Feeding a Crowd
This month's recipe feature has what may seem like a less-than-glamorous subject: potluck dinners. We chose it in part because of the current economic crunch. When you want to entertain but can't quite foot the bill to feed a crowd, a BYO meal can be a fun alternative.
And yet, like any buffet, potlucks can be perilous when you have diabetes. Perhaps even more so: There's added incentive to taste as many dishes as you can, since your friends have done the cooking.
Here at the magazine, we have a potluck each December to celebrate with our colleagues in the publications department. It's a chance for people to show off their cookery skills, and also a nice opportunity to mingle before everyone disappears for the holidays.
My contribution is always the same: I go to the supermarket and buy the loveliest fruit I can find, not just the usual winter citrus but also stuff like pineapples and pomegranates and papayas. About half an hour before our lunch, I tie on my stripy apron and start cutting up fruit in the office kitchen. Sometimes this has turned into two or three fruit salads; other times I've done a couple of platters layered with carefully arranged pieces. When the food is of very good quality, improvisation is part of the fun.
My tradition also allows me to test a favorite hypothesis: that even people who don't normally eat a lot of fruit will choose to do so if it is ripe and well presented (as opposed to the desultory chopped melon or canned citrus that is often passed off as fruit salad). There's not much science to this experiment, but I have seen other staffers try fruits they'd never seen before, and tuck into them with as much excitement as they bring to the other desserts.
Bringing healthy food to the table ensures that you've got some nutritionally good choices at mealtime. But it's also a good way to show that you care about everyone else.