Harnoor Channi-Tiwary, NDTV | Updated: June 27, 2017 15:46 IST
party? Celebrating this special evening with close friends is what makes it special. Yet, the hassle of hosting one involves planning a menu. Even more cumbersome is the fact that you have to cater to everyone’s individual tastes, go grocery and vegetable shopping and actually cook the entire meal. No wonder we sometimes secretly shudder at the thought of hosting one.
Here’s a thought. What if you were not burdened with the entire menu? What if each invitee got a dish for the party? Lo-behold, the magic of potlucks. They’re easy to plan, simple to execute and keep everyone happy.
It could be a house party that you’re thinking of throwing or even an office lunch to break away from the monotonous routine. We recently had a Thanksgiving potluck in office, which was a resounding success, given that the team in NDTV Food loves to cook and eat as much as it loves to write about food. But before you go ahead and plan your own potluck, here are some pro-tips to make sure it goes off well:
1. Make a list of invitees – Be sure of whom all you are inviting. Last minute inclusions mean that you will tell someone at the nth hour that they need to get a dish (which may not be very convenient).2. Divide the menu into categories –If 10 people are invited, you should ideally have 3 for starters, 4 for main course and 3 for desserts.
3. Slot people into the categories - This can be done autocratically or democratically. Ask each person what category they would like to bring food for. I may make a mean Russian Stroganoff but be terrible at baking. Thus, if I were assigned desserts, it may be a disaster.
4. Narrow down on dishes – As far as possible, brain storm with everyone and finalise the dishes they will all get. This is to ensure that there is no duplication and that the dishes all work together. Eg. If most of the dishes are Pan-Asian, a Paneer Butter Masala will be out of place.
5. Select the venue – In office, you could host it in the cafeteria or a conference room (if it is allowed). If you’re hosting a house-party, make sure that the venue host is comfortable with the idea and ask how you can help.
6. Set up – As there is no one person hosting the event, ensure that you think of minute details like plates, cutlery, paper napkins, etc. If required, distribute these too so that guests can be allocated certain things they have to get.
Make sure you cook your dish fresh and in time. If you do not feel like cooking from scratch or have paucity of time, you could also be smart and outsource the ingredients. I had to leave for office at 8:30am, thus I decided to cook up the handmade frozen Chicken Ravioli I had in store from Sinyora (+91 9953335989) and toss it up with their delicious pesto sauce. In 10 minutes, my dish was ready and I wasn’t even late for work.
Needless to say, our Thanksgiving potluck was outstanding. We had Sliders, Crispy Chicken Salad, Fried Idli, Dimsums, Khra Pao Kai, Pesto Ravioli, Fajitas, Blueberry Cheesecake, Banana Bread and Angoor Rabri. Sounds like a meal for a king? It was. And yet, none of us had to stress about it. That is the magic of potlucks. So, when are you having one?
New Year Eve is knocking on the door and who doesn’t enjoy a good