Potluck Etiquette: Advice Needed

Where are the Midwest housewives when you need them?

I have long pondered the proper potluck etiquette as it pertains to couples or families.  Something tells me these ladies would have the answer to my questions.

Based on my understanding, when going to a potluck, everyone brings a dish to share.  However, many-a-time couples or families bring one collective dish.  Is that acceptable? 

I ask with the caveat that I’ve never been to a potluck that had a shortage of food.  But is it fair to those who come solo with a dish for those that come with sig other/kids in tow to only bring one dish as well?  At first blush, I say no.

Shouldn’t the people who come in pairs be responsible for bringing one dish that is twice the size – or two small dishes? 

I’m not here spouting judgement or advice because I don’t know the answer. It just seems fair to me that you should bring one dish per person – not group – when potlucking. 

What are your thoughts?  Please discuss.


Disclaimer: this has ZERO to do with any one who came to my house yesterday.  If anything, people brought three and four items per person … the amount of food was insane, awesome and delicious.


Filed under Cooking, Etiquette

2 responses to “Potluck Etiquette: Advice Needed

  1. Michelle

    I think it is cool to just bring one dish. Ask the host about how many people they are expecting, so you can gage the amount you need to bring. If twenty people are coming you should bring a dish that serves 8. Remember: At pot-lucks no one usually eats a full serving portion, they usually take a spoonful or two of each item. So that would mean 15-20 dishes that serve 8. I don’t think you show up with a family of five and one bag of chips. Be responsible in the amount you are sharing and amke sure it is equal to the amount you are expecting to feed. Most time kids don’t eat enough to impact anything but the mac-n-cheese and cake. I have had many pot-lucks and have never run out of food. Liquor on the other hand is always a problem. =)

    • I agree Michelle. I’ve never been to a potluck that had a food shortage. It just hit me though that it doesn’t seem fair for a single person to bring the same amount as a large family … but like you said it is all about the quantities consumed and the total number of guests.

      Good advice. Thanks for your input.

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