How to throw a potluck dinner

Last Thursday night I invited a group of friends over to break in my new apartment with a Greek-themed potluck dinner. It went so well that I’ve deemed myself potluck queen. Here are my tips:

1. Make Friends

Friends are easy to make. Usually you can find them by striking up conversation and finding a common ground. Offer a piece of gum or discover that your cousin’s best friend’s preschool teacher is one of your mutual friends on Facebook. That usually works.

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2. Learn how to boil water

Few things can be cooked without knowing how to boil water. Even if they can, if you can’t figure out how to boil water you probably shouldn’t be cooking in any other form anyway. You can hit up Trader Joe’s for some tortilla chips and salsa, but let’s be real: you’ll get the stink eye if, as the host, you serve anything you poured out of a can. So learn the basics, and apply. I was pretty lazy and just made a signature cocktail and some couscous, but my friends more than made up for my lack of cooking with all the Mediterranean classics: homemade hummus, pita bread, baba ganoush, olives, Greek Chicken, Greek roasted potatoes, feta tomato salad, Orzo salad, and baklava.

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3. Make sure you have enough silverware

There are 12 people coming over. That means you need 12 knives, 12 forks, 12 spoons. And serving spoons. There are people who are going to use 4 forks each. You must be prepared for those people. I almost learned this the hard way. Also give your dishwasher a pep talk beforehand because it’s going to be working pretty hard that night — potlucks require almost every dish in your cupboard.

4. Serve copious amounts of alcohol.

Booze makes people more fun. It’s a fact. Honor that fact.

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Santorini Sunrise, Sangria, Lemonade cocktail (I forgot what he called it), and Moscato Sangria

5. Play inappropriate party games. They turn acquaintances into best friends.

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I’m happy to take any follow-up questions via email.

Namaste!

Questions:

  • Potlucks: theme or free for all?
  • Favorite Greek food?
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30 comments

  1. Haha good tips! Hope it went well and you had a fun evening, the food sure looked good.
    Potluck dinners aren’t really a thing in the UK, don’t know about Aus yet but they seem like such a good idea!
    My favourite greek food would have to be feta… Crumbled in a salad with fresh tomatoes and olives! Yum!

  2. Love the idea of having a theme for a potluck! We used to have tons of parties at our old house, complete with board games, the fire pit and lots of jug wine. Our townhouse now is not quite as party-friendly since it’s a lot smaller, but I miss those nights. Looks like you had a blast!

  3. Hahaha this is hilarious! And very great tips too. Not having enough silverware is one of the biggest issues to throwing any kind of party. I also completely agree that booze is completely necessary 🙂 I never thought about having a theme for a potluck before. It sounds like it would make it just a little bit more difficult for people to make/bring food because it may be something they’ve never made before…however, that can also be part of the fun if you’ve invited the right kind of people who like to try new things!

  4. I had a BBQ at my apartment this summer and it was so much fun! My first time hosting which wasn’t as bad as I thought! I love the Greek theme…. add that to the to-do list in my new apartment 🙂

  5. I like free for all potlucks! I think the spontaneity is fun. I once attended a potluck that was potato themed. It was delicious, but potatoes are so dense, it was hard to eat too much of anything. I am also a fan of dessert potlucks 😉

  6. I’m partial to dip so anything Greek that is mayonnaise-based works for me. I’ll dip dip into dip. That’s how much I love it. I can boil water, sure. But I had to phone 9-1-1 once when I left a pot of bottles, nipples, and breast pump parts boiling on the stove all day while I took the kids to the park. Oopsie doodles!

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