A Dish To Pass

There's only one thing I want in the new year (you know, besides peace, the brotherhood of mankind, personal holiness and children so good I'd never have to worry about 'em). My demand is simple, and it regards socializing with families. I want a return to the original understanding of "pot luck." Two rules seem to have been forgotten.
  • First, no inviting people to dinner and then sucker-punching them with the news they'll be providing it. ("You can come? Great --what can you bring?") You have to characterize the event up-front: "We're hosting a pot-luck Friday night..." I'm not too fancy for a pot-luck, but I need to be the one who decides whether I'll have time to cook or make an extra shopping run to buy ingredients for an unexpected menu item, see?
  • Second, a certain haphazard quality to the menu is part of the charm of this low-key affair. It's a great way to get families together simply and inexpensively --or at the last minute-- but in that case, "A-M bring a side dish, N-Z bring salad or dessert" is the maximum meddling one's allowed (alternatively, "bring something to go with the ham I'm baking...").

See, it's called "pot luck" because you're stuck with your luck. If you want a composed menu, that's called a dinner party.