Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

vonfirmath

When did people stop knowing how to bring food for a potluck

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, HeighHo said:

We learned to cook extra and leave a serving each at home, then have a dinner salad before we left...then if potluck was no luck, we could last until we returned.

 

1 hour ago, teachermom2834 said:

Yep. I actually have chosen to just do it as an act of giving and take a bunch of food while not expecting to eat. So I do it when I am feeling charitable and skip it if I’m not. 

 

1 hour ago, mumto2 said:

That’s pretty much my method too. 


Similar to you ladies -- but, with age has come food/dietary issues for me, so I just eat before I go, bring a main dish to donate for everyone else, and stand around and chat rather than eat. It works. 😉 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, itsheresomewhere said:

We are part of something that does one every year, same weekend.  They supply the main dish and drinks.  The amount of people who bring a dish for 2-3 people is amazing.  This dinner is normally about 100 people.  Every year, we are told to bring double than you usually make or buy two of something and still 70% don’t.  The best this year was a person who brought a ham and cheese sandwich ( like what you would pack for your lunch).

They may just be going by the math. I mean, if one hundred people each bring enough for two people, there should be enough food for two hundred people - more than enough. The problem is they are not considering that not all of that is the same category - so only half of that was main dishes or whatever. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, regentrude said:

I guess my experience with singles is drastically different. Many of my single friends here are amazing cooks  and possess kitchen implements, and single people can be homeowners, too. (Not that that is necessary; having grown up in a country where most people live in apartments, I don't see oven size as a hindrance to feeding people. We managed just fine.)

 

Its not the size of the oven, but the size of the kitchen and number of people using it an any one time and oven temp.... old homes here don't have upgraded electrical, the outlets are minimal and inconvenient to the cord length of the crockpot (yes, I've done some apt hunting recently)  and the counter space is miniscule. 

yes, I would say it is a bit different as you are in a college town, and I"m in an area with a definite shortage of affordable housing for singles so lots of roommate situations, even hot bunking going on.  most single unmarried young folks here work nongovernmental jobs, and won't be staying in the area long. 

Edited by HeighHo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our church now do hot chickens and chips and people bring sides.  So few people have time it seems.

another thing I’ve seen done recently is pages with a list of stuff to bring and tear off slips with items and quantities 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am always self-conscious cooking for others. For potlucks, I usually bring nice cheese and crackers and a large fruit salad. I usually spend quite a lot of money (8+ quarts of fruit add up) and time (I am slow at cutting. LOL) It isn't a desire to shortchange anyone. I could make a main dish more cheaply and quickly. Cheese and fruit are popular with kids, too, who may be nervous to eat food they aren't familiar with.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, this thread is making me feel a lot better about our church potlucks. Before we moved here 11 years ago, church potlucks always meant heaps of amazing food. People would spend time making their best recipes and really seemed to enjoy the cooking and the compliments and recipe sharing. Here there is never enough, and there have been some odd offerings like a pan of cold, dry baked oatmeal...or a sandwich-sized baggie of sliced apples that a family brought.

Now I see that it's more of a cultural shift. Good to know.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Meriwether said:

I am always self-conscious cooking for others. For potlucks, I usually bring nice cheese and crackers and a large fruit salad. I usually spend quite a lot of money (8+ quarts of fruit add up) and time (I am slow at cutting. LOL) It isn't a desire to shortchange anyone. I could make a main dish more cheaply and quickly. Cheese and fruit are popular with kids, too, who may be nervous to eat food they aren't familiar with.

I understand that, I feel really self-conscious at potluck at our church. We switched to a little parish closer to us, for the first couple of years we just skipped due to dietary issues but now we come and I still feel crazy uncomfortable. We are by far the youngest family and people have been going there for 25-50+ yrs, all older with things they already make and their own ideas of how food is done. So, I stick to basic stuff. Usually I do a side dish and another thing. And I don't usually cook much because I'm paranoid they won't like it anyway. Last time I brought rolls (packaged), corn(homemade not that corn is all that hard!), and chocolate covered donuts for desert (found those on sale so hey, why not) I stick to rolls and corn or baked beans as no one else makes them and they go with the fried chicken the church supplies.  

At our last hs potluck I made 2 platters of sandwiches and 2 dozen mini cheesecakes, along with paper supplies. I used to always do meatballs but they are time intensive and more expensive, although they go like hotcakes and I never take any home. I've been experimenting with various dishes to find something easier, in the end I'm sure the sandwiches saved time or money but they worked well outside. My girls usually make the dessert.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

I'm too much of a control freak to ever host a potluck.  😂

See, and I’m the opposite, so it doesn’t bother me if there’s not enough main dishes. It is what it is!

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, happi duck said:

don't like being assigned a category or specific item.  To me that's when it gets stressful.

I agree.  For one thing, it might not be in my wheelhouse.  I tell people what we need and they can choose.  One gal *always* signed up to bring the large green salad, but she moved away, so now that is back in the pool...and I've noticed that the last couple of times, another gal on the team has signed up for that.  She must like making salads!  

The other thing is that we say "Main dish", not "Lasagne".  General categories, not specific foods.  Sometimes we will have a theme--like if we fall near the Fourth of July, we'll do a Picnic Theme--but not assign people "baked beans"--it's just a general idea--"Picnic" "Side Dish"--you choose.  

My mom brought Potato Salad to almost every potluck we ever attended when I was a kid.  It was (apparently) really really good and everyone loved it.  But I don't know...I can't eat it.  Everyone sort of knew that was her "territory."

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Patty Joanna said:

My mom brought Potato Salad to almost every potluck we ever attended when I was a kid.  It was (apparently) really really good and everyone loved it.  But I don't know...I can't eat it.  Everyone sort of knew that was her "territory."

I got handed a sign up list this week that had *4* slots for potato salad and *4* slots for pasta salad and ZERO slots for anything I would actually eat, let alone make! They wanted 4 casseroles and 4 desserts. It was so imbalanced/skewed. I don't know if this group just eats an INSANE AMOUNT of pasta and potatoes??? I mean, what about the people under whatever age who don't touch the stuff??? Gross, gross. I was just flabbergasted. I'm new to the church, so I couldn't figure out what to make of it. Nobody was signing up for those things, so I took it as a generation gap. 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, vonfirmath said:

We typically have a potluck for our first ceremony of the year.

I'm about to say FORGET it. In the future we'll have a desserts bar.  I sent out a potluck sign up with an explicit request in the instructions to sign up for enough food to feed your family and guests. The first sign up? All the cups, plates, silverware.

Almost everyone is signing up for one item -- a dozen rolls. a dessert, etc. A couple gallons of drink.

The main dish and sides -- the things that actually fill people up? Going empty.

Well, see, to me, if you have sign-ups, it isn't a potluck. If it's a pot*luck*, you provide plates and eating utensils and napkins and whatnot, and the guests provide everything else. If you end of with all chocolate desserts, awesome; and some people might think to themselves that maybe they should bring something else next time.

Edited by Ellie
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

I got handed a sign up list this week that had *4* slots for potato salad and *4* slots for pasta salad and ZERO slots for anything I would actually eat, let alone make! 


This store bought potato salad is popular among the pre-K to 12th grade kids. Someone would donate at least two of the 5lb ones for my kids German school year end party.

https://www.costcobusinessdelivery.com/Resers-Potato-Salad%2C-5-lbs.product.11986003.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ktgrok said:

They may just be going by the math. I mean, if one hundred people each bring enough for two people, there should be enough food for two hundred people - more than enough. The problem is they are not considering that not all of that is the same category - so only half of that was main dishes or whatever. 

You would think that in a way but factor in a least a third are kids of those hundred. People seriously bring dishes to share in cereal bowls.  Even if all were adults,  cereal bowl size doesn’t cut it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's always the family with four children that brings one bag of chips, and the family that brought one box of generic mac and cheese. And then tried to take leftovers... Scouts now does a sign-up and we're specific--NOT one bag of chips. I have a family member that would bring ONE can of olives to Christmas dinner and then try to make off with a week of leftovers. Nope! I did all the buying and cooking. *I* get the leftovers! Some people are lazy and cheap. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Margaret in CO said:

There's always the family with four children that brings one bag of chips, and the family that brought one box of generic mac and cheese. And then tried to take leftovers... Scouts now does a sign-up and we're specific--NOT one bag of chips. I have a family member that would bring ONE can of olives to Christmas dinner and then try to make off with a week of leftovers. Nope! I did all the buying and cooking. *I* get the leftovers! Some people are lazy and cheap. 

We have one lady who brings a week’s worth of Tupperware to it.  She is elderly and we are certain she doesn’t cook much. . A few of us bring a filled Tupperware or two to hand her before the dinner so she doesn’t worry for food for a bit. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

I got handed a sign up list this week that had *4* slots for potato salad and *4* slots for pasta salad and ZERO slots for anything I would actually eat, let alone make! They wanted 4 casseroles and 4 desserts. It was so imbalanced/skewed. I don't know if this group just eats an INSANE AMOUNT of pasta and potatoes??? I mean, what about the people under whatever age who don't touch the stuff??? Gross, gross. I was just flabbergasted. I'm new to the church, so I couldn't figure out what to make of it. Nobody was signing up for those things, so I took it as a generation gap. 

I wonder - is the church providing a main meal so just looking for certain things?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My best potluck story is when we had a potluck employee christmas party and the boss provided booze and plates/cups/etc as well as a main dish and everyone was supposed to bring sides or a dessert. One employee showed up with two cans of Chef Boyardee ravioli - yes still in the cans. 

  • Haha 6
  • Confused 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find the most difficult part of preparing for a potluck not the actual cooking but the transportation.  Living in a big city, the travel time can be long and it is difficult to keep a dish at the correct temperature.  Or, I am going to the potluck from another event and cannot keep the dish at the proper temperature.

We have had somewhat the opposite problem at a Christmas event the last few years.  The organization provides BBQ meat and asks for people to sign up for vegetables, desserts, salads, bread--people sign up for lasagna, ham, sausage,  and chili as a vegetable.  We end up with lots of main dishes, appetizers and desserts--no fruits or veggies.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

for anything I would actually eat, let alone make!

That seems a little excessive--and generational, at that.  I don't think we have ever had a single case of someone bringing potato salad, even when the category was "side dish" and they could have done so.

The thing that is funny to me (and I am talking "yes I am laughing not being bitter") is that because of my excessive number of allergies, very often I can't eat a single thing on the table--even the items brought when it is my own team's week!--except the rice and the green salad/veggies.  And that will often include the main dish I myself brought! 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Responding in general to a number of posts, not pointing at any single one.  

All five teams have people who make a boatload of money, who can provide more than their "fair share"--and they do.  We have people who barely make ends meet and they bring very simple foods -- like a Jello bowl -- or nothing at all.  They help a lot by set-up and clean-up jobs.  We all do what we can.  Every team also has at least one "freeloader" and we just deal with it.

We also have families who live on or past the edge.  Each week, a designated parishioner gathers the leftovers and distributes them to those in need.  I don't even know the identities of the recipients.

My mom and dad came to our Sunday meal with me one Sunday, and they couldn't believe how full the tables were, and of good food, too.  Mom asked how much the church had to pay every week for that meal.  I told her it was all volunteer (no one is required to be on a team, and about 25% of the parish is not).  Well then, how do the people get reimbursed?   It took me awhile to figure out what she was talking about.  We don't get reimbursed.  We provide a meal so that everyone has a reason to stick around and be together.  We take turns.  It evens out.  She was literally dumbstruck.  She couldn't imagine something like this in her home church.  

I mention the latter because Mom's experience may be more the norm than my own, so take my planning lists with a grain of salt.  This is just something we do.  Oh, and we gripe about it from time to time, too.  :0)

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

I find the most difficult part of preparing for a potluck not the actual cooking but the transportation.  Living in a big city, the travel time can be long and it is difficult to keep a dish at the correct temperature.  Or, I am going to the potluck from another event and cannot keep the dish at the proper temperature.

 

Yes to this. Taking a main hot dish is just more complicated in real life than it seems like it should be. I get why people end up with chips and salsa or dessert. Timing, temperature, and transportation are tough. Maybe potlucks are another casualty of people being so spread out as well as busy.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think part of the problem shows in this thread..."potluck" is used to mean different things.  

Different definitions and different "rules".  I can imagine someone not even noticing that they brought something inappropriate.  I am always shocked at what people don't notice.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lol While reading this thread, I'm thinking about a couple who came to a lot of potlucks I helped host. They were probably in their 50-60's at the time. Every single time, they would show up 30 minutes prior to the start time (you know, while you're finishing up decorations, arranging the stage, chairs, whatever, and the last thing you need is to have to entertain people who want to chit chat.) She would bring the smallest side dish possible, like just barely more than the two of them would eat. He was always first in line to eat, and ate huge heaping platefuls. 🤣 I still think of them 30 minutes prior to start time at every single gathering I host or help with.

I agree, it's changed. The whole culture around food seems to have changed to me. Few people cook anymore or have any interest or knowledge of how to feed or serve a crowd. The younger crowd (I'm early-mid 40's) is more likely to just want to visit and snack. That's not bad at all, but it does take some getting used to. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, regentrude said:

 

ETA: Why, please, is the wife asked to bring the salad? Why not the husband? Why are married people expected to cook, but not single persons? how does being married enhance your cooking skills?

 

 

Here I am thinking people without children should have way more time to cook! I know it's not always true but certainly more so than the reverse!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Potlucks seem to be dying a slow, sad death.  I grew up with massive church suppers and family pot lucks that were like a huge dinner buffet.  Most people brought real food (main dish or sides) and there were several desserts to choose from.  About 10-15 years ago, people just stopped trying.  I'm not sure the Pot Luck can recover.  There are always too many desserts and not enough food.  Most items are purchased en route to the pot luck.  There is usually an entire section of the table for all of the bags of chips and salsa that people brought in . . . it's getting that way with hummus too.  Somehow there are more desserts on the table than real food. 

I can see where people might have become frustrated or overwhelmed.  "Back in the day" there were no requirements to label every dish and supply an ingredient card.  There was no allergy section or an entire group of people who had to go through the line first because of food allergies.  There was no dairy free section or keto section or gluten free section.  It's just gotten more complicated than ever and feeding other people feels like a greater risk than ever before.  It's to the point where I'd be surprised if nuts were allowed.  They've become an 'only at home" food group. Of course, you do what you need to to protect the health others, but sharing food has gotten so complicated that I'm not sure it's worth the effort to dine in a group anymore.

Edited by KungFuPanda
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, Jentrovert said:

 The whole culture around food seems to have changed to me. Few people cook anymore or have any interest or knowledge of how to feed or serve a crowd. The younger crowd (I'm early-mid 40's) is more likely to just want to visit and snack. That's not bad at all, but it does take some getting used to. 

Interesting observation. Could that be location dependent?

I live in a town with no decent restaurants (except fast food), and pretty much all my friends (working, in their 30s to 60s) cook. The singles are among the best cooks. Because that's the only way to eat well. And the only way to eat at all if you happen to be a vegetarian.  Even book club now has been elevated to an amazing book themed dinner. There's hardly anywhere to go out, so almost all socializing happens at people's houses.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, regentrude said:

Interesting observation. Could that be location dependent?

I live in a town with no decent restaurants (except fast food), and pretty much all my friends (working, in their 30s to 60s) cook. The singles are among the best cooks. Because that's the only way to eat well. And the only way to eat at all if you happen to be a vegetarian.  Even book club now has been elevated to an amazing book themed dinner. There's hardly anywhere to go out, so almost all socializing happens at people's houses.

There are a gazillion restaurants where I live and it goes beyond fast food.  You can pick your price range, pick your nationality, and still have several choices within five miles of your home.  I grew up eating out very rarely because we were pretty rural and a trip to any restaurant involved at least a half hour of driving.  Here you have dozens of choices within five minutes and everything can be delivered now.  I had to talk myself into cooking tonight because the urge to get Chipotle was strong, but I'm trying very hard not to do any unplanned dining out.  Also, I'd already marinated the pork and tofu for fried rice, but I was craving cheese in a bad way this evening.  I can see why some people never bother learning to cook. Even our grocery stores have food buffets and heat and eat dinners.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

There are a gazillion restaurants where I live and it goes beyond fast food.  You can pick your price range, pick your nationality, and still have several choices within five miles of your home.  

Jealous. There is a Greek place we sometimes go to; it's a 30 mile drive. The next place with many options is 100 miles. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, itsheresomewhere said:

We have one lady who brings a week’s worth of Tupperware to it.  She is elderly and we are certain she doesn’t cook much. . A few of us bring a filled Tupperware or two to hand her before the dinner so she doesn’t worry for food for a bit. 

That's different. That's looking out for the elderly. I was referring to families who were completely able to feed their families. They just were just being cheap. And lazy. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Margaret in CO said:

That's different. That's looking out for the elderly. I was referring to families who were completely able to feed their families. They just were just being cheap. And lazy. 

I know. We have one who has more than enough yet is well known for being cheap and greedy.  Attends all pot lucks and get togethers yet never brings anything but containers to fill.  

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, regentrude said:

Interesting observation. Could that be location dependent?

I live in a town with no decent restaurants (except fast food), and pretty much all my friends (working, in their 30s to 60s) cook. The singles are among the best cooks. Because that's the only way to eat well. And the only way to eat at all if you happen to be a vegetarian.  Even book club now has been elevated to an amazing book themed dinner. There's hardly anywhere to go out, so almost all socializing happens at people's houses.

 

I wonder though if there isn't a demographic element there.  I don't think the reason so many people don't cook now - and this is attested to in all kinds of studies of eating patterns - is because people are eating out all the time.  Someof it is that, but not all or most.

What's more common is what happens in some of my kid's friends homes - they typically are eating foods that are largely pre-made, frozen, and also often in individualised servings.  My teen daughter's friends don't eat together as a family often at all, it is a special occasion thing.  They come in and make some soup from a can or a pizza pocket or whatever, or even if they all eat together it is frozen burgers or pizza, or something from the deli section at the grocery store.

But I have noticed, these are mostly working class families, though I see some more middle class families eating similarly.  But people I know in academia, for example, or medical circles, are much more likely to cook fairly regularly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, regentrude said:

And that expectation kills the joy. If people know they are being judged for not making food from scratch, that is unnecessary pressure on people, mostly the women, who may work full time and have kids and whatever other obligations, and who may find it difficult to even find the time to attend. They may be perfectly capable of cooking or baking, but may find their time is too costly to spend it on baking from scratch for a bunch of judgy strangers.

 

I don't like bringing food made from scratch to these events because of the judging.  I also know way too many ultra-picky people who won't eat food prepared by other people.  They'll eat store bought things but if it's made from scratch at home? Nope. They refuse to touch it. 

  • Like 2
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven’t noticed a problem at our potlucks at our weekly community group I sometimes want to tell people to bring less.  People bring 2 or 3 dishes and their is always plenty of each category.  Our monthly church potluck always has people who forgot it was that weekend but their is always plenty of food and it’s not the serial “forgetting “ by families who could contribute.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, regentrude said:

Interesting observation. Could that be location dependent?

I live in a town with no decent restaurants (except fast food), and pretty much all my friends (working, in their 30s to 60s) cook. The singles are among the best cooks. Because that's the only way to eat well. And the only way to eat at all if you happen to be a vegetarian.  Even book club now has been elevated to an amazing book themed dinner. There's hardly anywhere to go out, so almost all socializing happens at people's houses.

I can probably count on one hand the families I personally know who regularly eat well. I can't think of any offhand who are younger than 50's and eat well. 

I know that sounds unbelievable, but it's just as Bluegoat said above: most who are eating at home are eating pre-packaged and/or frozen type foods. People are so busy with kid's activities (everything revolves around school and activities) I don't think they have time for anything else.  I'm in lobbies for kid's activities 2-3 times a week and it often sounds like we are the only ones not driving through for supper (we sometimes do too). Occasionally someone will say that grandma has prepared supper. There's such a drive for everything, it makes it difficult. I started using a warmer plate in the car this year to bring a hot supper with us on activity evenings and wish I had done that sooner. Still requires prep and planning, though.

I know a few people who are good cooks as in southern-style, heavy foods and then a few other people who do one or two more healthy meals occasionally but mostly pre-packaged.

Mostly, people my age and older know HOW to cook, they just don't do it much. But there are an astonishing (to me) number of younger women I know (say, 35 and under) who only know how to prepare one or two very specific meals. They otherwise use frozen and pre-packaged.

Even though our town only has 3-4 restaurants and two fast food franchises, people eat out a lot. They will drive 30 min to an hour to eat out regularly, or get takeout from the grocery store, pizza, etc.

I find it a real struggle to serve enough vegetables myself. There just isn't a big variety available, and it often looks terrible in the store. I really dislike most frozen veggies, and get tired of the same veggies over and over. It takes an hour drive to find more appealing produce.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I make sign-up lists for a "potluck" I sometimes start with only main dish options. When those are full, I add the other things. Heavy on veggies, fruit etc. and super light on dessert.

Our BSA troop asks EVERY family to bring a main dish to serve 10-13 AND a side dish. With a room full of big boys, plus families, that is just what is necessary to feed everyone.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The recent potlucks I have been to have been great. I am sure there are always going to be people who eat more than they bring. As long as that's always a small percentage of people attending, it works out.

My siblings get together monthly for a potluck dinner and we pretty much rock it. Whoever hosts plans the main dish and the rest bring coordinating sides organized via lengthy group texts. We all like to make and eat good food, so our family dinners are always my favorite. 😊

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, teachermom2834 said:

Potlucks at my church are usually a mess. First problem is there just is not enough food. That is compounded by the first people in line taking heaping scoops of everything on the table even with hundreds of people behind them.

My old church used to have potlucks before Wednesday night classes. Even as a SAHM this just didn’t work at all. I remember telling one organizer that it isn’t that easy. It’s not like just bringing whatever I would be cooking for my family. My family didn’t get full hot meals on Wednesday nights. It was more of a grab a sandwich type of night.

I do think most people do not cook big full meals for their families every night. Most people I know do a combination of take out/fast food/pick up from deli counter at grocery store/sandwiches/freezer meals/etc. For those people cooking a main dish that is potluck worthy takes a lot of effort. Physical and mental. We can all be judgmental about that but I am in the camp of charging and providing some sort of main dish (even pizza) and asking for people to bring chips and dessert kind of stuff.

 

When we used to attend a church with a Wednesday night service, they had families sign up to take turns providing the entire meal. I liked that because I only had to think about it once or twice per year (no services during the summer). That was far preferable to taking something for a potluck every week. And many of us were already used to occasionally providing an entire dinner for a large group due to the program for homeless families our church was involved with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Jentrovert said:

Lol While reading this thread, I'm thinking about a couple who came to a lot of potlucks I helped host. They were probably in their 50-60's at the time. Every single time, they would show up 30 minutes prior to the start time (you know, while you're finishing up decorations, arranging the stage, chairs, whatever, and the last thing you need is to have to entertain people who want to chit chat.) She would bring the smallest side dish possible, like just barely more than the two of them would eat. He was always first in line to eat, and ate huge heaping platefuls. 🤣 I still think of them 30 minutes prior to start time at every single gathering I host or help with.

I agree, it's changed. The whole culture around food seems to have changed to me. Few people cook anymore or have any interest or knowledge of how to feed or serve a crowd. The younger crowd (I'm early-mid 40's) is more likely to just want to visit and snack. That's not bad at all, but it does take some getting used to. 

I’m not sure about few people cooking anymore. Most of the young adults I know are major foodies and cook healthy food from scratch very regularly. But most of them also don’t attend church, so they likely aren’t going to many potlucks or cooking for and serving large groups.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, regentrude said:

Interesting observation. Could that be location dependent?

I live in a town with no decent restaurants (except fast food), and pretty much all my friends (working, in their 30s to 60s) cook. The singles are among the best cooks. Because that's the only way to eat well. And the only way to eat at all if you happen to be a vegetarian.  Even book club now has been elevated to an amazing book themed dinner. There's hardly anywhere to go out, so almost all socializing happens at people's houses.

I think it must be. Even with lots of places to eat out where I live, most people I know regularly cook. And almost every young adult I know is a foodie and an excellent cook. And most are also into healthy eating, so not much baking going on. That’s the biggest difference I see compared to when I was growing up. Most people don’t do much baking because they limit sweets. And that’s easier to do that if they aren’t around and are just occasionally purchased as a single serving.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

3 of my girls cook all the time, when they aren't deployed/off playing symphonies. My middle just posted today her chicken fried elk steak and her duck eggs. And my 2nd one posted yesterday her beef stew from a roast we send home with her--she didn't get her elk. If she's not on a ship somewhere, she cooks all the time. My youngest doesn't cook as she lives in barracks, and my ds doesn't cook much for himself--I think he makes a pot of chili every week and eats on it all week long. My oldest insists on a place to cook when she's on the road, which is a lot. My nephew posted today about "friends-giving. What a wonderful idea--single friends getting together to share food. So, yeah, in general, I think younger people still cook. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to love potlucks. Now I struggle with almost any eating outside the home due to allergies. 

To the OP, perhaps it's worth actually asking the group members what they would like to do for this "event."  

Communal eating has traditionally been wonderful... until it isn't anymore. Then it may be time to move on to try something new and see how it goes.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing that helped with Scouts was to have the potluck events on the calendar by the time school started.  Folks could then plan economically rather than with the week or two in advance notice, which would shock the budget if they couldn't get the sale price on what they knew how to cook.  We have only pizza joints and fast food available in a family's price range locally, and one of the things the scouts figure out fast is that they can 'eat good' for much less than any of those places want.  My dc had joined his Troop because they knew how to cook, and were firm on how to do it economically.  We also see that many teens cook...they are hungry and the school lunch isn't enough for those playing sports, especially if they have lunch at 1030...practice is 3 to 5 pm, everyone else gets home before the parents and are responsible for either their own lunch or starting family dinner.   We are rural enough that stores don't offer hot meals or rotisserie chickens, although they do offer cut up fruit and vegetables.  If families want to go out to a restaurant where the food is not heated up from frozen or canned, its 20 miles....anything closer is pitched to a much higher income level. 

Most people would prefer to skip the work of a communal meal....but that doesn't knit the group together.  What we've done some lean years is have everyone contribute a dollar, and provide a simple main dish such as tacos, with dessert made from apples contributed by a local orchard.  2008-2011 was a tough time for families, but our scout sponsoring org members contributed venison and beef and our wealthier members who didn't lose their jobs or take pay cuts stepped up with sides and desserts.

Edited by HeighHo
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Frances said:

I’m not sure about few people cooking anymore. Most of the young adults I know are major foodies and cook healthy food from scratch very regularly. But most of them also don’t attend church, so they likely aren’t going to many potlucks or cooking for and serving large groups.

I explained more in a post above.  I don't know any foodies irl, and few people who cook good food from scratch regularly (I mean for their families, not just for potlucks).

I do know some people who are foodies in the sense that they enjoy trying new restaurants, but not preparing food themselves. It can be expensive and time consuming to source ingredients here (although Amazon can provide some). Much easier and cheaper to cook traditional southern type food from scratch, if one has time and inclination to cook.

There are not many young singles and couples here; mostly older and working families. It's probably just a different demographic than many other places, combined with lack of availability of ingredients and low income.

ETA: We also tend to be about a decade behind trends in other areas. So foodies may begin showing up here. 😅 Mostly people are just trying to survive though. 

Edited by Jentrovert
Adding a thought

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, HeighHo said:

One thing that helped with Scouts was to have the potluck events on the calendar by the time school started.  Folks could then plan economically rather than with the week or two in advance notice, which would shock the budget if they couldn't get the sale price on what they knew how to cook.  We have only pizza joints and fast food available in a family's price range locally, and one of the things the scouts figure out fast is that they can 'eat good' for much less than any of those places want.  My dc had joined his Troop because they knew how to cook, and were firm on how to do it economically.  We also see that many teens cook...they are hungry and the school lunch isn't enough for those playing sports, especially if they have lunch at 1030...practice is 3 to 5 pm, everyone else gets home before the parents and are responsible for either their own lunch or starting family dinner.   We are rural enough that stores don't offer hot meals or rotisserie chickens, although they do offer cut up fruit and vegetables.  If families want to go out to a restaurant where the food is not heated up from frozen or canned, its 20 miles....anything closer is pitched to a much higher income level. 

Most people would prefer to skip the work of a communal meal....but that doesn't knit the group together.  What we've done some lean years is have everyone contribute a dollar, and provide a simple main dish such as tacos, with dessert made from apples contributed by a local orchard.  2008-2011 was a tough time for families, but our scout sponsoring org members contributed venison and beef and our wealthier members who didn't lose their jobs or take pay cuts stepped up with sides and desserts.

 

We pass out a calendar with registration documents and this event is on the calendar.  The new folk do have an excuse to not know it was a potluck but most of the group is returning.

 

It's too crazy to be coming up with new events over the year so we plan the year during the summer. Sometimes things have to be cancelled/dates moved due to circumstances outside our control. But we do our best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, vonfirmath said:

 

We pass out a calendar with registration documents and this event is on the calendar.  The new folk do have an excuse to not know it was a potluck but most of the group is returning.

 

It's too crazy to be coming up with new events over the year so we plan the year during the summer. Sometimes things have to be cancelled/dates moved due to circumstances outside our control. But we do our best.

 

With that circumstance, my experience is that new folks are not going over the calendar that finely.  Its a good idea for the leadership to communicate at that time and again at the monthly adult meeting what the potluck expectations are as there will be times when the families are hit with the need to contribute to groups in the same week and they have to short something if there are too many suprises.  It is a good idea to remind the group as a whole that no family will be turned away if they are in hard times, but they do need to talk to the leadership so the group can cover.

The returning group should be reminded what the expectations are, and the leadership needs to talk to any parent who has not contributed in the past.  Our experience is that the family may be experiencing hardship and needs to know where in the community they can get help.  My group has sponsored several scouts over the years as their parent was dying, and really, those who are in good circumstances expect to contribute to those who are in hardship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of our most successful potlucks as Scouts really isn't a potluck at all, but our "new recipe" cookout. We used to do it in the winter, but found it is MUCH easier in the summer. The leaders bring cookstoves, pots, utensils, etc from the Scout cache (the Quartermaster decides what's needed), and line them all up and go to work. Each Scout brings the ingredients for some new thing we haven't cooked on a cookout yet. It's designed to get us out of the breakfast burrito and oatmeal rut. The Scouts get REALLY creative! We already know what will be the main meal at the snow cave campout as J's stew was so popular, and we all enjoyed the breakfast C fashioned. We had one boy who had just gotten in from a trip to Denver with a sick relative, who felt bad that he didn't have anything to cook. "Hey, that's okay. I need a cook's helper! You can be the official chopper!" Many main dishes are built around game meat, as most of the families hunt in our small town. Everyone chips in, and all have a good time and good food. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Jentrovert said:

I explained more in a post above.  I don't know any foodies irl, and few people who cook good food from scratch regularly (I mean for their families, not just for potlucks).

I do know some people who are foodies in the sense that they enjoy trying new restaurants, but not preparing food themselves. It can be expensive and time consuming to source ingredients here (although Amazon can provide some). Much easier and cheaper to cook traditional southern type food from scratch, if one has time and inclination to cook.

There are not many young singles and couples here; mostly older and working families. It's probably just a different demographic than many other places, combined with lack of availability of ingredients and low income.

ETA: We also tend to be about a decade behind trends in other areas. So foodies may begin showing up here. 😅 Mostly people are just trying to survive though. 

I think I know more people who cook than don't.  My daughter in college cooks most of her own meals and does full-out meal prep, but her three roommates don't cook beyond heat-and-eat meals.  It's a high COL area and cooking is a way to save a lot of money and eat better at the same time.  I do think the more you cook from scratch, the easier it become to do regularly.  My theory of the decline of pot lucks is that sometimes even people who know how to cook don't know how to PLAN to cook.  They don't always decide what they're feeding their families until an hour or so before dinner.  You can throw something together for your own family in that time frame, but fixing food for a crowd is just different.  I think they don't think it through, make no plans, then panic and get hummus or chips and salsa on their way to the event.  I'm in a Pie Club so the offerings there are always amazing, but that's because the food is the whole purpose of the group.

The one friend I know who really doesn't know how to cook and isn't that into food, ALWAYS brings a bucket of chicken to potlucks.  (Her husband is the family chef.) At least that's a hearty protein and people seem to like it.  I have been known to grab drive-thru Little Caesars on the way to a teen event.  The kids love it while the moms steer more towards the salads. In the past when I've organized potlucks where you are assigned based upon the alphabet, I've gone through the list of names to make sure that not more than 1/4 of the people bring desserts.  I HATE when it looks like a dessert buffet and there's not enough savory.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...