Potluck Panic: Do You Stress About Getting Your Dishes Back?

We've all been there. You make your favorite chocolate pecan pie (or insert your go-to recipe here) for a holiday party or dinner, bring it to the hosts' house, and never see your grandmother's pie plate again.

Or you find the pie plate at the end of the night and there is one slice of pie left. Do you remove the pie and take home your sticky, pecan-covered dish? Or do you watch the plate like a hawk, hoping someone will take that last damn piece of pie? Do you wash the dirty dish in your friends' kitchen, surrounded by people drinking cocktails? Hello, buzzkill!

Or there's the other scenario, the "I'll return your pie plate the next time I see you," which probably won't happen until next December. Bah humbug.

Chances are, if you're not hosting a holiday gathering this year, you'll be bringing food to share at someone else's holiday gathering. And for some people, choosing what dish to take is even harder than choosing a recipe.

A few cooks I know put labels on the bottom of their "good dishes," with the hope that lost containers will find their way home again. Other people have a stash of potluck-worthy (ie: beat-up) dishware from thrift stores and yard sales. Transporting food in a disposable plastic Tupperware is a safe bet because you won't even notice if the container gets lost in the shuffle. But of course, it's not very festive-looking -- or eco-friendly.

There's something special about presenting food on a beautiful plate. Isn't that why we break out the wedding china during the holidays? Or maybe you reach for that battered casserole dish you picked up at a tag sale.

Like with gifts, it's what's inside that really counts.

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