One of the most impactful, favorite, and low-key parts of the Finland Exchange are the Potluck Dinner nights.
This is a great opportunity for player families who are not hosting Finnish kids for the week to bring the Exchange into their homes. Typically, potluck host homes coordinate the evening and help everyone else figure out what to bring. The idea is that every family chips in some food for the event (appetizer, meal, or dessert.)
As the potluck host, you should make it what you want. If your style is just pizza, soda, and beers, do that instead!
The Hospitality Committee will work on the logistics based on the number of volunteer hosts. Ellen Cohen is the coordinator for the Potluck evenings.
We’d like to keep teams together as much as possible, but that’s not guaranteed. And in most cases, teams will be split up (unless you have a house that can hold more than 60+ people!) If you’d like to be a potluck host, just indicate it on the form (no obligation at this time) and we will be in touch with more information.
**Families who are already hosting Finnish players in their homes that week are discouraged from being potluck hosts, so that other families have this opportunity to participate.
Never hosted a pot luck dinner before? Here is some advice from Marco Flavio Marinucci, founder of the blog Cook Here and Now (cookhereandnow.com), which organizes San Francisco–based potluck dinners
- Have a Theme
I don’t believe in hodgepodge potlucks. It’s important to create a theme; it can really surprise and delight guests, and get them excited about cooking. Try to move beyond generic themes, like Italian or Cantonese; instead, choose a specific ingredient, like sustainable seafood or heirloom tomatoes. That way, you get really different approaches that reflect each cook’s background, and you end up with dishes you might never have expected. Try to finalize the theme two weeks before the dinner so guests have time to come up with great recipes.
- Plan Out the Courses
Potluck should include every course—appetizers, soups or salads, entrées, desserts—as well as alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Always plan more than one for each course: Someone with the best intentions may bring an appetizer, for example, that does not work well, and you don’t want that to be the only choice on the table. Or someone may have to cancel at the last minute. For that reason, I think it’s important that the host always make the main dish—because then, it’s guaranteed to show up!
- Give Portion Guidelines
If you have 20 guests and two of them are making desserts, they should each prepare something that serves 10 people. The good thing with potlucks is that you don’t need to be exact—people generally will not eat a full portion of something when there are other options on the table. We usually have a lot of leftovers, which is great. Encourage people to bring their own to-go containers and to ask each cook for permission to bring home extras of his or her dish.
- Limit Last-Minute Preparations
For potlucks, cooks usually prepare dishes three hours before they are served, but not all dishes can wait that long. Try to find out which guests will need a stove burner or oven space, but encourage them to make as much of the dish in advance as they can. For example, vegetables can be grilled at home and then tossed into a salad on site.