An Oldy But Goody: Potluck Pet Peeves

I found this old BRK post and had such an belly-roar over it that I had to repost in hopes you get a good laugh from it as well. Oh and my peeves are an accumulation of 25 years attending various church, office, and Army potlucks. I have also picked the top ten reader comments for more rip-roaring fun. Enjoy!

I love potlucks, I really do. I perk up when I hear potluck and start daydreaming about what I am going to bring, what wonderful dishes will be present, and maybe learning a new recipe or two but…

Why Do I Still Attend Potlucks When…

1. The family of 16, all big eaters, is in line in front of me and I may as well surrender now and call Pizza Hut for delivery.

2. That very same family of 16 brought a can of corn.

3. Parents are not watching their children load up on food only to waste it while I got two kernels of corn and a half of biscuit. I’ll know to load up at Communion next time.

4. People stand in line eating food off their plates with their fingers, and lick those fingers, then reach for the serving utensils for more food. Now I know for sure that the term “greasy spoon” started at some church basement potluck.

5. People in line in front of me are sniffling and sneezing. Beyond the Blessing I may need a shot of Penicillin to prevent illness. Or vodka.

6. Unidentifiable food is present. If you have to explain your dish, don’t bring it.

7. A person is running around asking if there is any salt in each dish, “My blood pressure you know.” We’re SOUTHERN Baptist, what do you think?

8. A stampede is caused by someone shouting, “Oh look Twinkies and SpaghettiO’s!” Why is it that the store bought stuff is more popular than my homemade Dulce de Leche Pie?

9. There are people in line with their plates heaped high looking for the Diet Coke.

10. The people in line in front of me are already on their seconds.


10. Karen K says… “Nerve only goes to that church the week there is “Dinner on the Grounds” which, of course, is a potluck. Nerve also has the, umm, nerve, to show up with Tupperware to take the leftovers!!! That’s right folks…she takes the leftovers if there are any. Nerve is no petite flower either. Just sayin…”

9. grahamstravelblog says…” There should be two lines at all potlucks. One with food and one for vodka shots. That way when you finally get through the food line you won’t care what you are eating. After consuming the food, you’ll also need to go back to the vodka line for another shot to kill germs. Please take your original shotglass with you through the food line so you can reuse it later. Wait, you would do this in a church basement?”

8. Noble Pig says…”I almost gag at potlucks becuase I know everyone picked their nose, licked the spoon and sneezed in the dish. I also imagine their cats who use the indoor litter box walk on the kitchen counters which totally makes me barf.”

7. A Southern Grace says…”the ladies in my church have a subtle battle at each potluck to get their dishes at the front of the table. it’s quite hilarious to observe, and always a good time. :)”

6. Eat! says…”Too many memories of eating jello in the church basement while sitting on folding chairs. Now I need to make an appointment with my psychiatrist.”

5. mephibashef…”Pot lucks can really be great – but sometimes it is russian roulet with gastro-intestinal disease.”

4. Joie de vivre says…”My potluck peeve is the one about the people sneezing and licking their fingers then reaching in the bowl of Doritos or whatever else store bought thing someone brought. I always bring…what else do Lutherans bring?, casserole!”

3. Kate says…This really happened to her…
“Ooooh, what’s that?”
“Green Chili Enchiladas.”
“What’s that on top?”
“That would be the diced green chili.”
“Oh, you should have put that on the side. Not everyone likes green chili.”
“Well we can’t bake for everyone, that’s why it’s a potluck.”
“yes but I have a sensitive stomach and now I can’t eat that…”
“Well it looks like there are lots of good things for you to choose from…”
“Well next time can you make it without the green chilis?”
“Well then it wouldn’t be green chili enchiladas…”
“Well next time can you just, oh I don’t know, bring a can of corn? Baked into a corn souffle? I like that.”

2. Gluten Free Easily says…”The worst to date was when one woman showed up with a slab of cream cheese and a sleeve of Saltines. I kid you not. She put them right on the corner of my beautifully set table. As soon as they left, I grabbed them and threw them away.”

And the #1 best reader comment…

1. redforever says…”We have one person in our group that brings a pound of butter, no bread or buns, just a pound of butter.”

Bring it on! What is your best Potluck story? Make me laugh so hard I cough up a lung or something…


  1. Peter M
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 7:22 AM | Permalink

    OMG….this is a hilarious post, with a cherry on top finish with readers' pot luck ancedotes.

    In hindsight, pot lucks are not exactly enjoyable dining experiences.

  2. Sugar Apple
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

    Here in Tortola the big thing is foil. Doesn't matter if it's a pot luck or a fancy catered dinner, the locals will take away at least as much as they ate, wrapped in your tin foil. Since I actually like leftovers, I usually contrive to misplace my aluminum foil right before guests arrive.

    The best was at an office party a few years ago. My husband was talking to my boss when the messenger came up to them, took the bowl of cashews the boss was nibbling from, emptied the bowl into a piece of foil, folded it neatly and put it in her purse. No more nuts for you!

  3. Tonya
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

    When the person running the potluck forgets to communicate with the guests beforehand. When you get there – you find on main dish and 15 deserts.

  4. llamamama
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

    A few years ago I was at a potluck and the host picked up a package of raw hamburger patties and dripped most of the juice over a sheet cake. She served the cake later anyway. I don't like potlucks – you never know what went on in someone's kitchen!

  5. Scribbit
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

    It's wonderful to hear that despite differences in beliefs, rites and doctrine that one thing all religions can agree on it how potlucks are an abomination.:)

    Or maybe just a necessary evil. I dislike them too because of these same reasons and because they're always more work for me. I already have to fix dinner anyway so then having to make something transportable, wrapping it up and then constantly policing my kids to make sure they're not the ones picking and grinning in the line is more work than I care for.

    And then I almost always end up eating just what I brought because I know it's safe 🙂 Every time we go to leave for one of these things my husband asks me what I'm bringing and then says with relief "oh good!"

    I guess I don't go for the food but for the company. I do like the socializing.

    Though I have to say that the greatest thing is a Polynesian potluck. Those are a different story. We were part of a congregation where half of the people were Tongan and they know how to do a potluck. We had the whole slow-roasted pig and piles of taro and banana-wrapped tasties that melt in your mouth. And there's never a danger of running out, you could eat for two weeks and still have plenty of food.

    But the best thing about potlucks with our Tongan buddies? The women always poking me and saying "You're too skinny, you need to eat more–go! Eat!"

  6. Fallon
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    I haven't really experienced with those types of "pot lucks!" Sometimes at my work we do pot lucks for an event, but it not what you think. They bring in donuts, prepackaged little debbie cakes, grocery store cookies, sugary soda and juice, more donuts, etc. Then we have SO MANY leftovers that they stick EVERYTHING on our little break table. Then here I come who completely avoids all those chemical foods and I pull out a healthy snacks usually fruit and nuts or hummus and veggies. When I'm alone back there I start looking at the ingredients and gawking out how scary they are! LOL

  7. Kirstin
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

    Oh my!! I got a good laugh at this!! Thank you!!

  8. Joie de vivre
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

    Hi Robin! Since it is Lent, it is soup supper time in the Lutheran church. One of my pastor friends posted an old photo on Facebook of a woman tasting her soup that is simmering on a stove. Above her head is a thought bubble that reads, "This soup is going to rock some worlds at the potluck". I just laughed and laughed. I hope you're doing well!

  9. Alison @ Hospitality Haven
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

    This is quite funny to me because I'm having a potluck on Sunday at church. I'll view it in a whole new light! 🙂

  10. biz319
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

    OMG, the chili enchilada exchange had me laughing out loud!

    Thanks for this Robin Sue!

    And not sure I'll be able to eat at another pot luck! 😀

  11. Ingrid
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 11:53 PM | Permalink

    Ha-ha! That was a good post but I'm really weird about my food. I avoid potlucks.

    Btw, I won't have ANY problems eating at the BRK! :)The same goes for you! If you and the family is ever down in Central FL give me a shout. I'm in between the beach and Mickey.

  12. Mimi
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    Still laughing! I always ask my friends(kitchen I trust) what they brought and stick with that.

  13. Karen
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    I can't stand to think of all the germs that are spread around at potlucks. Once at a church potluck, one woman made a beautiful cheese ball that was studded with almonds and looked like a pine cone. Nobody was eating it. She asked me if I would be the first to take some of it. She said nobody ever wants to mess it up, and many times she's ended up taking the thing home with her untouched! So, I went and 'messed up' the pinecone and sure enough, people ate it after that!

  14. the domestic mama
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

    LOL! That is so funny! I love that post- thank's for reposting! I would have never found it!

  15. Mary
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    You really did start my day with a smile. My favorite pot luck was the one to which everyone brought macaroni salad. I love your blog and will be back often to visit.

  16. Mominem
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

    We had a potluck breakfast at work. One woman brought two breakfast pizzas: sausage, eggs, potatoes, cheese, etc. It looked really good. The problem? She brought them wrapped in old bath towels. No foil; no plastic wrap; just old bath towels nestled against the cheese.

  17. Lisa
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

    You are so funny!

    I was just at a Blue and Gold Cub Scout potluck. I didn't eat. I don't want to think too hard about why.

  18. HoneyB
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

    LOL, Oh my lordy! This is exactly what I needed to end my workday on! I really get a kick out of the Noble Pig and the litter on the counter….uh huh. I will make sure to disinfect my counters every time I am now ready to cook or bake cause that picture will come to my mind.

  19. gfe--gluten free easily
    Posted February 27, 2010 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    Thanks so much for reposting this one, Robin, and especially including my pot luck horror story! These made me laugh like crazy all over again.

    We actually have a pot luck every month for my gluten-free group meetings, but the food is fabulous and I've eaten at everyone's homes and trust all of it. Pot lucks are really a crap shoot most of the time though. I do agree with the person who said she relied on her own food and so did her husband. That's even more true now that I eat gluten free. Oh, and next time, we visit Tortola, I'll be thinking about all the aluminum foil action. LOL


  20. Natasha
    Posted February 28, 2010 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    Oh so true, this made my morning! Church tonight but no potluck…phew! Ours always does the main food catered so I can at least down a nicely prepared hamburger if I get in line before the family of 16 gets there.

  21. Sarah
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 2:21 PM | Permalink

    I appreciated the potlucks we had at work; if you brought food, you got a 15 minute headstart over those who didn’t!

    This was a great post to read, so many (horrible) memories! Lol

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