Sunday, December 5, 2010

How Lucky are Potlucks?

'Tis the season for potlucks. The company potluck is always a favorite of mine because I enjoy socializing with employees in a setting that is relaxed and fun and the smorgasbord of great food to choose from seems endless.

Even though potlucks are fun, they have some negative experiences. A few years ago, I chipped a tooth on someone's homemade cookies. A co-worker had an allergic reaction to the bean salad because it had peanuts in it. These and many other horror stories can make a potluck event not so lucky. Here are a few tips on how to keep potlucks lucky for everyone:

  1. Place identification cards on all dishes.

    Even the obvious chicken casserole can be something else. Naming each item will let attendees know what they are eating and remove guess work.

  2. Seperate the dessert, salads, and entrée tables.

    Grouping identical items on separate tables will lighten the lines and give people options as to where they would like to start their feasting.

  3. List ingredients for dishes that include highly allergenic foods

    Studies show that 90% of the following foods account for allergic reactions: peanuts, shellfish, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, and tree nuts. Listing food ingredients will eliminate allergic reactions and illnesses.

  4. Go easy on the salt.

    When making a dish for others to enjoy, remember that all taste buds are different. Some employees may have illnesses or conditions related to salt content (ie. high blood pressure). If the recipe calls for high salt content,  

  5. Compile an employee potluck cookbook

    This is a great take-a-way from the event. Employees get to sample different foods and can make them at their leisure.

Potlucks bring employees together in a social setting, using the ideas listed will keep these events enjoyable, safe, and away from emergency rooms for the holidays. Happy eating!

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