Monday, May 24, 2010

The PERFECT potluck dish

This week I have been fairly busy with a lot of end-of-year banquets. It is typical annual stuff, mostly revolving around various teams and student send-offs. I always enjoy such events as it is probably the first and last time of the year that I can truly relax where nobody is really expecting much. If it is a catered affair, then I am really in heaven, since all the work is done for me. However, many events require some kind of pot-luck dish which should be a real PERFECT crowd pleaser if at all possible.

Somewhere in my past, I magically became the ‘bean man’. Now I find this title of mirth disturbing and not completely reverent of the care I take in preparing a highly seasoned and aromatic tray of baked beans. If I am particularly unhurried during the day, I might prepare my baked beans with strips of bacon or cut up little hot dogs. It always helps to add in a healthy portion of caramelized onion, your favorite brand BBQ sauce and a touch of garlic too. Cook ‘em slow and low to burn off excess moisture. It is kind of like a day spa for your beans.

But sadly I do not always have the time for the perfect party food and then I am reduced to warehouse club faire. Kids particularly like the pizza rolls but I can see the parent’s eyes narrow when I walk in with a tray of those greasy, caloric little pillows. No doubt they are planning to track me down in the future and blame me for their children’s struggles with obesity. Especially the swim team people seem to worry more about health so I will try to throw in a big bag of carrots to quell their health rebellion. I don’t prefer gutting fruit, so maybe grapes or watermelon is an ok party dish but forget the cantaloupe completely.

My pot-luck attention span, really turns lifeless if I am attending my own family functions. Yeah my Aunts, Uncles and Cousins will still love me no matter what, so for their parties I routinely show up with a cheesy smile and a bag of cheddar doodles to match. Nobody can then fault me for coming empty handed and they must surely appreciate the generous 3 minutes of thought that I put into grabbing the bag from the store. Sometimes if I am feeling particularly lucky, I might make some homemade salsa and chips for our personal family get-togethers. But with lots of touchy stomachs and bloaty GI tracts, the decision carries a modicum of risk. Oh yeah, you don’t have to ask – NO, ABSOSLUTELY NOT! Never again will ‘Bean Man’ (especially in a confined space) unleash his powerfully pleasurable legumes upon his own family. Let us just say this as gently as possible - I’ve “BEANO there and DONEO that!”


  1. Hello Mr. Bean Man! Nice to meet you. I feel your pain when it comes to deciding on what dish to take to a function. I was always known as the Rice Krispie Girl, as my specialty was rice krispie treats. It is so hard to come up with something "seasonal" that is easy to make, low in fat (my criteria) and cheap. Beans is a good choice for summer cookouts!

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