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Potluck envy


Mudpuppie
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Okay, so you know how you dread potlucks, right? I mean, the masses' idea of food that will impress a crowd isn't exactly the same as your idea. So you think of something pretty impressive. Likely it's something that most people in the office have never had before, but you know they're going to love it when they try it. And when the do try it, that Chinese chicken salad and broccoli slaw and (if you're in Texas) Frito Salad is just going to be as appealing as, well, lunch lady food.

But it's on the table. It's next to the cold cuts. (Some slacker brought cold cuts. Sheesh.) And your coworkers are -- :unsure: -- they're bypassing it! You don't want to tip your hand. You don't want to nudge the person next to you and say, "Hey, I made that! It's really good! Why didn't you take any?"

So you sit back and watch. The dopes, they don't know a good thing when they see it. They prefer the deviled eggs. They prefer the deviled eggs. They prefer the chicken casserole with water chestnuts and canned peas. :huh:

Has this happened to you? Potluck envy is a personal achilles heel of mine. I don't participate anymore. Maybe I take it too personally, but....

The final straw was the Penne Puttanesca. It was really, really good. But I took the full Tupperware container home at the end of the day.

Does anyone have any potluck stories? The things they wouldn't eat? The things they ate instead? Strategies for being the hit of the party?

Do share.

amanda

Googlista

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Man, I thought I was the only one. I've already vowed never to cook for any ungrateful co-workers ever again. Watching people pass over my poached shrimp salad with white wine and dill on toast points for Vienna sausage-filled Pillsbury crescent rolls nearly broke my heart, and wallet. I had to toss 3 lbs. of perfect shrimp. At least they liked my "Creme Brulee Day" idea. Jackasses.

R. Jason Coulston

R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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Heck, I don't even try. People won't eat your gourmet stuff at potlucks. The last thing I brought to a large potluck was...

Pigs in a blanket, made with canned biscuit dough and "Li'l Smokies". With honey-mustard for dipping. Massive success.

Argh!

Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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Oh. boy. Yes. I still haven't recovered from the bad-food-at-Christmas office potluck. The people who brought potato chips and ranch dressing were more pleased with people's reactions to their food than I was.

Chicken liver cognac pate. Why cast pearls before swine? While I was standing in the buffet line, I heard people making "Ick" sounds, and "What's THAT?" noises. (Like the morons couldn't figure out that I would be in the line, too. No worry about hurting my feelings when I actually brought something good.)

Somebody asked, "What's that?" and someone else, reading the little sign in front of the food, answered, "Chicken COG-NACK pate." Some guy corrected her pronunciation of 'cognac,' and then she said, "Well, what's that?"

"I think it's some kind of alcohol," the guy answered.

But those pigs-n-blankets sure went fast.

To be fair, half the pate was eaten, so I got to take half home. More for me and my REAL friends. :wub:

Next time, I'm not spending more than $5 on something for an office party. At least not in Arkansas. :laugh:

Edited to add: I would have loved the penne puttanesca and the shrimp salad on toast points. I bet you would have loved my chicken liver pate. Maybe we could figure out how to work in the same office.

Edited by Laughing Goddess (log)
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An office potluck is probably the least likely place to meet with success if you bring dishes that are out of the mainstream.

I'm not sure I'd condemn co-workers for lacking imagination or taste, though. In a situation like this, the safe bet would be to go with whatever seems most familiar and least challenging, whatever that is.

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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I participate in my office's annual Thanksgiving lunch potluck -- with success. I am begged to bring the same two dishes each year. Spicy whipped sweet potatoes and old fashioned chocolate pudding with whipped cream.

I am amazed each year that some new employee (usually a quite young one) can't believe that it is possible to make pudding except from a package. And there is always a conversation that goes like this:

What'cha doing with that wire thing and milk?

Making whipped cream.

You can't MAKE whipped cream! It comes from a spray can.

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I still haven't recovered...

Nor I.

As the need to bake something tasty and time-consuming was becoming overwhelming, I told my co-workers (the ones that I breakfasted with at the beginning of the work day) that the next day I was bringing in a tray of homemade danish and other pastries, and not to buy the crappy dried-out/burnt cafeteria muffins or stale doughnuts that they serve in the cafeteria.

There were cheese and raspberry danish, cinnamon buns, little chocolate and peanut loaves. I forget what else. I got up at 4 to have them baked in time.

I brought them directly to the cafeteria, and when I got them there, everybody had already bought their crappy muffins and was eating them. Homemade stuff couldn't possibly be worth waiting two minutes for, when you'd have to pass up the culinary delights of the cafeteria, could it? They were all, like, didn't bother, doesn't matter.

Learned my lesson. Philistines.

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The final straw was the Penne Puttanesca. It was really, really good. But I took the full Tupperware container home at the end of the day.

I'm not surprised they didn't touch it. It could be the greatest Penne Puttanesca in the world and most people would pass it by in a buffet line. Visually it's not appealing, stubby chunks of cold pasta with a lumpy covering of unidentified red sauce. Even in the bizarre world of the potluck you're going to struggle with that.

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Heck, I don't even try. People won't eat your gourmet stuff at potlucks. The last thing I brought to a large potluck was...

Pigs in a blanket, made with canned biscuit dough and "Li'l Smokies". With honey-mustard for dipping. Massive success.

Argh!

Hey man. I love those things. :laugh:

Who needs fois gras and huge shrimp when you've got cocktail weenies and BBQ sauce?

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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So does this mean the Moussaka-for-the-Masses Gary and I made for the Bobolink Farm potluck wouldn't have gone over with "regular" folks? :laugh:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Edited to add: I would have loved the penne puttanesca and the shrimp salad on toast points. I bet you would have loved my chicken liver pate. Maybe we could figure out how to work in the same office.

No, we just have to have an eGullet pot luck convention :biggrin:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I brought corn and winter squash with bacon (Alex's recipe in eGRA) last Thursday and the reception was mixed. Those who tried my dish went back for seconds and asked for the recipe. Those who couldn't say squash without wrinkling up their faces missed out. This dish is very attractive and works well in potlucks. The one dish that disappeared quickly was a hash brown casserole (frozen hash browns, grated cheese from a plastic bag, sour cream and probably some kind of canned soup). A little potluck envy, but I don't mind too much anymore.

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So does this mean the Moussaka-for-the-Masses Gary and I made for the Bobolink Farm potluck wouldn't have gone over with "regular" folks? :laugh:

I'll bet not, because it contained . . . :shock: . . . :blink: . . . :wacko: . . . LAMB! Ewe, that's yucky stuff.

(Thanks for asking though, gives me another chance to say: it was soooooooo good! :wub: )

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Interesting topic because I cannot eat at a potluck. I always wonder how long something has been sitting out, if the ingredients used were spoiled in any way, is that person's kitchen clean, etc.

I know I need psychological help but I had food poisoning a couple times and I cannot go through that again.

But if I were to eat at a potluck I would eat from the cheese tray. :wacko:

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I guess this problem doesn't happen much in a small office. I cook for us at least once a month, and it's always appreciated. On someone's birthday, they get to request a dish and we all eat in the boardroom together. However, we all know each other's tastes and eating habits. I guess in a large office, that opportunity is not there.

Cooking here is gratifying. Everyone is appreciative. One person started working here right after college. I kid you not -- she would bring spaghettios in the can and even spam. :laugh: Her taste buds have developed nicely. Now, her favorite dish is osso buco :cool: and while she STILL occasionally eats spaghettios :wacko: she now has them with parmigiano - reggiano :laugh::laugh:

For potlucks and holidays, I just make sure I'm in charge of the menu. :wink: Sides and desserts are delegated, but we decide as a group effort what they will be in advance. That doesn't mean it's all good, I've eaten more than a few of frozen meatballs cooked in BBQ sauce & cr of mushroom soup warmed in a crockpot. It's okay -- they tried and it's edible, kindof :laugh::laugh:

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The one dish that disappeared quickly was a hash brown casserole (frozen hash browns, grated cheese from a plastic bag, sour cream and probably some kind of canned soup).

HEY! That's what I always bring to our Christmas breakfast. Because they wouldn't let me in without it. :wacko: And it's cream of chicken soup for the record. Aside from that, I usually make something on the edge of the middle of the road, or I bake. Probably the least appreciated was cranberry sauce and brie in little puff pastry cups.

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here's something even sadder than office potluck turndowns...

i work in restaurants (in the kitchen)...we eat family meal twice a day together (as our shifts can run to 12 hours easily). once in a while, the pastry department (my department) will make a treat or i'll even cook the entire meal. the greatest thing is when the servers come in for their meal and they say things like "eeeww, what's that?! i don't think i like that", etc. etc. etc.

we're talking servers who work in fine dining 2 and 3 star restaurants in new york city for crying out loud!@32094587234-0978

makes me wonder what they're telling the customers when they're "selling" food.

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