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Quick guidelines for potluck dishes

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Potluck gatherings are a godsend for hosts who need to share the load of cooking for a large group. But it can be stressful if you’re not particularly adept in the culinary arts and aren’t sure what to make. Here are a few tips for potluck dishes that can help ensure you turn up with a dish that isn’t going back home with you.

Make it easy to eat

A potluck is usually a social event where people may mingle while eating. So go with food that can be eaten off a plate. Pasta, rice, fried noodles, chicken wings and the like are more likely to be eaten. Soups, stews and other dishes that require separate eating utensils can be inconvenient to juggle while trying to talk to others.

Cater to common tastes

Chorizo
By Marshall Astor – Food Fetishist
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lifeontheedge/2359364648
Always make food that is accessible and easy to eat for other guests at the potluck
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If you’re not sure of the taste preferences of guests at the potluck, always go for the safe option. Stinky cheeses, overly spicy curries or exotic meats can turn people off. So stick to the mashed potatoes, stir fried chicken or pepperoni pizza. As other people are also bringing their own dishes, try not to have yours overpower the rest.

Make it stand out 

Salad
By britinichu
http://www.flickr.com/photos/britinichu/3240951996
Ease of consumption and the use of vegetables make pasta salads a suitable dish for potlucks.

If you want to try standing out, go with a vegetable option. Heavy, meaty dishes like lasagne and casseroles tend to be popular crowd-pleasers. Bringing a fresh vegetable salad or side dish can add crunch, brightness and variety to the table.

Or try an easy dessert option in the form of a chocolate fondue with a selection of fruits and marshmallows.  With the help of portable induction hobs like the Electrolux EIH600, keeping melted chocolate at a consistent temperature has never been easier.

Make it easy to serve

Bring food you can keep warm on the journey, or that can be served at room temperature. If you need to bring a dish that requires warming, call ahead to ask if the host can accommodate it.

If your food is better served with special utensils like a pasta serving fork, remember to bring your own utensils.

Think outside the hob

If you’re truly not comfortable in the kitchen but would still like to contribute, other useful contributions can be napkins, plates, cups and utensils.  Or consider drinks such as beer, wine and other liquors. Takeaway food like pizza can also be an appreciated dish whose origins nobody will mind.

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