Summer in upstate New York is "dish to pass" season. I always called such things potlucks, but around here, it's dish to pass. We go to a lot of dish to pass parties in the summer. And because I don't have a standard dish that I always bring to these sorts of things, every dish to pass party is an opportunity for creativity. And public failure, of course, but I prefer to focus on the positive.
We're going to a dish to pass birthday party this afternoon. What to bring? Since we have an absurd amount of lettuce in the garden at the moment, a salad seems inevitable. The MiL will take care of that. Because we often go to these kinds of parties as a household, sometimes we'll cheat and only bring one dish. So if I have a particular idea of what to bring, the MiL is off the hook. If she knows what she wants to make, I don't have to worry about it.
A. just brings us. And his enormous appetite.
But this time, we'll be bringing two dishes, because I have part of a beef roast that really should be cooked today. So I have to figure out something to do with that that will be acceptable to a crowd of people. It also needs to be able to sit out on a table outside for a few hours without getting gross. Which means nothing that has to stay hot. I think I know what I'm going to do with it (quickly seared, sliced thin, served cold with a sauce . . . of some kind), but you just never know what I'm going to show up with! Because I'm wild and spontaneous like that.
And if it's a dismal failure, I know there will be lots of other food and no one will know that I MEANT to bring something and then screwed it up. The beauty of the dish to pass: other people unknowingly cover your ass.