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Potluck Protocol Tips

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

Our department had a potluck on Friday. The department head came with two bags of chips. When the potluck ended, several of the folks who also brought chips left the bags so that everyone could have them on Monday. However, on Monday, the department head took two bags of chips, and these were not the same two bags he had brought to the potluck. Were his actions proper?


Potluck leftovers - leave or not to leave

Dear Potluck leftovers - leave or not to leave,

It would have been fine if he had taken his own leftovers, but not someone else's. Below are some guidelines for potluck etiquette.

Pot Luck Etiquette Advice

1. The host generally provides one of the main dishes, plates, silverware, napkins, and glasses.

2. If you are a guest, ask the host what to bring. The host may have food categories divided among the guests such as bread, salad, appetizer, main dish, side dish, dessert, and beverage.

3. Arrive on time. Do not inconvenience the other guests by making them wait for you and your dish to arrive.

4. Bring the appropriate serving utensil for your dish. The host may not have the utensil or have enough serving utensils for everyone's dish.

5. Unless you have an unusual serving dish and utensil, it is best to tape your name to both for easy identification. Have your name attached is helpful if you forget to take your dish home.

6. The dish should be ready to serve and kept at the appropriate temperature until placed on the table. If bringing hot food, keep it hot until it is placed on the table and bring a hot plate to protect the table surface. If bringing cold food, keep it cold until ready to serve.

7. When at the buffet line, only take a small portion of each item to taste. Part of the fun of a potluck is to sample everyone's dish.

8. Help the host with clean up. If everyone helps with clean up, it will get done in a fraction of the time with little effort on everyone's part.

9. If your dish has leftovers, then take them home unless you would like to offer it to the host. Do not take someone else's leftovers.

10. Show appreciation. Let everyone know how much you enjoyed their dish and thank them.