5 Tips for Throwing a Raging Potluck


I am a big fan of potlucks.  My young adult group, and baptism class folks will tell you this as fact.  So I am always planning them.  In my experience, here are 5 tips for throwing a raging potluck of awesomeness.

5.  Farmer Sausage.  Someone has to bring some meat.  It is central to any good potluck.  We are Mennonite and nothing screams Mennonite more than PRAIRIE farmer sausage.  Canadian prairie in particular.  Farmer sausage from Saskatchewan is great, but farmer sausage from Manitoba is straight from heaven.

4.  Make sure it is not all salad.  Last year before our first Baptism class of the year I asked everyone to bring something for our potluck lunch.  Excited because I love potlucks, I showed up to see that every single person brought salad… and yes, I brought a salad too.  Devastating.  If you feel this is a real danger, send the youtube video below via email, or other social media.  It serves as a good warning.

3.  That Jell-O with the fruit in it is really really good.  Make sure someone brings it.  It shouldn’t be good though because frankly it looks gross.  But it is awesome.  I don’t know who thought of it, but they are a potluck dessert champion and deserve the most elite of Mennonite status… whether they are ethnic Mennonite or not… Winking smile

2.  Don’t spike the church juice.  It’s not that kind of party.  Though if the juice has fermented long enough in the fridge it may unintentionally turn into one.

1. Guilt the people who are eating at the potluck but didn’t bring anything.  They will learn for next time.  Every potluck has them.  They are like ninjas.  They are unseen but you know they are there lurking in the shadows.  And they are freeloading.  Seek them out.  Find them and passive aggressively let them know that freeloading is not how your potluck rolls.

What would you add to this list?


  1. Pingback: 5 Tips for Throwing a Raging Potluck | My CMS
  2. Rob Sparks · April 9, 2013

    Reblogged this on christocentricity and commented:
    This is too good not to pass on.

  3. Waltrude Gortzen · April 9, 2013

    Too funny but soooooooo true! ! ! !

  4. Heather · April 9, 2013

    You omitted potatoes from your list of must-haves! It’s not a REAL potluck if you can’t find potato salad, scalloped potatoes, ham and beans with potatoes, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes with onions, or some other potato concoction.

    Yum. Who’s up for a potluck?

    • Chris Lenshyn · April 9, 2013

      Of course potatoes! It was hard to narrow it down. I love potatoes, but when it is more onion than potato I have a problem.

      That said, cheeeeeeeesy scallop potatoes are the best!

      • Robert Martin · April 9, 2013

        Pasta… we must have pasta…

        Now.., if you can blend cheese, potatoes, pasta, and meat together… well… Win win!

      • Chris Lenshyn · April 9, 2013

        Yes pasta at a potluck can be good. Personally, I just don’t like cold pasta…

      • Robert Martin · April 9, 2013

        Hence why it must be hot pasta… lasagna, spaghetti in the crock-pot, macaroni beef casserole.. you know…. pasta… I don’t count macaroni salad as “pasta”…that’s salad with noodles in it….

  5. Elsie Hannah Ruth Rempel · April 9, 2013

    What happened to the desserts? Ever tried bringing “healthyish” desserts to a Potluck. You can almost always bring them back home, while the way too sweet ones disappear. Strange, eh?

  6. NL · April 9, 2013

    Interesting thoughts! 🙂

    …So with food being so important to Mennonite values, I’d just like to add that think a great potluck includes people and foods (or sometimes even the lack of great food) from all kinds of situations.

    As someone with health problems who often forgoes showing up at events for lack of strength or money, it’s nice to feel welcome even if I can’t come prepared. I often debate about not going to things, but if one is welcome as they are, that can make all the difference.

    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a potluck that literally ran out of food (it’s often the extreme the opposite!). And yet I think there is often enough the odd person who won’t join in on a gathering because they don’t know what they could possibly offer….other than their presence. And someone’s presence is valuable.

    Some of us have to forego eating for one or more days a week to just stay in budget, so a potluck can be a killer on that kind of a budget unfortunately. Much cheaper and less embarassing to stay home alone and eat a couple eggs!

    With the overabundance of food that most people have in their pantries, I think having gracious potlucks that welcome everyone just makes sense, since a well-rounded group does include folks from all kinds of situations. It’s not about freeloading because no one is ever actually proud of showing up empty-handed. Except maybe Ninjas 🙂 .

    I think Paul touches on this kind of topic when he talks about communion dinners and the contrast of rich and poor, and also in Acts (chapter 2?) you see the same idea of inclusiveness and making sure that no one has to feel left out. Better not to have a potluck than to be exclusive, right? Just something to keep in mind, when not everyone may know if they could feel welcome or not.

    I also think of when Jesus said to invite fringe people to our feasts. Maybe I’ve taken the risk of embarassing myself by wirting all this…but on the other hand, maybe God has allowed me to be amongst the ‘poor’ so that I could understand where many other folks on the fringe may be coming from…

    • Betty Rempel · April 10, 2013

      For those who believe they have to forgo eating for one or two days per week to stay in budget, please avail yourselves of community kitchens or cooking classes where one can learn how to feed oneself nutritiously and cheaply. Not all nutritious food is expensive. For example, turkey often comes on sale for less than $1/pound. Ham is also inexpensive. Cook once, freeze in portions and food for many meals. Fresh vegetables also provide high nutrition for minimal cash. As well, attending a potluck doesn’t mean you have to bring a huge amount. A small bowl of something is just as welcome as a huge one.

      • Chris Lenshyn · April 10, 2013


        Katrina and I just started making larger meals and freezing them into quick and easy suppers for crazy evenings! Turkey for less than 1$/pound? NICE!

    • Chris Lenshyn · April 10, 2013

      I love this. You’ve bascially developed here a theology of a potluck. Being tongue and cheek with #1, it is important to recognize that one beautiful dynamic of the potluck is the sharing of food even for those who didn’t bring anything for whatever the reason…

      Thanks for your words!!

  7. Thrift Shopper for Peace · April 9, 2013

    Chris, you and Katrina need to join GIM. potluck every sunday and i’m sure all of the tings you mentioned have shown up at least once. high carb and protein, that’s a potluck!

    • Chris Lenshyn · April 10, 2013

      Yup. High carb and protein is a dynamic duo of greatness.

      We are always up for a potluck!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s