Potlucks Are The Absolute Worst


Considering that for the first ten or so years of my life of I was a picky eater of the highest order, it's an almost Twilight Zone-like turn of events that I now enjoy trying new foods a great deal.

I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm a "foodie" because I'm not an asshole. I'm a douchebag. There's a difference.

It's for this reason that I like going to restaurants. It's cool; you get to sit at a table with people you tolerate while a stranger brings you things that you picked from a menu that if you're lucky even has pictures of the food printed on it. Sometimes there's a high school football schedule on the placemat or an ad for a used car dealership, or if you find yourself at one of the Evel Kenevals of restaurants, there may be no placemat at all.

I like all kinds of restaurant dining experiences with one massive exception: the potluck.

Certain words just sound awful and potluck is one of them. Nothing makes me less excited to go to an event than seeing "potluck" on an invitation (although "mingling" is up there too).

But Matt, how could you hate a veritable smorgasbord of goods that your fellow party attendees have whipped up in their respective kitchens?

How much time do you have?

The first reason for this is that now instead of being a guest, each attendee has been assigned the role of caterer. Maybe the thought of going to a catering fantasy camp for the evening sounds enticing to you, but to me, it doesn't.

This is a job that doesn't stop when you set your casserole (it's always a casserole for some reason) on that long table with the stained table cloth. Now, each guest must spend the entire evening explaining time and time again what it is they made, how they made it, and usually some boring family story about how it became one of their "kid's favorites."

Well, we were on a trip up north to watch the leaves change and we stopped in Schenectady because Mike had eaten a bad gas station burrito, so we stopped at a Cracker Barrel and I found this cookbook and in it was a recipe for Spaghetti casserole. So now we make it all the time. The kids love it."

Wasn't that a terrible story? Now imagine one of these for every single item on the table.

When it's time to eat, potlucks begin to suck even more if you can believe that. The problem is that culinary acumen is not in any way distributed evenly.  Potlucks aren't like buffets. When the good stuff is gone at the buffet, they bring out another tray and set it in that trough of hot water. This doesn't happen at potlucks. This means that there will be a few dishes at the party that are like the hot girl in the club that everyone wants to dance with. There's not enough to go around though, so if you wind up last in line for the food, the "hot girl" dishes will be gone and you'll be stuck with the culinary equivalent of a girl with a rotting tooth and a unibrow.

The real nail in the coffin is that potlucks are never held at good venues for food. They're never at traditional restaurants. It's always a YMCA basement, a school gymnasium, or someone's house.

Nothing makes for a good meal like staring at basketball hoops folded into the ceiling while you eat at cafeteria tables.

I know I come off as a curmudgeon, but I'm just brave enough to go straight at the potluck establishment because I'm not scared of being blackballed by them. 

You're telling me I won't have to cook a tray lasagna or eat other people's sub-par food they made at the last minute because they forgot this whole shindig was going on. Is that supposed to be a threat? Because it sounds like a reward.

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