Why No One Eats Your Food At The Holiday Potluck

by Brandi Jeter Riley
Originally Published: 
A decorated table filled with food waiting for families and friends to sit and celebrate a holiday
Getty Images | Erin Donalson

I have no problem admitting that I’m a total Christmas fiend. The moment the last witch rides away on her broom on Halloween, I’m at the window waiting for Rudolph and his friends to arrive. I love everything about the holidays, and spend the last two months of the year trying to mark everything I can off of my winter bucket list.

Christmas lights? Check.

Hot cocoa and movies? Yup.

Singing carols? Absolutely.

If it’s basic and related to the holidays, you can count me in.

Except, well, there’s one holiday tradition I just can’t get with. One event that folks keep pushing on me and every year I have to dig into my book of excuses because I can not do it.

I’m all about having Christmas spirit and really enjoy the social events that fill my calendar this time of year, but I hate, hate, HATE holiday potlucks.

The intention behind them is sweet. “Hey y’all, let’s all come together and break bread! It’ll be fun!” And it always sounds like fun. Until you look at the guest list and realize, “Oh shit. I have to eat food made in kitchens I have not seen, by people whose cleanliness I have not assessed, who live in homes also occupied by animals that may or may not have boundaries.”

It makes my stomach hurt to think about it.

While I know several people who feel the same way I do about holiday potlucks, we’re outnumbered by those of you who insist on subjecting us to them every year. I just want to know why. Why can’t we just put our money together and order sandwiches from the deli, or a get a cheese tray from the supermarket and call it a day? Better yet, let’s pick up some pastries and coffee from the bakery and focus on the fellowship because I really don’t want to eat your food.

It’s not just me, either. You know how there’s always tons of whatever you made left over after the potluck? There’s a reason for it. No one ate your potato salad, macaroni and cheese, or ambrosia — and it’s not because they were too full or they just ate. Oh no, it goes deeper than that, and for the first time ever, I’m letting y’all know why no one eats your food at the holiday potluck.

1. Your nails are too long.

This might just be the reason I don’t eat your food at the potluck, but long nails in the kitchen bother me. I’m always concerned that they’re never all the way clean. Who knows what kind of diseases can be passed on in the food from your ridiculous claws? No thanks. I’ll just eat bread.

2. We know how much you love your cat.

I’m all for folks loving their animals. I don’t have one of my own, but I get it. What I don’t understand is how you allow the same animal that walks barefoot outdoors, poops without wiping their butt, and constantly licks themselves to sit on your counter or stove where the food is prepared. I mean, there’s cat hair all up in the pasta! Nope. Can’t do it.

3. Your recipe is too creative.

For some reason, people love to test out new recipes at potlucks. Maybe it’s because they want to impress their friends, or it’s a fun challenge. Whatever the case, potlucks are not the place to get all experimental. You never bring cold cuts or a fruit tray. It’s always “Chocolate cake, but with a surprise ingredient!” We’re not interested in your weird cake, girlfriend. Nobody wants it.

4. Your nail polish is chipped.

Again with the nails, right? Chipped nail polish and cooking is my #1 pet peeve. Where does the chipped polish go? If you’re molding meatballs and have to dig your hands into ground turkey and your polish is chipping, isn’t there a good chance that it could end up in my meatball? Just thinking about it makes me sick. Your lack of a proper manicure is just another reason no one is eating your food at the potluck.

5. You don’t wash your hands when you leave the bathroom.

Yes, Friend, you have to wash your hands after you use the bathroom, even if you’ve only just peed. And even if you’re at home. And even if no one is around to know better. Whether you slipped up and let it be known that you don’t feel like hand washing is that important, or you were caught in the act of “tinkle no sprinkle,” you’ve been branded. We’re not going to eat your pee-pee platter. It’s just too risky.

6. There are raisins in your dish.

Why do you keep putting raisins in stuff? Dead grapes are not for every occasion. They don’t add flavor, and they don’t even make food look better. The fact that you’re so committed to them, though, is why your food goes uneaten year after year at the potluck. RAISINS BELONG IN TRAIL MIX. That’s it. Stop trying to make raisins in food happen.

7. You’re always playing with your hair.

You twist your hair up into a ponytail. You take it down. It’s tucked behind your ears, and now it’s being brushed to one side. Everyone has been observing you and your hair games since forever. While it doesn’t bother us normally, knowing that you are playing with your hair while cooking food that we’re about to consume is a big turn off. I don’t want your tresses in my food, Sis. None of us do.

8. You never cover your mouth when you sneeze.

The holiday season and flu season coincide, so it makes sense that you might have to sneeze at some point during this time of year. When I’m cooking and I sneeze, I step away from whatever I’m cooking, sneeze into my sleeve, and then wash my hands. I do that anywhere I am. If water isn’t available, I use hand sanitizer. You don’t do that, though, do you? You sneeze wherever, whenever with no regard for anyone or anything else. I am not trying to catch a cold from your infected casserole.

I’m sorry I had to be the one to break all of this to you, but I promise I’m not being a Grinch. Look at it as me saving you time. Instead of spending hours in the kitchen cooking something no one is going to eat, you can stop at the grocery store, pick up a veggie tray, and have more time to cross things off of your holiday bucket list. Just think of me as Mrs. Claus. No, no, no! Nooooo potlucks!

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