What do you do when you are invited to a pot luck and dont cook?

United States
November 20, 2008 6:17pm CST
i have ran into this A LOT at past jobs and i ended up always bringing drinks or chips because i dont cook and anything you can pick up at the deli section like macaroni salad everyone already brings and they bring homemade.. then i have to deal with the grumpy people mad because i didnt bring something cooked because THEY choose to not sleep at all and spend all day cooking.. well what am i suppose to bring?!?! i cant afford take out.. cant afford much actually.. ive tried veggie platters and no one eats them etc.. so what does some one do when invited (either through a work party or family etc) to a pot luck and you dont cook and people have a problem with that?? i dont think they should complain as long as i am bringing SOMETHING and compared no one brings drinks it saves everyone from hitting the soda machines.. after 12 hour shift i liked to sleep.. sorry!!
11 people like this
21 responses
@JoyfulOne (6243)
• United States
21 Nov 08
How about something in the 'brown & serve' department? You know, like a big basket full of brown and serve rolls and a dish of butter/margarine. Or even a couple of those bake and serve pies might do well. Or if you have a crock pot, buy a bunch of those cocktail weiners, (those little ones that are only about an inch or two long). Shove them in the crock pot and pour in a bottle of sweet and sour bbq sauce. They are already cooked, so basically you're just warming them. We love to take these to parties because they're easy, simple, cheap, and good for when the day is rushed. My crockpot always comes home empty. Don't worry too much about other peoples complaints, there was once a time when they didn't know how to cook either. Them getting grouchy about you not having to take the time to cook says more about them and their attitude than it does about you not cooking!
4 people like this
@mommyboo (13207)
• United States
21 Nov 08
That is a GREAT idea! Another one is meatballs, you can get a large bag of frozen ones and then pour bbq sauce over them in the crockpot and plug in to heat up. They are pretty inexpensive to make too, just about 2 lbs of ground beef and 1 packets of seasoning for meatballs, bake them in the oven for about 30 min then into the crock pot with the sauce lol. Another easy idea is one my best friend always does, she gets a can of the nacho cheese sauce from Costco (it's like 8 bucks total) and heats it up in the crock pot and serves with tortilla chips - instant nachos. You can also bring some additional fixings like chopped green onion, olives, etc. The kids love the cheese and chips, and as long as you have napkins and bowls it's easy to clean up.
4 people like this
• United States
21 Nov 08
i didnt think about rolls.. the butter would melt because we have no fridge well maybe it wouldnt.. i have no idea with butter haha.. half the potluck was always sweets which is why i never brought any of those and i dont have a crock pot they acted like i was ghetto because some people would bring in huge dishes that took them hours and here i was with 2 liters and chips but if we had a fridge and an oven it would have given me a lot more choices.. which was another reason i would not bring macaroni salad because it would have to sit out and i was afraid people would get sick because people would eat the entire 12 hours at work on things
3 people like this
@mommyboo (13207)
• United States
21 Nov 08
2 packets... lol! One per lb of ground beef.
4 people like this
@mommyboo (13207)
• United States
21 Nov 08
Well... let me think. I do cook but there are times when I just do not have time. I do tend to call the host and ask if there is something they need that nobody is bringing. I have brought plates and silverware before, drinks, dip/guacamole/salsa (spinach dip with a bread bowl is an excellent idea). If you don't like or have time to cook, you can always get some fruit and cut it up, people do like fresh fruit, even a whole melon or something can work. Usually NOBODY brings candy so you could bring a giant bag of M&Ms. Betty Crocker and Kraft actually have boxed salad things that you can make, you just boil the pasta, drain and rinse it, then mix the seasoning stuff with mayo and a little milk and they turn out super good. It's not really cooking, it's more like making a box of mac & cheese so it would work for someone who is cooking-impaired. There's even microwave directions on the box. If the host has a coffeemaker and anybody drinks coffee, suggest you bring a can of coffee, a container of flavored coffee creamer, and a package of coffee cups lol. I will keep thinking so I can give you some more ideas. Bake some cookies, just get the packages at the store that are already separated into cookie squares, maybe a container of mixed nuts?
4 people like this
• United States
21 Nov 08
wouldnt the pasta stuff need refrigerating? there is no fridge which is ridiculous for a huge place!! they already have coffee and all the plates and stuff.. i wanted to bring fruit but i was afraid it would get funky sitting out for 12 hours..
4 people like this
@mommyboo (13207)
• United States
21 Nov 08
No fridge? Use a large cooler with a bag of ice in it.
2 people like this
@katrhina23 (1282)
• United States
21 Nov 08
I would suggest to just bring drinks. they would gladly appreciate that. or maybe pair up with another person that cooks tell the person that you'll just pay the half of the whole cost of whatever she made.
4 people like this
• United States
22 Nov 08
i hadnt thought about going in half with some one on something. thats a good idea
1 person likes this
@ahgong (10086)
• Singapore
21 Nov 08
Well, if the soda machine is usually the one that people hit for drinks, then bring drinks would be redundant. Well, just tell them you suck at cooking. And then bring some peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches if they insist that you bring something homemade? Or how bout just boiling a few cans of soup according to instructions and bring some french loaves to go with the soup? Simple and easy to prepare. And reasonably cheap too. Otherwise, go to the market and get some corn. Break each corn into to or three parts, boil them and serve corn on the clob. Bring some margarine along if you can keep the corn hot when serving it at the pot luck.
• United States
21 Nov 08
well it saves them from having to pay a dollar a drink and could get kinds they dont stock etc.. the only problem with bringing anything hot is that if it cant go into the microwave then cant do it.. there isnt a stove or a fridge and microwaving soup sucks lol.. i always burn myself unless its a thick soup like potato and my hubby takes 3 plus hours to make that so im not taking it to a pot luck.. im gonna be a pig and eat it all at home lol
2 people like this
@ahgong (10086)
• Singapore
21 Nov 08
Then you can definitely try the corn on the clob. Just pop the whole pot of corn, water and all into the microwave oven and heat it. Once the water boils, the corn will cook. And everyone can have their corn piping hot. Smeared with a generous serving of margarine or butter and a small sprikle of salt, and UM UM... yummy! Simple to prepare and serve too.
2 people like this
@busyB4 (875)
• United States
21 Nov 08
DOnt know if they have it where you are, but Pizza Hut makes great pasta dishes. You could get it the night before and just reheat it in a microwavalbe container. Or I make a fruit salad- you buy a can or two of any type pie filling and add in fresh fruit or you can use fruit cocktail or drained canned fruits. It is better if it is all mixed and sits in the fridge overnight to combine the flavors.Then put it in a container and its ready to go!
3 people like this
@SketcherD (1114)
• Canada
21 Nov 08
I think those people who complain at a potluck should suck it up and just eat what puts in front of them. As long as you bring something. I hate the ones that complain at what is on the table yet bring NOTHING. The audacity of some people!!!
• United States
22 Nov 08
yeah those people are horrible!! its funny though to see how people come out of the woodwork from other areas if they even smell food nearby.. well it would be more funny if they didnt eat it all
1 person likes this
@cher913 (25895)
• Canada
21 Nov 08
i am sometimes in the same boat as you. i am not a very good cook but i think it doesnt matter what you bring (i will bring a shrimp tray or veggie tray with dip or donuts). i think it is more important if you bring something and not show up empty handed.
3 people like this
• United States
22 Nov 08
yeah to me something is better than nothing!
1 person likes this
@lazeebee (5468)
• Malaysia
21 Nov 08
Usually we would agree beforehand what we would bring to a potluck, so that there will not be too many of the same dishes. I usually make known that I can't cook; so I will buy either fried chicken, pizzas, cheesecakes or whatever. I know that there are people who just like to grumble; but if it is agreed beforehand, they had better not complain!
• United States
22 Nov 08
yeah i think some people will just complain no matter what
1 person likes this
@jillhill (37354)
• United States
21 Nov 08
Well just a suggestion....make deviled eggs. Whenever I have went to a pot luck and am short on time I bring those....and usually they are the first thing to go. If you don't know how to make them it's very easy..hard boil a dozen or so eggs...cut in half lengthwise..scoop out the yolk...mix it with a little pickle relish and mayo and a bit of onion....scoop it back into the egg...easy ...quick...good!
3 people like this
• United States
21 Nov 08
ill have to try that.. i have never made them before.. how sad is that?? lol
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (112838)
• Boise, Idaho
21 Nov 08
They always need biscuits or some kind of bread. Also, they can use carrots or a veggie dish. You can pick these things up at the store. If people don't understand then they have just gauged your friendship and how it will go down in the future. It is their problem, not yours as long as you have made it known to them before hand and they know what your input will be. On the other hand, if they are expecting you to bring certain things and you don't then you have let them down. Drinks are fine. You have to do what you have to do.
• United States
21 Nov 08
yeah with it being with work and 800 people working there and like 20 or more in the potluck not every one knew me to where they knew im horrible at that stuff lol
1 person likes this
• Canada
21 Nov 08
Anyone who knows me knows that I do not cook. I do, however SHOP. LOL I feel no shame in buying something and bringing it to the dinner. Atleast it means I'm able to bring something. People would much rather eat my shopping than my cooking, and to be honest, so would I. There's no shame in not being able to cook.
3 people like this
• United States
21 Nov 08
it would be nice if grocery stores would expand their selection on their already cooked food to be other than macaroni salad and veggie platters so it would be easier
2 people like this
• United States
21 Nov 08
Two options...lie and buy it in the store and put it in your own dishes or have someone else cook it for you and you can claim you made it. You don't want to know how many times my mom took something into work for a potluck and i am the one who actually made it. Half the time i get credit for it. She has gotten better about that and takes in like chili or soup that she can through together in the morning and let is simmer all day.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Nov 08
I would offer to bake something for you now if you needed it, but how would i get it to you??
2 people like this
• United States
21 Nov 08
you need to start selling your baking stuff.. im sure your mom could peddle some for you lol. since you cant seem to stop baking.. haha you can load me up saturday i have ran out of halloween candy now so my life is HELL!!
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Nov 08
Lol...i have some mint bark and chocolate covered peppermint patties left and i planned on making brownies. Mom gives my stuff away, besides she is selling candy bars for destiny's school fund raiser. Why is everyone trying to get me to sell my stuff...last week its roy trying to get me to go it a crocheting business...now you are wanting me to sell my bake goods.
2 people like this
@sacmom (14338)
• United States
21 Nov 08
I have brought a store bought pumpkin pie before. My family thought it was homemade, even after I told them it wasn't! LOL The pie wasn't very expensive and if you go this route you could always put it in a different dish so that it looks more homemade-ish. Just in case some of these people get on your case for not slaving in a hot kitchen for hours and hours. Just a thought!
2 people like this
• United States
21 Nov 08
sometimes i think store bought taste better than home made!!
2 people like this
@sacmom (14338)
• United States
21 Nov 08
Well there you go then! You should try doing this. You never know, the food you bring might just be a big hit!
2 people like this
• United States
21 Nov 08
This has happened to me before also. I went threw the KFC drive threw and picked up a big bucket of chicken and a large family size order of biscuits and they acted weird because I didn't cook anything to bring. Since you can't afford take out I would suggest making a easy chicken or tuna salad and bring bread,lettuce,tomatoes,cheese and other things you can place in sandwiches,You could make this for under $10, it's affordable to make sandwich stuff like that then maybe add the bag of chips & dip or soda ( if you buy it at the dollar store). Or you can buy two cheap ready made pizza's from Little Caesars, if that is still too expensive just keep bringing the soda and chips.Your right though, as long as you're bringing something people shouldn't complain.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Nov 08
as long as it wouldnt have to be refrigerated (chicken/tuna salad) then i could pull it off.. for all the pot lucks we had you would think we would have made sure to have a fridge but nope.. which made things harder to figure out with no stove either.. lol..
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13207)
• United States
23 Nov 08
I cannot figure out why a company that employs 800 people (? is that what you said?) doesn't have a FRIDGE! I have never worked at a place without an employee fridge! Even when I worked at McD when I was in high school there was a fridge! I didn't need it since they always fed me there (LOL) but we had one!
1 person likes this
@saundyl (9698)
• Canada
21 Nov 08
When i dont have time to cook I tend to do something like go and buy a dish from the local deli or i bring the napkins/chips/drinks - soda or juice mix and the stuff like that. A quick easy one i like to take is a bag of hashbrowns mixed with grated cheddar cheese and a container of sour cream. then covered with more grated cheese and baked in the oven until warm. Its quick its cheap and it goes over VERY well (i wish it would come home as left overs cause i love it). It takes about 5 minutes to mix up and about half an hour in the oven to warm.
2 people like this
• United States
22 Nov 08
that sounds good!! i will have to try it out..
@cutepenguin (6458)
• Canada
21 Nov 08
Among my circle of friends, several people don't cook. A couple of them developed one fairly easy recipe each and they always bring that. Others pick up drinks, fruit platters, etc. I think this is okay. Even if everyone can cook really well, someone needs to bring bottles of soda or a bag of chips.
2 people like this
• United States
22 Nov 08
yeah if half the food was what i was used to bringing i could see it as a problem but i was the only one that would bring those things so i didnt see what the big deal was
@rjblueyes (215)
• United States
21 Nov 08
Do you bake? I can't cook either, but I can make the brownies out of the box! :) Easy enough for me, and everyone usually loves em. and you can make the ones with and without nuts and let them choose. Inexpensive, doesn't take alot of time, and everyone loves you for it! I used to bring chips and stuff, but then other people did the same thing. Hope this helps! :)
2 people like this
• United States
21 Nov 08
they already have so many sweets though.. half the thing is usually sweets.. other wise i would since at least sweets are easy to bake or easy to buy lol
1 person likes this
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
21 Nov 08
At our work potlucks thankfully we always come up with a list of things and you can sign up for just about anything. We are usually most thankful for people who can go buy things think cups, plates, soda, etc. Not everyone likes to try the homemade stuff due to the history of food poisonings.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Nov 08
oh lord how awful (food poisoning) i know i would get sick when i would eat at the pot luck but i think i would eat too many different things that didnt want to go together lol..
1 person likes this
@Nhey16 (2519)
• Philippines
21 Nov 08
i also buy food that i could bring. most of the times, it would save me time but it would cost me more, but atleast i wouldnt worry if they would eat the food i've cooked... so i just have to buy something they havent cooked...
2 people like this
• United States
21 Nov 08
i have to buy double or two things since me and my hubby both worked there and went to it..
1 person likes this
@Dochas (3)
• United States
21 Nov 08
how about a big bowl of cut up fruit?
@dookie03 (578)
• United States
23 Nov 08
I say you go with the easy and get something from the Deli or chips or something. Another thing to consider is bring drinks. There's always somebody that never brings in the drinks so a potluck always ends up drinking waters all day. Either that or bring in a crockpot full of cheese and bring some chips, that always works.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Nov 08
yeah i would bring drinks and chips and people kept making comments because i didnt "cook" it or that it was cheaper than bringing something else (but i couldnt afford any thing more but some people didnt know that and i didnt feel like sharing my financial issues with them lol) but it saved them all from paying a dollar a drink at the machines so i think they should have just kept their comments to themselves lol