I love potlucks. It’s probably just the fat girl in me, but I really enjoy sampling food that other people make. I am not as talented in the kitchen as I’d like to think I am, so I have made some really good dishes, but also some seriously disappointing ones. And it really hurts my feelings when I put a ton of effort into a dish and it doesn’t turn out the way I pictured it in my head. When someone brings a dish to a potluck, you can usually count on it being pretty good. Except that nasty green bean casserole and three bean salad. No offense to anyone who brings those to a potluck, but nobody eats that mess. That’s why your dish gets pushed down to the far end of the buffet table, so everyone can pretend their plate was too full to include your dish. Anywho, I’ve gone off on a tangent.
When you know you are going to be cooking for other people, you tend to put your best foot forward, right? And you like to believe that everyone else has the same level of consideration. That’s why I was always gung ho about trying out different foods at potlucks. My husband is the opposite, though. Being mindful of who brought which dish, he fills his plate with a few select items and doesn’t allow himself to feel guilty about not trying anything else. After an experience I had recently, I will likely adopt his mannerisms when it comes to eating from other people’s kitchens.
A woman I worked with once brought in a bowl of stew for me to try. I knew she was vegetarian, so I didn’t have to worry about consuming sneaky pork by-products. And I had forgotten my own lunch at home, so it was a win-win situation. I lifted a spoonful of the concoction to my nose and sniffed. I caught a whiff of spicy with a hint of sweet. I like spicy sweet, so that was another bonus. “Don’t mind any cat hairs you may find,” she said. With a completely straight face, mind you. “Ginger likes to sit on the counter next to the stove when I cook.” I paused with the spoon halfway to my mouth, all words shocked out of me. How do you respond to that? Don’t get me wrong, I love cats. In fact, I love them so much that when my kids go away to college, I plan to replace each of them with a cat. But I can tell you what ain’t fixin’ to happen: a cat sitting on my counter looking at me like he pays the bills. No, siree. That’s just the way to get yourself donated to the local community college’s biology program.
To avoid upsetting the woman, I gave the pretense of allowing the soup to cool. And never accepted another meal from her. I can truly say that I am a little more selective now, and I don’t shake my head at my husband when he passes up ten dishes at a potluck. You just never know when you might end up with some extra “seasoning” that you hadn’t bargained for.