Potluck problems: Frugal dilemmas

July 01, 2011|By Liz F. Kay

How do you feel about potluck invitations?

Potlucks are often recommended as a way to keep entertainment costs in check. If everyone brings a little something, then no single person is footing the bill.

It seems like the concept of "bring a dish to share" is pretty popular --- according to an American Express survey of more than 2,000 people, about 72 percent of consumers will ask their guests to contribute a side dish, dessert or drinks.

As an infrequent host, I love potlucks, just because it often takes so much effort to get my house in guest-worthy state that I welcome any means to ease the cooking burden as well.

But are there right and wrong ways to do it?

I have one friend who has expressed irritation when being asked to bring a dish to a shower, where a gift for the bride or expectant mother is also expected.

And if an invitation doesn't spell out whether the invite is for a potluck gathering, it seems appropriate to ask when it is received, just so there isn't any confusion.

When in doubt, drinks always seem appropriate, because even if they aren't consumed at the event they serve as host/ess gifts.

How do you approach potlucks as a host or guest? Tell us your potluck peeves and tips for a successful gathering.

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