Going to your first vegan potluck can be a bit daunting; what should I bring, what is expected of me, will I enjoy it? We will attempt to address any concerns you may have below and inspire you to come along and feel relaxed, welcomed and well-fed!
If I am not vegan, will I be welcome?
Yes, publicly advertised vegan potlucks usually encourage non-vegans to come along and see what all the fuss is about. It is a great way for people to try plant-based versions of their favourite dishes, not to mention all the foods that were already vegan (chips, rice, fruit, vegetables, many snack foods…). The purpose of the event will likely be to encourage more people to eat more vegan food, including vegetarians, pescatarians and omnivores. (Contrary to its popular use, no human is actually a carnivore, they don’t only eat meat; if they did they would not live very long.)
It is usually expected that you respect the purpose of the event and do not bring non-vegan food; please ask the organisers first if you think you have a good reason to bring some (perhaps it is baby food or for a specific diet or allergy).
Do I have to make some amazing vegan culinary masterpiece?
No, not at all. It is usually expected that you contribute something to the meal, but this can be as simple as a pot of hummus and some crisps. Fresh fruit or sliced raw/steamed vegetables make an excellent, healthy accompaniment, or shop-bought baked goods that happen to be vegan (like Coop jam donuts). Have a look for “accidentally vegan” groups online to find supermarket items that have no animal ingredients but are not made especially for vegans, they are often cheaper. And of course if you want to try your hand at something more adventurous, give it a go! If it doesn’t quite work out, bring it anyway and use it as a conversation starter!
What should I know or do about allergens?
f you make something, well done! It is also a good idea to bring a list of the ingredients you used. People may ask you for the recipe so they can have a try themselves, but it is also useful for people with allergies or intolerances. You may wish to label your dish if it includes or excludes particular ingredients, like nuts, gluten or soya. If you have bought something, simply bring the box or packaging to list all the ingredients. People with a serious allergy will likely ask to check ingredients but this is not always the case, particularly with children.
How much food should I take to a potluck party?
Bring a small to medium plate of food. You don’t need to bring enough to feed everyone at the party. If 12 people all bring enough to feed 12 people, that’s a heck of a lot of food! You might also want to take a lidded container along with you, in case you want to take some of the leftover food home with you. We have never yet had a potluck party when there have not been food left over after we have all eaten our fill.
What shall I do if I’m not sure about what to do or bring?
If in doubt, just ask the organiser. They have probably had the same question before and will be happy to answer.