Help needed ASAP - 50 to 60 @ 1pm "potluck"

2ajsmamaMarch 9, 2013

My dad's cousin is throwing a 100th birthday party for her dad - has rented a hall but is asking people to bring potluck. I think it's better to ask people to bring specific things rather than whatever they want. That way we could just ask for 3 large pans of sausage and peppers, 4 of meatballs, 5 of baked pasta/sauce/cheese, 3 green salads, etc. without overwhelming any one person or having an overcrowded buffet table trying to put all sorts of things out at once (just keep things in fridge/oven until needed).

She's already got 1 granddaughter bringing mac and cheese and sausage and peppers, someone else bringing baked beans, but I don't know how much.

What would be a good menu for 1pm party, a lot of big eaters in the family, we do have full kitchen but I'm not sure we have a lot of chafing dishes (I can buy disposable ones with sterno)? How much of each thing? Appetizers? I want to buy about 200 rolls so people can fill up on bread...

There is a cash bar, but also need some suggestions for drinks - I have a coffee urn if the hall only has a small drip maker, but we need soft drinks and again I don't know how much.

Party is less than 1 month away!

TIA

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camlan

Most of the potlucks I've been to, the hosts provide the meat portion of the meal and the guests provide the sides. That way, people can bring what they want and the hosts will still know that everyone will be fed. I'd be taken aback to be told exactly what to bring, especially if it were substantially more expensive than what other people were being told to bring--sausage and peppers is probably more expensive than mac & cheese, for example. And there's a fair chance I might not know how to cook a specific dish, for example, I've never cooked sausage and peppers in my life.

So, I'd suggest that the host provide the sausage and pepper and meatballs for the entire party. Then ask people to sign up for various *types* of dishes and let her know what they are planning on bringing.

"We are providing sausages & peppers and meatballs & sauce for everyone. We'd like people to bring the following (bring enough for your family plus 4 people OR bring enough for 8-10 people [all depends on how many people are coming]):

Salads: we need 6
Pasta dishes: we need 8
Rolls and butter: we need 5
Baked Beans: we need 2
Cooked vegetables: we need 5
Cheese and cracker platter: we need 2
Soda: Please bring your own for your family

The hosts of this party need to know how many people they are inviting. Once they know that number, there are any number of websites that will give suggestions on the amount of food necessary to feed that number of people. Then you can look at the kitchen on site and determine if all the food can be kept hot or cold with what's there, or if you will need to bring anything in.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 3:22PM
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gellchom

In my experience, people worry too much about even distribution of types of dishes at potlucks, and make a lot of work for themselves trying to organize it.

Usually the dishes sort themselves out pretty well anyway. But even if they don't, it's really no catastrophe if there are way more salads than desserts. Even if you divide it by category, you can still end up with all the dessert people bringing brownies or something. But it's not a big deal.

If you really want to try, the only way I've ever seen it work well that isn't a huge effort for the organizer, with emails and phone calls back and forth forever, is to do it something like this:

Last name starts with ...
A-G: bring appetizer
H-L: salad
M-R: side dish
S-Z: dessert

You can break it down further and include soda, bread, plates/cups/napkins, etc. Assign one person to bring ice. You can also ask each family to bring a bottle of soda.

If there is any way you can avoid having a cash bar, I'd advise it. If everyone is from a community where they are common, you may be okay. But if you're not certain of that, read the many strings on this forum and the wedding forum and see the objections, as well as suggestions that avoid this without breaking the bank.

At first I was thinking that as this is a potluck, it's sort of like potlucking the liquor, too. But on the other hand, people who have already provided the food for the party may be a bit miffed at then being charged for drinks, too.

So it's a know-your-audience thing. If this is, say, a group of cousins who always hold parties this way, forget what I said!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 6:31PM
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