Folks today don’t seem to have extensive experience with potlucking … or at least that’s what we told ourselves when new folks would show up at our potlucks with nothing but a spoon. How can you maintain the welcoming environment of a group dinner and still educate the newbies? Easy … Make it a contest.
First you need to invent a quasi-official organization which will establish the rules. Then all regular attendees can shrug and explain “It’s in The Rules” whenever someone wants an explanation of the whys and wherefores of the event.
Long before Foursquare was allowing people to become Mayor of their favorite coffee shop, we formed “The Little Texas Mayoral Commission” to list and ensure compliance of the Competition Potluck Rules. This has allowed our very competitive group of foodies to continue to create incredible dinners without a bunch of tag-alongs showing up for a free feed. In Georgia, each of the 8 weekends we meet is assigned a geographic region to theme that week’s Competitive Potluck. Actually, simply using a title like “Competition Potluck” weeds out most of the wimps.
The Little Texas Mayoral Commission Potluck Bylaws:
As Texas Potlucking is a competitive sport, and all competitive sports have rules, the Mayoral Commission of Little Texas puts forth this official list of rules, so that the uninformed may properly participate.
- Bring a food item equal in volume *AT LEAST * to the amount of food you expect to consume.
- Bring a plate, and eating utensil(s).
- Expect to take home your dirty platters / plates / etc. Your Momma ain’t cleanin’ up after the potluck.
- Bring yourself something to drink.
- Your contributed food item must be no less than the amount of food you eat.
- No politics (Exceptions are made for political organizations throwing potlucks.)
- No Smoking at or near the food serving area.
- No Pets, unless cooked.
- Proper Texas Potluck Etiquette maintains that the proper comment, whenever a participant sets something on the table, is “Oh! That looks delicious, thanks for bringing it.”
- At a minimum, provide an edible contribution which is as large as your own appetite.
- Decent, upstanding Potluckers ask for the recipes of their favorite dishes.
- While in a points-tallying competition, scheduling can affect one’s scoring, in a “friendly competition” such as we have here in Little Texas, promptness does not affect the outcome of the dinner. Be pleased that someone bothered to make a time-consuming dish, and share it with you.
- Rudeness will not be tolerated…go eat by yourself.