Holiday Potluck


Thursday is our annual holiday potluck in our office. Now, I know that the holiday potluck is not just a Minnesota phenomenon, but since most of my working life has been spent here in the Twin Cities, I can’t help but to view this event through the lens of Minnesotan quirkiness.

Each year, as the holidays roll around, a date is circled for our annual potluck, and a signup sheet is posted by the copier. One by one employee’s will write their name under one of three columns, for salad, entrée, or dessert, noting what it is that they plan to bring. And yet each year when the day arrives and the buffet table is set, we seem to end up with 50 plates of cookies, 15 bags of crackers, 2 pounds of cheese, one stick of venison summer sausage, two crockpots full of meatballs with barbecue sauce, and a plate of vegetables that no one eats. Seriously, we should just buy a plate of plastic vegetables that we can set out every year to give the allusion of a balanced diet, and just call it a cookie exchange.

And each year, despite my best intentions, the morning of the potluck arrives and I find myself without a dish to share, or a clue. In the last 5 years I have just run to the local White Castle at 11 am, and brought back a 30 pack of sliders as my contribution.

I wish I were kidding.

Unfortunately, this year our White Castle is in the process of being deloused renovated, so I am without my usual safety net. I’m sure my fellow employees will be disappointed, because even though they laugh each year at the sight of my 30 pack of hamburgers I have noticed that within 10 minutes the box is empty.

White Castle is like the National Enquirer. No one admits to buying it, but when someone puts one in front of you, you just can’t help yourself.

I really dread these potlucks, and not just because I am lazy. I dread them because I have absolutely no self control and when faced with a buffet table full of cookies, brownies, cheese and crackers, I will gorge myself like a Roman Senator. Then I will sit in my office for the rest of the afternoon, holding my stomach, and moaning.

The best part about being a man is never having to learn from your mistakes. We are like dogs that way, returning again and again to eat our own vomit, and expecting a different result each time.

However, despite our own stupidity, it is clear to me that women are solely to blame for the concept of the potluck. Men just aren’t capable of organizing something like that. Nor would we have the desire to put in that kind of effort. (Case in point the 30 pack of sliders) No, surely it is the women that organize these things, then stay up until midnight the night before, mixing Ore Ida frozen potatoes, and cans of Campbells Cream of Something Soup into a hot dish casserole that could have been used by the pioneers to seal the walls of their log cabins.

So dear readers, by the time you read this I will most likely be 5 pounds heavier, and suffering gastrointestinal pain from consuming fifty eight chocolate chip cookies, and a cheese ball the size of a watermelon.

Please humor yourselves by sharing your favorite potluck dishes, while I go throw up in the restroom.

18 thoughts on “Holiday Potluck

  1. Every year for the past 4 years, I have brought Buffalo Chix Wing Dip. I remember this because 4 years ago I was pregnant, and chicken repulsed me, and my dear husband got up extra early and diced up that rotisserie chicken for me. that, my friends, is true love.

    this year, I decided to change things up a bit and bring that big rye bread bowl with the dried beef and sour cream dip. When people saw that there was no chicken wing dip on the pot luck menu, there was much angst.

    At 11am today, I will be dicing up chicken at my desk, pouring wing sauce over cream cheese and dumping the whole thing in the microwave. And it will be good.

    Merry Christmas,
    Bella

  2. Our neighborhood has had a potluck picnic for 62 years. We’ve pretty much got the bugs worked out.

    In our homely social circle when someone is invited for a meal, the correct response is, “What should I bring?”. If you want to get invited back you better ring
    the doorbell with your elbow.

    • Living in the “big city” we have no neighborhood functions like this. There’s only a few neighbors that we really know, after 15 years of living in our house. Sad, but very common in this day and age.

  3. In the rare event that I plan ahead, I make a mean artichoke dip. But since I am a champion procrastinator, I usually end up bringing the grocery store fruit platter instead.

  4. No potlucks for me this year! I don’t know how we’ve managed it, but my family doesn’t travel in potluck circles, and being unemployed (under-employed?) means no office smorgasborgs.

    Sorry for your weight gain.

  5. I bring rum cake every time. Everyone loves it and it’s really easy since it comes from a box. THEY don’t know that.

    Every year the sign up sheet goes on the fridge and someone always signs another coworker up to bring green jello. Apparently, some woman from Account (before I worked here so at least 5 years ago) used to come in early the day of the potluck, mix instant jello with some water in a giant bowl and throw it in the fridge. Plain green jello. Genius.

  6. You’ve obviously never had the good fortune to get one of the corner offices with the vomitorium built into the floor next to your desk. All the best high ranking Romans have them.
    YOu should look into this.

  7. You wrote …”However, despite our own stupidity, it is clear to me that women are solely to blame for the concept of the potluck. Men just aren’t capable of organizing something like that. Nor would we have the desire to put in that kind of effort.”

    1. True, men can’t organise like women can, and
    2. Potluck is a competition. Women know this. Bet you didn’t know that I am ultra competitive in only 2 areas: cooking and playing cards. I can’t bring store-bought to any pot luck. My intent is not just to have a plate licked clean, but to uttelyr dominate the table. When there are a lot of good cooks coming, I bring out the “BIG GUNS”:

    *Caramel fudge – easy to make in the microwave!! No messing about with sugar thermometers. Anthony has also successfully made this
    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Seven-Layer-Taco-Dip/Detail.aspx
    *7 layer taco dip http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Seven-Layer-Taco-Dip/Detail.aspx
    *Paella (it is easy to make, not hard at all)
    *Chicken salad sandwiches made with chicken breast (cubed), crumbled crisp bacon, tiny diced celery and slivered almonds held together with a tiny amount of mayo. Must be made on good white bread spread with a thin smear of real butter
    *Guacamole stuffed cherry tomatoes (I buy the guac), topped with a cilantro leaf
    *Mini egg & bacon quiches
    *Chocolate cake http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Spanish-Flan/Detail.aspx
    *Spanish flan – so easy! http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Spanish-Flan/Detail.aspx
    *Baklava – again, easy but get your stuff all prepared before you start http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Spanish-Flan/Detail.aspx
    *Clone of a Cinnabon
    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Clone-of-a-Cinnabon/Detail.aspx
    We have brand new, working ovens in our office, and I shaped, let rise and baked these at work, cementing the title of Best Cook in the section, branch and group.

    In reply to some of your other comments/commentors:
    @Bella – please, please pass on the Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip. It has Big GUn recipe written all over it

    @Gunnar – we have weekly street BBQs in summer on our neighbour’s front lawn. It’s not about what you eat, but getting the kids together to play outside, sit down and see what everyone else is up to. It helps that one of the neighbours is an extreme extrovert and knows everyone in the street.

    Merry Christmas, Tom
    Kate

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