Potluck - the most awaiting yummy day!

Potluck meaning - all you need to know

A potluck is a social gathering where each guest brings a different homemade dish or food to be shared. The potlucks are organized by social, religious or corporate groups. It's like everyone will contribute one dish or one-course meal. However, you end up with a feast having a multi-course meal. Potlucks are about "Sharing food and company." The main idea behind potluck is bringing people together to share food and different cultures together.

Why potlucks?

Potlucks are a significant part of communities. It brings people together to eat and share each other's company over the food. There are many different ideas behind arranging potlucks.

  • Sharing - The main idea behind potlucks are "sharing." In potlucks, people share company over the food. People bring a diverse variety of food and dishes in potluck. It's like sharing cultures over the food. The different culture of food is shared together in a potluck. People come to know about different cultures, their food, and recipes as well.
  • Feels like a feast - People are usually a fan of this activity. We get a chance to eat a distinct variety of food together. You have to bring a single meal or dish and you end of eating different multi-course meals. Potluck is like a feast arranged together with everyone's effort and contribution.
  • Interaction at its best - Potluck gives a platform to interact with people over food. Generally, potluck talks include telling each other about different dish names, their recipes, efforts behind a dish, etc. Everyone gets to engage with food and cooking. People exchange recipes in potluck.
  • Bringing different cultures together - Potlucks brings different cultures together. People belonging to different cultures contribute to their dish or food in potlucks. Everyone gets a chance to taste a different unknown dish. People generally brags different recipes and try preparing those dishes in the future. Ultimately, many different cultures are shared during potlucks. In potluck, people appreciate each other tasting delicious dishes. Direct gratitude is shared in potlucks.
  • Fun at the workplace - Potlucks are considered the best team building activity in the corporate world. It is a fun activity in the workplace. Fun activities should be arranged regularly for employees. Everyone loves the fellowship in potluck. It encourages everyone to connect over food. In potluck, we all need an organizer to send emails to everyone and coordinate. Organizers coordinate well with each participant and ask them to get different things for potlucks. Fun doubles with delicious food in potluck.
  • The best idea for team building - If you want to have good communication between different groups and teams, potluck helps you the best. The objective here is to have good communication between teams. It gives a platform to employees to discuss things beyond work. Often arranging potlucks will make people comfortable with each other.

Experience of potluck

My recent experience of a potluck event in my organization was mind-blowing. It was my first time to attend this event. I got a chance to enjoy at my workplace the Xylem office, Bengaluru.
Everything was organized nicely.

The organizers of the event coordinated with everyone to bring different dishes for potluck. Everyone was supposed to bring something or the other which includes starters, main course, desserts, fruits, snacks, etc. Everyone was so excited in my team for the potluck. We were discussing who is bringing vegetarian food, non-vegetarian food, desserts, beverages, etc. Planning is done by organizers before two days of the event. They maintained the list with the names of employees and the dish they are bringing. People who are bringing from the market are supposed to bring snacks and beverages.

Potluck Day
Finally, the day arrives. Everyone was coming into the office with a big smile and casseroles, boxes, lunch box, packets, bottles, etc. Everyone is asking each other to show their dish from morning itself. I was supposed to bring beverages. I kept the beverages in the refrigerator. My team members were excited. Nobody is up for work that day. Every conversation was regarding food and cooking from the morning.

Snacks and beverages section

  • The cafeteria is cleaned properly to store all the dishes and items. Different tables for different sections were maintained. Sections include veg dishes on one, non-veg on other, desserts, snacks, etc.
  • The event was supposed to start around one in the afternoon. By 12:30, my team reached the cafeteria to heat their respective dishes, garnishing the gravies, keeping everything in order, mentioning their dish name on the paper, their own names, etc.
  • Wide variety of food items were there. It seems like a big food festival for me. Every section includes a minimum of ten dishes. It was a nice platform for me to meet the new people in my office, checking the dishes, asking the recipes, etc. I got a chance to meet new people in my office. It was a great platform to know each other over the food.

Snacks and starters section

Starting off the event
Our director came and gave his speech on thanking everyone for their efforts to arrange the potluck. He interacted with us in his speech. He asked a few questions like how frequently we should arrange this potluck?
As soon as he completed, everyone got the go signal for this food festival. The real fun begins!
Everyone marched quickly to their respective section of interest. The impressing thing was everyone was following the potluck etiquette nicely. They are queuing well to serve themselves. There was no chaos. Everyone was sharing food and happiness. It seems like a feast which has multi-course meals for everyone.

Vegetarian section

How potlucks are arranged?

The idea is discussed and introduced with all individuals, group or organization. Sometimes it's discussed with HR to arrange the events. Potluck is a group event but requires individual effort to make it a successful event. There are some organizers who are coordinating with participants. They start planning by sending emails. The potluck includes a series of steps to be followed.

Planning what to bring 
It is a tedious task for the organizers. Having a group chat, email chain, excel sheets, etc can help in planning. Every person should take part in this conversation to decide what dish you are bringing for the potluck. Responsibilities should be divided between people covering all courses including starters, main course, drinks, desserts, etc. People should take potluck as a group effort rather than only an individual. Following is the image for the dessert section.

Dessert Section

Preparing and packing dish
The next step after deciding your dish is to plan and prepare it. It includes buying ingredients on the basis of the number of people. The suggested amount of quantity in any potluck is five to six people minimum. In the case of dessert, everyone should get a chance to taste your dish. For how many people you are preparing, should be kept in mind. Preparing your dish by trying something new is challenging and promoting. Garnishing your dish to make it appealing comes under this step. The food item should be packed in an acceptable container. Food item should be kept properly at room temperature.

Storing at workplace
There should be some storage space or room to store the food items during potlucks. It would be helpful to keep everything together. It might lead to distraction in the absence of the storage area. Mostly beverages should be kept properly in the refrigerator to cool.

Non-vegetarian section arranged

Setting the place 
Before starting this food event, we need to set the place right. Reheating all the dishes, garnishing well, keeping vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes separate, desserts at one place, beverages on the other, etc. Use of a microwave is mandatory for proper taste.

Starting the event
This is where the fun begins. Sharing food and cultures, exchanging recipes, appreciating each other for their preparation and efforts, sharing food and ideas, etc.

Cleaning up
It's the responsibility of every person to clean up the area after the event. Generally, the organizers of the event appoint people to clean up the area. Restoring the area back to normal is a significant step.
Cleaning after the event

Following the etiquettes

Potluck etiquettes for guests are very crucial to make it a successful event. If you agreed to bring one main course wish, don't bring the dessert or starter instead. The balance is set up by the organizers accordingly. You must be on time if you are bringing the utensils, paper covers, etc. Everyone should bring something for the potluck. An equal contribution should be given by every individual. We shouldn't waste food in the name of the potluck. The leftover policy should be discussed prior to the event. Group etiquettes like dividing the expense with the participants should be followed in potluck.

A potluck is a group event. To share food and cultures is the main idea behind it. Its success depends on the group taking part in it. It's a group effort rather than an individual one.
Line by Helen Keller
"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much."


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