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

what to bring to a potluck when you really don’t know how to cook
Mixed Greens Salad
Anyone can look like a genius with a salad, even if you’re the world’s lousiest cook. The key is to use something other than the usual carrots-cucumber-iceberg lettuce combination that most folks generally expect. Start with two bags of ready-to-go mixed greens, which require no work on your part and look lovely. I like the baby lettuce and baby spinach bags, but use whatever suits your fancy. Add slivered red and yellow peppers, skinny sticks of jicama, a sprinkle of feta, parmesan, blue cheese, or soft goat cheese. Fruits add a nice touch of sweetness to salads – try fresh berries in the summertime, sliced oranges, apples or pears in the winter. And definitely bring a little jar of homemade vinaigrette – it’s very easy to make, and looks a heck of a lot more elegant than a plastic squeeze bottle of Kraft Creamy Ranch.

Homemade dips
Homemade dips like hummus, tapenade and the like are very, very, easy to make, and require no culinary talent whatsoever. A mini food-processor will, however, make the job quite a lot easier. Pop your dip in a pretty dish or, if you’re up for trying out your sculpting skills, in a hollowed-out bell pepper. Fresh-baked bread, crackers, pita wedges, raw veggies, and tortilla chips all make good accompaniments for dips.

Fruit salad
Fruit salad looks beautiful, and makes for a refreshingly light dessert. If you’re using any fruits that turn brown as they oxidize – apples and pears are the common culprits – toss those fruits in acidified water (squeeze a lemon into a small mixing bowl full of water) after you’ve sliced them up, drain, then mix them into the salad.

Ice cream sundae materials
Bring a tub or two of good vanilla ice cream along with fudge sauce, whipped cream (preferably whipped yourself rather than the canned aerosol stuff), fresh fruit, maraschino cherries, and any other toppings that happen to inspire you when you’re shopping at the supermarket just before heading over to the party. Just make sure to check that your host will have room in the freezer to store the ice cream until dessert time.

Drink fixings
Can’t cook to save your life, but do know how to make the world’s best margarita? Offer to play bartender for the night instead of bringing food.

don't stop now:  more this way!


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