h, the office party. That awkward social obligation where we try to mix the unmixable: fun and coworkers. There are several types of office parties, each with its own set of special circumstances to maximize awkwardness and minimize actual fun. The universal terribleness of these gatherings doesn't stop most companies from celebrating birthdays awkwardly with cake and singing, or holidays awkwardly with gift exchanges and forced merriment.
Office parties are ripe for awkward moments.
There are the classic mishaps — someone drinks too much; there’s an extremely inappropriate hook-up; an underling speaks too honestly to the boss, etc. But most of us manage to get through unscathed. At best, we stand around crudité platters and make small talk, wondering how much longer we have to stay. At worst, we stand in embarrassing dance circles, wondering how much longer we have to stay.
But when it comes to the office party, everyone knows it's all about the food.
Nothing is better than free food at work. When lunch is on them, we’re willing to sit through boring trainings with one eye on the cookie tray.
However, not all free food is created equal.
The worst kind of free office food appears at a potluck. Everyone brings in their “famous” dishes, and we get a glimpse into the private lives of people whose private lives we never wanted to glimpse.
Feelings about office potlucks are fairly universal.
It’s bad enough that we’re forced to socialize after-hours with our coworkers, but to do it with tepid, mediocre, questionably sanitary food is truly the worst. But we can’t avoid these situations, so we make the best of them. At least there’s usually alcohol.
We have a few beers and finally relent and try Holly from accounting's "famous" bean dip.
Wait, Holly has how many cats?
There are no firm rules about what to bring to a potluck, but there are basic considerations that we all should adhere to. If you volunteer to bring a classic, well-loved dish, you best be sure that you make that dish great. Or, at the very least, make it properly. Some recipes should not be messed with.
When you agree to bring a certain dish to a potluck, you are signing a social contract.
You’re agreeing to cook in a clean kitchen, with clean hands. You’re agreeing to make food that people like. Food that’s easy to eat at a party. And, you’re agreeing that the dish you’re calling mac and cheese, is, in fact, mac and cheese.
This seems obvious, right? But one woman’s tweet from her office potluck proves that not everyone complies with these basic tenets.