I recently attended a wonderful potluck dinner with a heritage theme. Amazing foods from all over the world were overflowing from the tables. It was one of those moments when you wish you had extra hands... and mouths and stomachs!
Watching the other feasters attempt to sample the wares with a significantly limited space budget, I reflected on the fine art of getting most out of a pot-luck dinner. Here are my personal suggestions.
1. Portion Control. When there are lots of choices and you feel overwhelmed with the task of limiting your selections, think small. Take a small spoonful of this or a sliver of that. Don't be afraid to take only part of a pre-cut portion. You will have room for more variety and allow more of your fellow diners to have a taste. (There is always the possibility of seconds!)
2. Throw Neuroses to the Wind! I am amazed at the number of people who don't like their food to touch! If you want to enjoy a pot luck, GET OVER IT!! At least put it on the shelf for an hour or two.
2,b. Location, Location, Location! Don't just pile things on you plate without thinking! Put the pasta salads on one side and the Mexican on the other. Put the boring stuff like rice or veggies in the middle. A little flavor from their neighbors might give them an added kick.
3. Have a Sharing Partener. Maybe you go down opposite sides of the table. Maybe one gets salads while the other gets sides. Then sample from one another's plates. This is an especially good idea for parents of small children. They can put things on their kids plates when they run out of room! (Face it, they won't eat any of it anyway!)
4. Prioritize. When you have lots of tempting choices, like I did recently, get the things you really want to try instead of trying everything. You don't need to eat four kinds of green salad or three kinds of cheesecake. (OR skip the salads all together and try every kind of cheesecake!)
Potluck dinners can be fun and exciting as you try new flavors and get ideas for next week's dinner. You learn who to go to for recipes and cooking tips. You also learnt hat you don't like certain foods or flavors. And that's the whole point. It is an endless buffet of learning...literally!