It's Superbowl Weekend, Ya'll
Superbowl weekend means that your office undoubtedly had some type of community cooking event/party/dealio-thing going on this week.
If your office did something really cool, like an epic chili cookoff, or you had the "don't worry about it because the company is totally going to buy mountains of food and you don't have to do anything but stuff your face all day," then, well, the rest of us don't like you very much right now. But we'll get over it... eventually.
For most of us, our offices had some type of "everyone pitch in and bring something" event - what's more commonly known as the potluck:
If only office potlucks looked this good...
Photo credit: Flickr user Slow Food Seacoast
The potluck concept is an awesome one - everyone brings a little something that they prepared or bought, and then we all come together to enjoy the bounty of our communal benevolence. Nevermind the fact that we have to participate and bring something if we want to actually eat what others brought, we definitely do it out of the kindness of our hearts... and maybe the grumbling of our bellies. But regardless the reason, or size of your office, it seems every potluck has at least these 5 distinct types of potluck contributors:
1. The "I Got Drinks" Guy
We listed this guy first because without fail he is the first to call out exactly what he intends to bring when someone mentions the word "potluck" out loud. Much like calling "shotgun!" to claim the best spot of your friend's compact "4-seater" coupe before anyone else does, the drink guy makes sure he pounces on the drinks before you can even remember what holiday, birthday, or event the potluck is even for. And is it just me, or does the drink guy always end up buying the same thing every time, regardless if it's for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or National Milk and Cookies day?
Interjection - Apparently, National Milk and Cookies day is not a real thing, but it absolutely should be, so someone needs to run for office and make it happen stat. That is all.
Dude's got drinks.
Photo credit: Flickr user canarsiebk
2. The Veggie Platter-er
When it comes to "things every potluck will have but you gotta claim it fast," the veggie platter comes in a close second to the drinks. It's an easy, universally safe choice - you can find these things literally everywhere (seriously, even gas stations will have some form of a veggie platter... thing), they are relatively inexpensive, and no one can really say anything negative about them even though all you really did was just walk in a store, buy it, and leave. Because, after all, who is gonna hate on veggies? What, you don't like eating healthy, bro? Did your mommy make you eat ALL of your broccoli and now you wanna take it out on my sweet platter? Didn't think so. Here, have a celery stick.
Mmm... 'dem snap peas 'doe, am I right?
Photo credit: Chew on That
3. The Healthy Alternative Guru
"Did you try the cheese dip? It was good, wasn't it? Guess what?! It wasn't cheese! Haha, isn't that awesome?!"
Uh, no, I'm actually mildly freaking out right now. I had thought the dip tasted a little off, but then again I'm coming off 3.5 coffees and a donut for breakfast, so I just blamed the obvious. But, please, elaborate, before I panic - what did I just eat?
"It's actually Chreese®, a vegan cheese substitute that's made from nutritional yeast!"
Yeah... that's not helping.
Look, I think we can all agree that healthy alternatives to common not-so-healthy foods is a pretty cool and awesome thing. Every year, we're discovering more and more about just how great (and delicious!) it can be to eat a healthy diet, but you aren't going to win any points by trying to sneak in a surprise-it-isn't-real dish at the potluck. We still want our substitutes to taste pretty awesome and we want them to look appealing.
Pro Tip: Instead of going for direct-substitutes for a "gotcha" effect, opt instead for healthy alternatives that are enticing and don't have to hide. Greek yogurt and fresh fruit, dark chocolate chunks and dried cranberries, spicy black bean patties - these are delicious alternatives that can sway most carnivores to try something new and not feel duped. Also, leave the Quorn at home, unless you have some really open-minded coworkers who don't mind being told, "you just ate dried fungus!"
Mmmm... dried fungus culture mixed with egg albumen. :|
4. The "I've Seen Your Desk" Questionable Hygiene Chef
This contributor invariably brings some freaking delicious dishes to the potluck, dishes that you immediately make a beeline for before someone else does. But then, just as you're taking a double-helping scoop of that extra cheesy mac 'n cheese souffle, you absently ask aloud, "who made this awesomeness?" And you hear, "Dave, in Fulfillment."
Dave who--- oh... oh.
It's the same Dave who you're pretty sure has never washed his hands after using the restroom. The same Dave whose desk still has that empty bag of potato chips from last week. The same Dave whose bottle of hand sanitizer still has the shrink wrap fully intact around the cap. Yeah, that Dave.
But here's the real irony - if Dave's food looks good enough, you're still going to eat it. You might first mutter, "may this food be nourishment unto my body... and not sickness" and then pop a multivitamin after, but you know you're still going to eat it. Because Dave might not be the cleanest guy in the office, but dang it, that dude can make a killer mac 'n cheese souffle.
Dave doesn't have time to clean his desk. Dave's too busy perfecting his mac 'n cheese.
Photo credit: user envane at giantbomb
5. The "I Just Threw It Together" Humblebrag Pro Chef
I bet you are already thinking of someone in your office right now. You know the one, the coworker who always downplays their dish as if they just threw something together at the last minute, not sure how it would turn out, not considering it something special... except that it tastes like unicorn dreams in your mouth.
Every office has at least one of these quiet, humblebragging pro chefs, and once they are identified, it's like an unstated rule that everyone agrees to: go along with the ruse, smile and nod and say, "yeah, this is really good! You did this all at the last minute? Woooow, no way? It's really goooood. You have a gift! You should like toooootally get your own cooking show!"
Puh-lease. We know you were planning this thing out weeks ahead. We know you spent the last 72 hours doing some amazing combination of marinating, whisking, chilling, simmering, baking, and black magic. We don't care. We want more of it, so we're going to keep acting like we haven't caught on to your culinary secret, you amazing gift-from-the-food-gods you.
"I just threw something together real quick teehee" ...riiight.
Photo credit: Mowielicious
Alright, now I'm hungry again.
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