Thursday, March 11, 2010


Oh, the perils that lurk out there in the cruel world! And apparently among these perils the previously unknown dangers of potluck.

I belong to Weight Watchers. Surely I’m the difficult one, the worst one in the meeting, like the alcoholic who leaves her AA meeting and picks up a six-pack on the way home. But I keep going to meetings despite my lack of success. So this week in Weight Watchers the weekly hand-out was about strategies for eating at events like family gatherings, including on page 5, a list of potluck survival strategies. These strategies include things like staying far from the cocktail nuts and close to the raw veggies. Why bother to go out if you have to stand near the raw veggies through the entire event?

The phrase “potluck survival” struck me as a bit ominous, a touch of fear-mongering. It reminded me of the Cuban missle crisis back in the 60s when we kept "survival kits" in our school lockers and people built bomb shelters in their backyards. Back then we were expecting the Russians to drop an atomic bomb on us at any minute. Is there really so much to fear at a family potluck? Truthfully, for me there’s more fear of wacky family members than there is of the food. So I’ve developed my own more realistic list of potluck survival tips:

  • Don’t bring a plate of raw veggies to a potluck or people will hate you. Instead bring a big bag of potato chips and that horrible dip that you make with the dry onion soup.
  • If you really are concerned about consuming too many calories, don’t use a turkey platter as your dinner plate and don’t refill it more than five times.
  • Remember to step away from the buffet table occasionally. Constant inhalation of fumes could render you senseless.
  • If your cousin’s weird husband Bert traps you in the corner, turn green and run to the bathroom like you’re going to barf.
  • It may be wise to pack a potluck survival kit. This would include items like a Swiss Army knife, a plastic tablecloth, water purification tablets, 9 volt batteries (don’t ask me to explain), and a comfortable pair of shoes.
  • Whatever you do, don’t bring either a jello mold or anything with marshmallows. It would be considered bad form and an insult to Aunt Ruthie who is the only one deigned worthy to bring such items.
  • Don’t eat the “roast beef”—it’s really not part of a cow and whatever it is has been in you brother’s freezer since 1972 when he went on that ill-fated hunting trip.

It's a jungle out there. Be careful and there and remember you gotta do what you gotta do to survive.

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