While I've compiled this list based on the actions of my husband's employees, my own previous work parties, and certain family members, I am sure it will work for a plethora of other times and places.
Holiday Don'ts: Food (The Pitch-In Dinner/Meal)
1. Don't just wing it. Find out what everyone is planning on bringing.
If there is not a list posted or circulating, get one started. There is nothing worse than fourteen dishes of macaroni and cheese and a small grocery store fruit plate for the entire group to dine on.
2. Don't forget the fork. Or spoon. Bring the appropriate serving utensils for your dish.
Have you ever tried to dip banana pudding with a plastic teaspoon? At my husband's gathering, someone snatched my utensil from my dessert. Whomever came behind had attempted to dip my Pineapple Thingy* with an icing spatula.
3. If you didn't contribute, don't get in line first.
I understand not everyone can always contribute; I am not cold-hearted. But knocking over small children to get in line first? Not cool.
|photo credit: edenpictures|
"Families invited" means spouse/significant other and children. Unless it's a family-owned business, then you know, adjust accordingly.
5. Don't ask for a to-go box.
Just because you brought a dish does not give you free reign to fill 'er up on the way out. Certain situations may dictate the necessity to divide up the leftovers and take them home. But I must insist that you refer to point number three first.
6. Don't leave your stuff behind.
Used dinner plate. Half drunk soda. Your casserole/dessert/biscuits/otherfooditem. Whatever you bring and use, clean up after yourself. They don't call it a pitch-in for nothing. I always say, "Hey! Your mother doesn't work here," which you are welcome to borrow. Unless, again, you have a family-owned business, then maybe your mother does work there. Still, it won't kill you to clean up a little. And either take your dish, even if it is in a disposable container, home or throw away. No one wants to be trying identify the strange smell coming from the lounge fridge come February.
|photo credit: jetalone on flickr|
Unless you are Paula Deen, Mario Batali, Cat Cora, or maybe Rachael Ray, I am not interested in something you just threw together. Keep it fresh. Keep it clean. Keep it traditional. The holiday dinner is not the time for an unveiling. If you do try a new dish, don't cry when you are making that long walk back to the car.
8. Don't bring a temperature- sensitive food item.
For obvious reasons, anything that has to remain cold -- ice cream for example-- is not going to hold up well.On the opposite end of the spectrum, foods need to be continually kept hot offer their own issues. You don't want to have to be fighting over electrical outlets or scrambling for an extension cord for your crock-pot-of-goodness.
9. Don't forget the drinks! And ice!
Both seem to be forgotten. And variety is the spice of life. Not everyone wants to be sipping on the sole 2-liter of ginger ale that was brought. Get several people involved and mix it up. Soft drinks! Iced tea! Coffee! Punch! Even water goes a long way.
10. Don't forget to thank the host/coordinator.
Really. It had to be said.
What are your don'ts that need to be added to this list?
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post: Holiday Don'ts: Gift Exchanges
*Pineapple Thingy is dump cake that I discovered at a function. No one knows the real name, but I've got the recipe and will share soon!