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Published: Sunday December 22, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday December 22, 2013 MYT 10:58:48 AM

Better (pot) luck

Dig in: The office pot luck.

Dig in: The office pot luck.

You can’t just throw one of these together haphazardly – it takes organisation.

DESPITE its name, it would be wise not to leave things to luck when having a pot luck.

To start off, having a general theme is a good idea. It being the festive season, and if you don’t want to think too hard about it, the theme for a party at this time of year is manifest. But if you have Christmas parties every year, and want to do it differently sometimes, instead of a meal of traditional favourites, you can make it more challenging – and ultimately more fun – by throwing down a gauntlet, like an All White – or All Red – Christmas theme which extends to the menu as well. Or a Tropical Christmas, or for the Earth crusader, a Low-Impact Christmas. The possibilities are endless, really. Beyond that, it is up to the revellers how they want to interpret the theme.

If the desire is to have a proper meal – obviously a good idea – you may also want to make sure the meal will follow the usual course: starters, mains, desserts and some drinks. A tapas party, of course, is very fashionable, but obviously one would have to agree on it from the start so that everybody will bring tapas.

In a nutshell, some planning and coordination – or agreement at the very least – is required to organise a successful pot luck, but the idea is still to spread the work around and have a gotong royong do – an idea we dig in this part of the world.

It’s a great idea really, as a pot luck is a party that everyone owns, and allows folks to throw a party without feeling the pinch over costs. So, it’s especially suited for an office party – unless the boss wants to ta-pau the entire cost for hosting one.

So it was that we decided at Star2 to have a pot luck party. Only thing is none of us did any of the above, and really left it to luck, and almost ended with a not-so-lucky pot luck where everyone feted on desserts!

But luck was on our side, and someone at the last minute decided that we should have turkey, some pâté, salmon gravlax and plenty of crusty bread to go – not knowing what the rest were bringing – and we did have a proper year-end lunch after all. Apart from chicken and cauliflower mash, and stuffed peppers, dessert was in oversupply: Trifle, shortbread, cheesecake and a variety of cookies and bars.

Clockwise from top left: Aunty G's Eggless Fruit Cake from Ann Marie Chandy; Ming Teoh’s Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle; Salmon Gravlax from Julie Wong; Melody L. Goh’s Savoury Christmas Log On A Bed Of Snow; Ivy Soon’s Irish Shortbread Toffee Bars; Jane Ragavan’s Peppermint Meringue Mice; and S. Indramalar’s Cinnamon Monkey Bread Wreath.
Clockwise from top left: Aunty G's Eggless Fruit Cake from Ann Marie Chandy; Ming Teoh’s Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle; Salmon Gravlax from Julie Wong; Melody L. Goh’s Savoury Christmas Log On A Bed Of Snow; Ivy Soon’s Irish Shortbread Toffee Bars; Jane Ragavan’s Peppermint Meringue Mice; and S. Indramalar’s Cinnamon Monkey Bread Wreath.

But perhaps no one noticed the sweet surfeit as we were very happy – due to a sugar high perhaps! – to party and we did have plenty of food, and good food, in fact.

So, we survived the office pot luck and now have a game plan should there be a next time.

It goes without saying that organisation should start well in advance. And we discovered something called a “sign-up sheet” for having a pot luck. Instead of simply going around and getting a rough idea of what your colleagues would be bringing, have them fill out a form – whether a hard copy or online – to say what their dish would be: an appetiser, entree, a beverage or dessert, and even who would provide the plates and utensils.

The form should then be reviewed and the gaps or excesses in any category noted, and then corrected for a more satisfying meal. It might come to persuading people to change their dishes, which might not always be an easy task.

With only a couple more days to Christmas, should you find yourself in a pot luck situation, Star2 wishes to share with you two very easy recipes. Merry Christmas!

Related stories:

Recipe: Aunty G's Eggless Fruit Cake

Recipe: Salmon Gravlax

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Christmas food

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