Come Together

Enjoy these tips for hosting shared food experiences, from potlucks to virtual cook-alongs.

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The only thing better than wonderful food is sharing it with others. Whether it’s a picnic, potluck gathering or virtual dinner party, there are endless ways to join together in the name of food. 

LOGGING ON

The world has changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result of social distancing efforts, many of us foodies have been deprived of some of our favorite pastimes, including going out for dinner, potlucks and dinner parties. 

Thankfully, we are living in a time when advances in technology allow us to connect with each other digitally 24/7. Skype, Zoom, and Facetime are just a few of the online platforms that support video calls, allowing dozens of people to hang out at once. If you are practicing social distancing, why not try hosting a virtual cook-along with friends and family? Decide on a recipe and send everyone the details. You can even announce the plans via a fun e-invitation! Then make the meal together in real-time. Not only will it switch things up, but you’ll be able to ask each other questions and share tips along the way. This is something our friends in long distance relationships have been doing for a long time, we are only just catching up! Alternatively, hop online and show everyone how to make your favorite cocktail. Planning virtual gatherings like this helps to curb the loneliness and anxiety that many of us may be feeling right now. 

If you are practicing social distancing, why not try hosting a virtual cook-along with friends and family?

Another way to connect from a distance is to prepare your favorite appetizer, main course and dessert, then drop it off to a friend or family member with instructions (i.e. how to reheat). As long as you make enough servings for yourself as well, decide on a time that works for all of you and share dinner together, virtually. Show off your pretty place settings, enjoy each other’s conversation, and pop a special bottle of wine or bubbles! 

THE POTLUCK

Potlucks are a casual, refreshing alternative to dinner parties. After all, many hands make light work! One of the best things about a potluck, is that they bring people together in the name of food. Sure, so do dinner parties, but there’s less stress involved in potlucks. That said, there are still a few key steps to hosting a successful one.

With more people affected by food allergies and dietary restrictions than ever before, it’s only fair to ask what accommodations should be taken into account when preparing food. Potlucks should be all about variety, so be sure to have everyone state the dish that they’re bringing so that there aren’t repeats. 

DIY stations and family style meals are a great idea for when you’re hosting guests for dinner and aren’t sure of their preferences.

Picking a dish that everyone loves can be stressful but there are some foods that are always crowd pleasers. These days, there’s no reason to stick to meatballs and pasta salad. There’s an incredible amount of mouth-watering vegetarian options out there to choose from. When it comes to spice? Err on the side of caution and assume everyone likes mild rather than ‘extreme’ heat levels.

While paper plates and plastic cutlery were once the go-to at potlucks, today’s fragile climate calls for sustainable alternatives. If your Amazon cart is already a little too full, scope out the selection of reusable cups and plates at your local thrift store or spend the minimum amount on them at a bargain store. 

SERVE YOURSELF

DIY stations and family style meals are a great idea for when you’re hosting guests for dinner and aren’t sure of their preferences. It’s technically called family style dining when the components of a meal are put on the table in bowls or plates so that everyone can serve themselves and it cuts down on preparation and plating time. This kind of assembly line arrangement saves time and allows for people to customize their food. Hotdogs, hamburgers and pasta stations are the most fun! If it’s a taco spread that you’re in the mood for, simply prepare the taco fillings and place in bowls for sharing, alongside your favorite fixings. Food stations are often seen at weddings and other large gatherings but they work well on a much smaller scale at home. 

As for phones, there is absolutely no place for them on the dinner table.

If you’re trying to keep things a little lighter, a DIY salad station is easy to make as well. Put out a couple different varieties of lettuce and various toppings, from croutons to chopped vegetables. A few salad dressing options are always appreciated and, if you have time, hard boiled eggs make a nice option too! 

ETIQUETTE REMAINS

No matter how you share food with others, table manners are still important. Sitting up straight and keeping your elbows off the table are two obvious ones. Try to avoid blowing on your food and speaking with food in your mouth, as well. As for phones, there is absolutely no place for them on the dinner table. If you absolutely must take a call or respond to a text message, politely excuse yourself from the table before doing so.