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THE OTHER HOLY PLACE
chicken and turkey burgers, knockwurst, bratwurst, and
kielbasa. It was fabulous.
When I host a potluck party, I try to design a basic
menu and tell all attendees what I am making, and I ask
them to bring a complementary dish. If I’m having a ham
or tenderloin with potatoes and green beans, my guests fill
in the rest with appetizers, salad, other sides, and
dessert. Sometimes I will assign a few of my family
members or friends a certain tried-and-true dish to
bring, usually one of their specialties. For example, my
sister-in-law makes a splendid broccoli casserole and
onion focaccia; my mother-in-law prepares delectable
deviled eggs and potato salad. I gently guide everyone
else toward the missing categories of dishes.
Some good potluck dishes are lasagna, casseroles, pasta
salads, bean and rice dishes, fruit or vegetable salads,
cold appetizers or hot dips, fresh bread or rolls with
butter, biscuits, cookies, cakes, and fruit dishes. For your
contribution to an impromptu potluck, think of something
you can make from ingredients that are easily stored on
board, rather than a dish that requires you to shop for
fresh food. We always carry wild rice, pasta, beans, pickled
vegetables, and giardiniera for an antipasto, and I usually
have a few jars of olives, tapenade, and salsa for dips.
POTLUCK PARTY TIPS
Most cruisers I know love potluck parties, and each
season we participate in several, whether planned or
impromptu. While small potlucks (four to eight people)
are fairly easy, when hosting a large potluck for a bigger
raft-up (e.g., five or more boats), it is nice to give your
guests some guidelines:
1. Decide ahead of time what type of food you want.
• If it’s chilly, hot soup and warm vegetable sides and
appetizers are nice. On a sultry evening, cold soup,
salads, and a refreshing dessert keep everyone cool.
Consider a theme, such as a holiday (Fourth of July
barbecue), season (summer solstice or fall harvest),
ethnic feast (Greek, Mediterranean, Mexican, Asian,
or “dinner at the Kasbah”), or an era (1950s: burgers,
dogs, vegetable casseroles, milk shakes, ice cream
sundaes, and Jell-O).
• If you’re building around a theme, provide your
guests some menu suggestions.
• If possible, plan a menu that can be served at room
temperature so you don’t have to worry about keeping
dishes warm. Remember: foods that need to be kept
cold or hot should not be allowed to enter the “danger
zone” (between 40°F and 140°F) for longer than