You can have a dinner without doing much cooking at all! It is called a “Pot Luck Dinner”! Kind of like a food lottery, you ask your guests to each bring a dish or two! Most people have a special dish that they can cook or a great place they know that sells an amazing dish. Most people are genuinely happy to contribute to a dinner, so why not consider hosting a “Pot Luck Dinner”?
First of all determine, how many guests are coming for dinner and how many entrees, mains or desserts you would like. Then ask your guests to volunteer a dish or two – make sure you let them know how many people to cater for. I strongly recommend that you stipulate that the dish is pre-cooked and therefore only requires a bit of reheating – this is important as it does not work if you have lots of people in the kitchen trying to finish the cooking of their dish! Keep track of who is bringing what, in terms of course. You do not need to know what the person is actually bringing but if you do know in advance, it will help in terms of what you may want to supplement it with yourself.
Always have some nice bread on hand, biscuits for cheeses and dips as these are the things that often get forgotten! Decide on a dish that you yourself will contribute. Everyone will also bring some wine or drinks but make sure you have sparkling water, soft drinks and a few bottles of wine on hand.
It is a fantastic way to have a wonderful, shared meal with friends and always a pleasant surprise to taste other people’s cooking or favourite dishes. It takes the pressure off everyone as no one individual has to cook the whole dinner! You can take this approach for any event – lunch, dinner or party. For a party, you have to insist on the dish being ready to go, with no reheating required as it is less stressful!
I have organised this for the occasional Friday office lunch when getting a large team together. It has been a fabulous event, especially with many people from different cultures each providing a specialty dish. Most of the male attendees either cooked a dish themselves or asked their partners to make something. Some people purchased dips and biscuits or cakes from the supermarket. We tried to encourage everyone to do a bit of cooking but were not too strict. The end result was a smorgasbord of fabulous dishes that everyone enjoyed trying! Of course, there was far too much food, some of which we saved for the next day or continued to graze on throughout the day!!!