Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Australian "Bring a Plate" Etiquette

"The official definition of a potluck is "a meal or party to which each of the guests contributes a dish," not a meal or party to which bringing a dish is optional. The latter is called a dinner party. Offering to bring a dish or a bottle of wine to a dinner party is polite, and you should always do that, too. At a potluck, bringing a dish is not polite. It is a requirement." From "Squid Ink at L.A. Weekly"

Have you ever been asked to “Bring A Plate”? Most people have, and it is a great way to divide and conquer.  You can feed a small army, or just a few friends, in an economical and delicious way. 

The expression “bring a plate” has long been common parlance in Australia, so much so it that appears on an Australian Migration Office list of slang that new arrivals need to know. Other cultures may call it ‘potluck.’

As a cultural tradition, it permeates picnics, barbecues, school events, even Christmas lunch. And increasingly it seems, the dinner party.

Fresh Catering’s executive chef Marco Adler says his approach when bringing a plate to a barbecue or dinner party, is to keep it simple. He also advocates making dishes that can be prepared in advance and served from the dish they are cooked in.

I work in hospitality and the pot-luck idea seems to be a growing trend. If you look at it from an economic standpoint, it takes a lot of pressure off the host. Not everyone can afford to host an extravagant party, so it brings a bit of humbleness to the party,” says Adler, who was awarded Caterer of the Year in 2013, as well as Best Caterer at a Major Event.

Bring a Plate Tips and Ideas:

Tip 1: Simply gather together your friends, family and colleagues.

Tip 2: Pick a date, time and location. This might be the local park, or somebody's home, to hold the breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Tip 3: As the organiser, make suggestions as to what type of food to bring and/or a theme. For example: Seafood. People can bring salad, dessert, hot and/or cold food.

Tip 4: Make sure there is enough seating, utensils and cutlery for everyone. Always plan for 15% extra, just in case people bring a friend.

Tip 5: Make sure there are sufficient bins and for each individual to throw away any packaging or paper-towels, plastic plates, cups and cutlery.

Tip 6: As for transporting food, if it’s perishable, you should limit the amount of time it’s not refrigerated and transport it in sealed, airtight containers.

ADDITIONAL GIFTS ARE OPTIONAL – Remember, since guests are providing the food, it is customary to accept the fact that the dish could be considered the only gift to you, or at least a portion of the gift. Encourage this and embrace it! You are saving thousands of dollars!

Food is love, and when prepared by your friends and family, it is love, as well as scrumptious scents in the air. The possibilities are endless. People will go out of their way to really show off their skills, and at the same time, impress you.

Having a successfully covered dish at a wedding reception is all about cooperation and fun with people who are important to you. Your friends and family will love the idea and probably go out of their way to really make it a spread that will impress everyone. If done correctly, your wedding reception could turn out to be much better than any catering company could ever deliver.

 The word pot-luck appears in 16th century England, in the work of Thomas Nashe. It appears to have meant,"food provided for an uninvited, or possibly unexpected, guest." Or, it could mean "the luck of the pot" referring to whatever food was on-hand.  The term "potluck" in Ireland, comes from a time when groups of Irish women would gather together and cook dinner. They only had one pot so they cooked the meal together with whatever ingredients they happened to have that day. Now, to the Irish, a potluck is a meal with no particular menu. Everyone participating brings a dish for all to share.
Below are our top ideas for when you need to “Bring A Plate” that are "nut free" and can feed all ages:

Fried rice

Potato Salad

Zucchini Slice

Pick “N” Mix Fritters

Apricot Coconut Balls

Rainbow Fruit Skewers

Pick “N” Mix Savoury Pancakes

Guacamole Dip with Vegetable Sticks

Vegetable Sausage Rolls

Gingerbread Men & Women

Pick “N” Mix Rice Paper Rolls

Baked Apple Tarts

Zucchini and Basil Muffins

Banana Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Chew Me Fruit Oat Bars

Zucchini Leek and Ricotta Frittata

Cheesy Vegemite Scrolls

Tomato Risotto Balls

Carrot Cup Cakes

Mini Puff Pizzas

From our newest contributor, Amanda King, of "Success with Manners." An International Business and Social Etiquette Training Facility in Australia and New Zealand. Amanda King's program is uniquely adapted to meet students' varied needs. Success with Manners Pty Ltd an International Etiquette, Finishing School and certification program is based on the traditional principles of the finest Swiss Finishing Schools, training in European Savoir-Vivre that extends well beyond basic manners to also include style, image and elegance.

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for 
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