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bring your own how to be a perfect potluck party guest  1 2 3 4
continued from page 1

potluck panic prevention
Always, always ask if there’s something specific your host/ess would like you to bring. If the thought of cooking gives you the heebie-jeebies, offer whatever course you’d like to bring before the host/ess assigns one to you: a salad, an appetizer, fresh fruit, or dessert are all easy to pull off … and if your host gently informs you that they’ve already assigned 3 people salads, never fear! There are plenty of entrees and side dishes that are perfectly do-able for the novice cook.

2. Definitely bring your own serving utensils. While it’s generally safe to assume that your host will be providing forks, spoons and knives, it’s entirely likely that your average single twenty-something won’t have the requisite dozen or so spatulas/tongs/serving spoons that everyone’s dishes will require. If you’re worried about losing your beloved serving set at the party, you can always scribble your name in waterproof ink on a small piece of tape, stuck discreetly on the back of the handle.

3. Think portable, and road-trip friendly. Don’t choose anything that’s so elaborately constructed that it won’t be able to survive the fifteen minute car ride to the host’s house. Choose something that doesn’t have to remain ice cold or piping hot in order to be enjoyed, and don’t just assume that you’ll be able to pop your masterpiece into the oven once you get to the party. Bring a completed, ready-to-be-feasted-upon dish and you’ll save your hosts an awful lot of hassle. If you’re absolutely dead-set on showing up with a culinary concoction that requires last-minute work, make sure to check with your host ahead of time that they’ll have the requisite oven/microwave/stovetop space available.

4. Try to find out how many people will be at the party. If your host is being vague about the numbers, a 6-8 person portion is generally a reasonable amount of food to bring.

The following recipes are easy enough for the neophyte cook to prepare, but still offer something a little more interesting than those scalloped potatoes and baked ziti that are the traditional potluck mainstays.

easy potluck entrees
Penne with Brie, Sundried Tomatoes, and Basil
Tapenade Farfalle with Roasted Veggies
Chickpea Dal with Spinach

easy potluck side dishes
roasted green beans
green bean and walnut pate
broccoli with peanut sauce
scallion couscous
with mediterranean veggie stew
beer bread

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