Potlucks used to be looked down upon, but who has the time or means to cook everything for a large party? Besides, it’s more fun to see what other people want to make and how they make it. Whether you’re attending a potluck or hosting one, you’ll need the right serving plates and platters. And, don’t forget—some summery decor, too.
One dish wonders
It’s a potluck. That means you’re fired from potlucks if there’s not at least one casserole on the table. Dishes like mac ’n’ cheese, tator tot casserole or pizza spaghetti casserole can be served straight from the oven in something classic like a Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware Covered Casserole Dish ($100). We’re partial to the classy Ocean color, exclusively at Williams-Sonoma.
Maybe you’re driving a longer distance and you want that hot dish to live up to its name. The Trellis Thermal Food Carrier ($24 at One Kings Lane) not only keeps things warm but looks good doing so. (Note: You can also use it for cold stuff). It’s 11 by 15 inches and has a handy handle for toting.
Hors d’oeuvres are a must-have for a potluck. Pigs in a blanket make a perfect appetizer or side. Tap into your inner prepster and spring for a Kate Spade Wickford Dachshund Hors d’oeuvres Tray ($59.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond) with adorably cute wiener dogs in blue and green—a great match for those little hot dogs.
Got chips and dip? The Swirl Chip & Dip Server ($19.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond) has a section in the middle for the dip and four swirly exterior partitions for your crackers, chips or veggies. I also like the B. Smith Lazy Susan with Serving Bowls Set ($39.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond), which has five separate dishes for a variety of snacks.
Swirl Chip & Dip Server (left) and B. Smith Lazy Susan with Serving Bowls Set
Also necessary is a plate specifically for deviled eggs, which you are totally bringing. They’re harder to pull off than they look, so you’ll want them to look good. The Everyday White Flower Egg Platter ($19.99) is shaped—yup—like a flower and has egg-shaped areas to hold your treats.
A good potluck dish is shrimp cocktail or, if you’re feeling really adventurous—and rich—sushi. However, fish needs to stay cold, or else you’re going to have some illin’ party guests. The Michael Graves Design Chilling Tray ($72 at JCPenney) does the hard work of keeping the fish cold while looking snazzy. A hidden compartment under the top plate holds a freezable gel ice pack to get the plate nice and cold. No one will know your little secret.
I love a good cheese plate, but I’ve never been able to serve it without it getting really messy. The B. Smith Cheese Serving Set ($49.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond) has everything you (and I) need in a cheese serving set: a small cutting board, four different knives (soft cheese knife, hard cheese knife spreader, a chisel knife for the hardest and crumbliest of cheese and a cheese fork), plus an indented area to put either the cheese or crackers. Genius.
Let them eat cake
There’s gonna be dessert, right? Right? Yes. But how to get that pretty cake that you slaved over for the last five hours to the party without messing it up? You just use a metal cake carrier from Cake Boss ($39.99 at Target), that’s how! The carrier has an adorable icing-like design and a cute red handle to make carrying from the car to the party simple.
Don’t Forget the Decor
Put a spin on the usual red-and-white checkered look and go for this Red Ticking Stripe Tablecloth ($69 at Pottery Barn) (also in green and blue) with matching napkins ($24 for a set of 4). And even though this is a potluck, you could also be picnicking. If you go that route, the Coleman Speckled Enameled Dining Ware Set ($40.54 at Amazon) has 24 lightweight pieces that are sturdy enough for the outdoors.
From left: Ticking Stripe Tablecloth (with matching napkins) and Coleman Speckled Enameled Dining Ware Set
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