The Office Potluck-or how to become the office pariah


Let’s have a potluck!   Nothing strikes fear into the hearts and stomachs of the gluten, dairy and allergen stricken than a potluck sign up list.  Except maybe a catered office party.  But that is a subject for another blog.

The person or persons who decide that they are the most qualified to boost morale by making everyone cook and clean up their kitchen on a weeknight, will send a group email that goes something like this:

Hi Everyone!

Jill and I have decided that we need to boost morale around here-so to get everyone out of the doldrums, we are hosting a potluck for Blah, Blah, Blah day on Tuesday, April 10th.  Here is what we have so far:

Jill-Fried Chicken

Fred-Mac and Cheese

Steven-Macaroni Salad

Jim- Plates and cups

Pete-chips and soda


Bob-Deviled eggs



Sally-napkins and cutlery

Please email what you are bringing by 3 pm today. 


Once you see the email, panic sets in.  Your heart starts pounding as you notice yours is the only name that has a blank next to it.  The easy stuff has already been claimed(bastards!)  You wonder, can I be out sick that day-cough, cough….

The better part of the morning is spent discussing how Fred’s Mac and Cheese quote-better be good-unquote, and how he will earn “bragging rights”.  You clam up.  You wonder, how can I explain that I cannot eat any of this stuff?  How can I be nice and say, no thank you, I don’t wish to participate?

You grab the ear of the organizer-you know the type-the one who has to be in charge, who has to be the center of attention? The one will take your non-participation as a personal affront?

You send a carefully worded email, hoping she is having a good day:

Hi Jill

I know I have explained to you and everyone before, but I am gluten and dairy intolerant, and unfortunately won’t be able to participate.  Thank you though for thinking of me.

Five minutes after you send the email, Jill comes over with her list, pen in hand.  The Spanish Inquisition begins.

“What do you mean, you can’t participate?’

You smile while inwardly cringing and say; “I don’t see how I can”.

This does not dissuade her at all.

Jill answers, rather perturbed, “this is a team event, so we can boost morale.  You want to be part of the team, don’t you?”

Shifting uncomfortably in your seat, you reply; “yes, but I can’t eat anything.”

“Well, you can bring in the plates and napkins”.

You reply; “why would I bring in plates when I can’t eat anything?”

Jill sighs, as if you are not getting her train of thought.  You sigh also, because she is an inconsiderate twit.

“Let me think about it”, you say.  Maybe you can just jump off a building.  That would be so much easier.

Jill smirks, and leaves you alone; for now.

Ok, you think to yourself, I will bring in something I can eat.  Something gluten free.  Ok, I will be part of the team!  Rah Rah!!

You shoot Jill an email:

Hi Jill

Ok, I will bring in barbecue chicken in my crockpot.  You are right, I should be part of the team.

You leave out the Rah Rah!  You think this might be overkill.

She emails back:

Great, Thanks!  And sends out the amended list.

You know in your heart of hearts that:

A.  No one will eat your food

B.  If they do, no doubt it will be cross contaminated

C. There will be a lot of eye rolling when you don’t eat theirs

D. You will have to explain yourself over and over

E. You will end up in tears

So…..when Tuesday rolls around, you call out sick.  And you are stuck with 7 pounds of chicken.

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