of bringing easy to transport and ready-to-eat food. This advice comes handy whether the party is to be held at home or in some outdoor venue. Such types of food will not crowd your kitchen when everyone scrambles to use the oven, microwave, and utensils to reheat and assemble the dishes. In addition, it will be practical for guests to contain their dishes in disposable plastic platters and bowls to save on washing and to unload their baggage after the party. Try to encourage guests to surprise everyone by cooking new recipes, or bringing exotic and rare food item to the party.
Simplifying the Party Essentials
Deciding whether to have a theme for the potluck party or not depends on the occasion being celebrated. Generally, a potluck party has an informal air to it; thus, there is less need to focus on decors and accessories. However, as organizer, you need to provide enough tables and chairs. If you’re having a picnic in the park, make sure to ask guests to bring their own chair while you provide colored taffeta table covers that can also be laid down on the grass for ground buffet setting. Use colored plastic plates and bowls to match with other colorful disposable party supplies and table ware. Take your pick from what Party Supplies Online has to offer from its wide range of high quality plastic and disposable catering products.
Hosting a potluck party is that easy. It is less complicated yet not lacking in fun and excitement. What a way to party with friends while enjoying all the surprise dishes brought in to the table!