Potluck Sign-Up Sheet - Free to Print
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Potluck Sign-up Sheet
Potluck Sign-up Sheet - Free to print (PDF file).
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Here's a handy sign-up sheet for your next potluck. There are spaces for name, dish, and contact information. Click here to print.

Did you know? The term potluck comes from pot + luck, and was used in English as far back as at least the 1500s to describe a meal featuring whatever food a host had available, served to surprise guests. For example, the potluck might be a mystery stew stuffed with anything and everything pulled from the larder.

Among the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest, the term potlatch is a gift-giving feast. In modern usage, the centuries-old English term potluck describes a combination of these two meanings--a feast for a large number of guests, and a surprise (since no one is ever quite certain what other guests are bringing).
Proper potluck etiquette is essential to ensure that the gathering is enjoyable, respectful, and safe for everyone involved. Here are some guidelines to follow when participating in a potluck:

RSVP: Respond promptly to the invitation and indicate what dish you plan to bring. This helps the host plan the menu and ensures there is a variety of foods.

Communication: Coordinate with the host or other participants to avoid duplication of dishes and to ensure a balanced menu with appetizers, main dishes, sides, and desserts.

Follow Instructions: If the host has specified dietary restrictions or themes (e.g., vegetarian, gluten-free, international cuisine), respect these guidelines when choosing your dish.

Prepare Ahead: Prepare your dish in advance so that it's ready to serve when you arrive. Avoid cooking or assembling your dish at the host's home, as this can create congestion in the kitchen.

Label Your Dish: Clearly label your dish with your name and any allergens or special ingredients it may contain (e.g., nuts, dairy). This helps guests with dietary restrictions or allergies make informed choices.

Bring Serving Utensils: Don't forget to bring appropriate serving utensils for your dish. This includes spoons, tongs, or forks, as needed.

Arrive on Time: Arrive at the potluck on time or slightly early. This allows the host to manage the flow of dishes and ensures that hot foods are served at the right temperature.

Help Set Up: Offer to help the host with any setup tasks, such as arranging tables, setting out plates and cutlery, and preparing drinks.

Be Generous: Bring enough food to serve the anticipated number of guests, and consider the portion size for the type of dish you're bringing. It's better to have leftovers than to run out.

Respect Dietary Choices: Be considerate of guests' dietary restrictions or choices. Avoid making comments or judgments about what others choose to eat or not eat.

Try a Bit of Everything: It's polite to sample a small portion of several dishes, even if you're not familiar with or particularly fond of certain foods. It shows appreciation for others' efforts.

Compliment the Cooks
: Express your gratitude and compliment the cooks on their dishes. Positive feedback is always appreciated.

Respect Allergies: If you have food allergies or dietary restrictions, let others know and take precautions to avoid foods that may pose a risk to your health.

Clean Up After Yourself: Dispose of any waste properly, return serving utensils, and help with clean-up as needed. Leaving a clean and tidy space is courteous.

Respect the Host's Home: Treat the host's home with care and respect. Avoid wandering into private areas or touching items without permission.

Thank the Host: Send a thank-you note or express your gratitude to the host for organizing the potluck and welcoming everyone into their home.

Safety First: Ensure that your dish is prepared, stored, and transported safely to prevent foodborne illnesses. Follow food safety guidelines and consider temperature-sensitive dishes.

Participate Positively: Engage in conversations, get to know other guests, and contribute to the overall enjoyment of the event.

By following these potluck etiquette guidelines, you can contribute to a pleasant and harmonious gathering where everyone feels welcome and appreciated.