It’s almost June. This year, that means one thing above all else in my house: It’s time for the big soccer tournament. I’ve hosted viewing parties before, having a few friends over with some simple snacks. But the 100th anniversary seems like a good reason to give the gathering a bit more bang. It doesn’t, however, have to mean way more work for me.
I get it: We feel obligated to be the perfect hostesses, to make sure everyone has a great time, to set out an abundant spread of food, to keep things moving flawlessly. But how many times have you been so occupied with the preparations and logistics of a party you’re hosting that you can’t even enjoy it or spend time with the people who came to see you? When I think back through holidays, birthdays, and other times I’ve hosted – the count is way too high. So that’s changing, starting with this year’s torneo.
Because the thing is, people do not mind bringing something potluck-style. Friends and family –and most guests, in general – prefer not showing up to festivities empty-handed. Besides, it’s a guarantee that everyone will have something they like to eat, so you can knock that worry right off the list. And remember, they’re coming over to spend time with you.
The match is just a reason to get together, but the “together” part is the reason to not just watch it from home. Embrace that spirit and everyone will have a great time.
Here are a few of my tactics for pulling off a potluck right:
I make a main dish myself . This alleviates any fears of people going hungry, or of having only light fare and nothing of substance to anchor the spread. This may be the occasion to embrace the slow cooker; they can do so much more than soup, and will do hours of work that you don’t have to.
Or take advantage of the warm summer weather and go with a chilled entree that you can make ahead of time—that way, when the party comes, all you have to do is pull it out of the fridge.
Divvy it up, and keep it uncomplicated : Simply ask half of your guests to bring some kind of salad, appetizer, or dessert, and the other half to bring something to drink. (I generally keep a few beverages on hand just as backup. If they don’t get consumed at the party, there’s always next weekend!)
Stock up on essentials. Buy bulk assortments of disposable plates, bowls, napkins, cups and utensils – you’ll be ready no matter what your guests bring to share, and you can always have fun with mixing up the colors based on team fandom. And hey: fewer dishes!
Use technology to your advantage . If you’re wary of leaving it so open-ended, good news: email and group texting make coordinating this sort of thing so much simpler than before.
The big match will be played in 10 cities this year – plus your living room. ¡Disfrútalo!
What’s your go-to dish for potluck parties? Let us know in the comments below.