Potluck? How about a potlazy?

I thought about titling this blog post “Reinventing: Potlucks”, but decided against it because I come not to abolish potlucks, but to provide an alternative that is superior in certain situations. Some situations call for a potluck, so don’t throw away your famous 7-layer bean dip recicpe just yet. But other situations? They’re just screaming for a potlazy.

The idea for a potlazy was inspired by what we had at my previous work which I called “Grazing Day“. It was billed as a potluck, but there were so many snacky foods that you basically just snacked all day.  Some people did get stuck with having to bring in some of the more complex dishes though. Those people would have a crockpot in their cubicle until it was lunch time.

The hard thing about potlucks at my new job is that since a lot of us don’t have parking privileges, we can’t drive to work. And bringing a crockpot on the bus is difficult. So we either decide not to participate, or try to figure out what we can bring that can transport easily. And some people are just busy that they’re not able to prep something the night before and end up not bringing anything. Then you have to figure out a good time to sneak out or be ashamed when people ask what you brought.

My proposal? A potlazy. Bring whatever you want to share. The only rule is that it can’t take a lot of effort. This eliminates the oneupsmanship and puts those that don’t cook on an even playing field. Here’s a list of suggested potlazy items:

  • Bag of chips (and jar of salsa if you want to get fancy)
  • Pop
  • Beef jerky
  • Bag of candy
  • Oreos or other packaged cookies
This would make a great potlazy spread.

This would make a great potlazy spread.

And if you want to bring something hot for a main dish, there’s plenty of options:

  • Bucket of chicken
  • Bag of McDoubles (cut McDoubles in half to make them go further)
  • Hot-n-Ready pizzas
  • Cheesey breadsticks

The great thing about many of the cold items is that you can prep the night before or prep a month before. Or just run by a gas station early that morning. And none of it will stink up public transportation. Also, these items make cleanup a breeze. Take your bag, close the end, and shove in your desk and finish the rest later.  I don’t know about you, but that seems superior to “figure out what to do with the cold potatoes au gratin with the burned edges in a crockpot” scenario.

The hot items may require minimal prep. And by “prep”, I mean pickup. They also require a definite starting time, as opposed to “just set out stuff when you arrive and eat throughout the day”. There’s a McDonald’s and KFC within walking distance of my work.  There isn’t a Little Caesar’s nearby, but there is a pizza place that sells cheesy breadsticks. Your situation may vary. Don’t make it too complex on yourself.

I know some of you are thinking, “Wait, this is just going to be a bunch of junk food! How will I get a balanced meal?” The answer is that you won’t. But it’s not like you have a balanced meal at a potluck either. This is no worse than snacking on Superbowl Sunday.

What would you bring to a potlazy?

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