Potluck etiquette + a recipe

               Yesterday my family attended a potluck dinner. Preparing for it reminded me of the potluck rules and tips I’ve picked up over the years.


               If a woman plans to attend, she should always bring something. There is no excuse for showing up empty-handed if she has had the prior knowledge and time to prepare. Of course, an exception is made for one invited at the last minute.

               A woman should always bring at least enough food for her own family to eat and something her family would be willing to eat if no one else does. Do not try out an unfamiliar dish, since people gravitate toward foods they are familiar with. The well-bred woman will consider bringing something healthful and nutritious, as she and others will appreciate that option.

               Always label dishes containing allergens.

               Always accompany any child with allergies and any child too young too properly serve themselves at the buffet table.


               Find out beforehand what type of dish to bring. Yesterday I brought three dishes each including proteins, carbohydrates, and fat. Upon arriving I found that the hosts were providing more than enough meat for everyone and I need only have brought side dishes.

               It is acceptable to bring a little extra for unexpected guests.

               There may be many dishes that one would not normally eat, tempting the palate. A well-bred woman, however, will always eat mindfully no matter the occasion, keeping in sight her health and nutrition goals; bringing food in line with her eating goals is a good idea. I am currently following a 3-month recasting way of eating based on the books The French Diet and French Women Don’t Get Fat, and I felt pretty confident that I could find the proper things to eat. To be sure, I made one of my dishes, miniature caprese salads, completely balanced and in line with my goals so that I could resort to it if nothing else seemed acceptable.

               Let the elderly go through the buffet first, descending by age to the children who serve themselves going last.

               Never eat at the buffet table!

               Never make negative comments about a dish.

               Do not tell other people what they should or should not eat.

               Clearly label all serving dishes and utensils.

               It is considerate to label anything spicy or hot in temperature.
               Any potluck tips or stories from my readers? As implied from my tips above, I have at least one story for each example, but this is a blog post, not a pamphlet It seems that potluck dinners can cause some people’s manners to become very lax, thus the diligence to maintain pleasant and proper behavior at such affairs is greatly appreciated by all who attend.

One of the dishes I brought yesterday: Mini Caprese Salads

Serves 12

8 fresh plum tomatoes
8 oz fresh mozzarella
24 fresh basil leaves
1 small fresh head of butter lettuce
Extra virgin olive oil

               The finished product is a stack of fresh ingredients in a small serving dish; I used clear plastic cups. The ingredients were layered, from bottom up, 1 leaf butter lettuce tucked inside the serving cup, 1 salted tomato slice, 1 piece mozzarella drizzled with olive oil, 1 basil leaf, 1 tomato, 1 mozzarella, 1 basil.

The way I made mine:
               Trim the ends off the 8 tomatoes and cut them into thirds to get 24 slices. Lay them in rows on a few stacked paper towels to drain and sprinkle them lightly with sea salt. Cut a 16 oz roll of fresh mozzarella in half, cut one half into 6 slices, and cut the slices into quarters to fit with the size of the tomato slices. Put one piece of mozzarella on each tomato slice and drizzle all with olive oil. Lay a basil leaf on top of each mozzarella piece. Place 1 butter lettuce leaf into each small plastic cup. Stack the tomato combos 2 high to get 12 double stacks. Secure with a toothpick or skewer and place into bed of lettuce. Optional: before putting lettuce into cups, place a few small squares of paper towel at the bottom to absorb drainage.
The finished product:


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