Potluck etiquette (I know, snappy title, eh?)

Dear Home-Ec 101,

Heres one for ya.

With the summer party season coming up, I was hoping you could explain to me (and the Monster in Law) the proper ways to handle dishes and leftovers that a guest brings to your gathering.


Party at my house!

WinkIvy says:

Cool, I’ve been looking for a party to go to this weekend. Just kidding, I already have a party to go to, and conveniently enough, it’s a potluck. I was unsure of the exact etiquette for potlucks, so I whipped out my Peggy Post (Book! Sheesh, people!) and did some research.

The proper etiquette is for the hostess to hand back the dish with leftovers to the guest. The guest may ask the hostess if she would like to keep any leftovers, but is not obligated to. If a dish gets left behind, the guest- not the hostess- is the person under obligation to make sure they get their dish back.

Some additional potluck etiquette:

  • If you are a non-cook, ask if you can bring paper plates or cups. Other things to bring might be a bottle of wine, flowers for the table (already in a vase), or a fruit or veggie plate.
  • Remember you are trying to make things easier for the hostess, so bring your dish ready to serve and ask if you need to bring serving utensils.
  • Β It’s perfectly okay for the hostess to suggest to the guests what to bring. If the hostess doesn’t make suggestions, ask.

Have fun at your summer potlucks! I’m still trying to decide what to bring to the one I’m going to tomorrow. I’m up for suggestions, Home-Eckers!


  1. Rona on April 22, 2007 at 9:34 am

    Oh, I really appreciate the question and answer. My husband is always having potlucks at work.

  2. Mack on April 21, 2007 at 7:29 am

    knit addict is correct. Salsa gets hotter over time. As a side note, never eat salsa that is bubbling. (more frequent than you think)

    Etiquette shmetiquette, you’ll have to pry the leftovers from me.

    I’m think tamales and bean pie should make the naked twister interesting…

  3. knitaddict on April 20, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    no worries, hot salsa is da bomb! πŸ™‚

  4. Badbadivy on April 20, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    LOL, Knit, that’s baaaad.

  5. knitaddict on April 20, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Oooops Ivy, salsa gets hotter the longer it sits. My husband always makes me wait for 24 hours after he makes salsa…he says the flavor’s mesh and it gets hotter!

  6. Badbadivy on April 20, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    I hope you guys like your salsa HOT! I made some, it turned out a bit hotter than I had intended. πŸ˜€ Hopefully it will mellow a bit overnight.

  7. malia on April 20, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    Sounds like it’s going to be a tamale and tequila kind of night. I vote you bring chips and salsa in keeping with the pseudo-theme.

  8. Rachel on April 20, 2007 at 11:09 am

    I’m bringing the two bean tamale pie found at, where else, Home Ec 101!