Why Bringing Soup To A Potluck Is Bad Etiquette

Potluck dinners, a party where each attendee brings a dish to contribute, are a common way for neighbors and friends to socialize. By distributing cooking duties among all the partygoers, a potluck frees the host from spending days of preparation and cooking, and each participant can bring their favorite dishes to share. It is an egalitarian way of organizing a party without overburdening anyone.

However, just because the invite did not specify what to bring, it does not mean you can bring anything you want. And if you are invited to a potluck, bringing soup or stew is not the best move. Even discounting the fact that liquid dishes are hard to travel, soups and stews make for poor potluck contribution because most hosts might not have the right tools to serve them. Instead, bring something that is easily eaten on a plate with a fork or your hands.

Why soups and potlucks don't mix

There are two reasons why soups or stews are not great contributions to a potluck. For one, soups and stews are challenging to transport. Unless you live right next to your host, you would have to take a pot of scalding hot liquid from one place to another on the road, where a deep pothole or a flat tire can cause your potluck dish to spill all over the vehicle.

Another reason that soups are not great for a potluck is that they require extra serving equipment. As most hosts would opt for disposable plates and cutlery for easy cleanup, bringing a soup or stew means there are no appropriate bowls, spoons, and ladles to serve guests. Furthermore since soups and stews need to be kept hot, they have to be kept on the stove or in a plug-in slow cooker, causing inconvenience for the host as they need to watch the pot to prevent boiling over or burning. So, instead of bringing soup, bring a salad, an appetizer, or something that can be eaten on a plate, such as this king ranch chicken casserole.

Other potluck etiquette

As a guest at a potluck, there are many points of etiquette that you can observe to help create a good meal for all. Once invited, you should coordinate with all the guests regarding what you plan to bring. That way, there are no duplicate dishes, no excessive items of one type, and essential items such as cutlery and drinks are not overlooked. It is also a good idea to consult your host and your fellow guests if there are any dietary restrictions and provide appropriate accommodations. Finally, do not forget to bring the host a gift for graciously providing space and food for the event.

Finally, if you are the host of the potluck, there are a couple of tips that would make you a great host. Since some dishes will require reheating, set your oven to low before guests arrive to make sure their dishes can be heated up promptly. Having lots of paper towels and napkins on hand will make sure messes and spills can be cleaned up, and stocking up on coffee and tea will be appreciated by those who want a mug to go with dessert.