How can we make home potlucks a significant feature within SHC?

All of us are familiar with Home Potlucks.  To our friends and new acquaintances, it is always nice to cook a meal, invite others to bring something, and enjoy time together, get to know each other and find common interests.

Very often, the host has to put in a lot of effort to make sure the Home Potluck runs as planned, and the food and drinks are sufficient for the group.  The schedule has to be right, the cake just well baked, the curry hot and yet caters to those who have delicate lips, the apartment is cleaned, before and after the event and the guests are able to gel with one another.

If we are the sociable type, we always like to be invited.  If I find that someone else is invited, and I am not, I tend to sulk and wonder why I am to invited. Maybe, it’s another clique, and I am not in that group. Sometimes, we rather not put up a Post on a home potluck, for fear that we invite someone we dont like or we receive overwhelming responses.  Or maybe, we might have two persons who do not like one another, for whatever the reasons.

Then, if we have many responses, it will cost a lot to buy the food and the drinks.  And, it will also be a big headache to do the preparation and ooh, the clean-up.  Maybe, we can organise one or two Home Potlucks. But, how about every month?  No, sometimes, we think better not, to avoid all the headaches. It’s sad if these concerns prevent us from having regular Home Potlucks.  Some participants may not bring anything, and just say I shall drop in.  Others may bring an item, that two other members have brought along too.

Many of our members are excellent cooks, prepare great dishes and make beautiful kueh kueh.  Would it not be nice if we get to taste these foods?

How do we encourage Home cooked food?  Sometimes, words are better not said, but I tend to think that we should be open about having home potlucks, some guidelines maybe, some costs ideas?.   We then can call these home potlucks an SHC-style Home Potluck.  What about "Invite and be Invited"?

(Please do not point or push anyone who respond to this Post to organise a home potluck.  This can discourage views and opinions from being raised).  Let’s have open ideas and discussison on a SHC-style Home Potluck.

Terence Seah

14 thoughts on “How can we make home potlucks a significant feature within SHC?

  1. Hi Terence! Potlucks have proven to be very popular with SHC members. Whether they are held in a member’s home or in some other venue, the response has always been very good.

    I agree with you that there are several members who are excellent cooks. Mostly the ladies lah. I’ve come to know of some who bakes wonderful and yummy cupcakes and desserts. As for dishes, there’s always the ‘special’ dish almost every SHC lady can prepare.

    Sorry guys, I know some of you can cook very well but since I haven’t had the chance to taste your food I cannot comment…as yet…:p

    Terence, having a potluck at our homes means we have to limit the numbers of participants. We’re talking about the average living room cum dining room space in a HDB/Condo or even landed property residential units.

    Personally, I don’t mind visitors but not that many as my home is filled with lots of furniture and my grandchildren’s toys. Yeah, my home is like a mini branch of Toys ‘R’ Us…:(

    By the way, potluck means everyone brings along a dish so the host needs not do much except provision of drinks. Methink the ideal venue for potlucks is at the function rooms of condominiums.

    If there are any members living in condos who are willing to book the function room, that’ll be great as then the rental cost can be split amongst the participants. Shouldn’t cost much I believe. Again, there are restrictions to numbers of pax. The other alternative is, of course, a public park.


  2. hi Terence
    I’m for “potluck” – but not “home potluck” – because i’m not comfortable having guests/friends/etc at my home. Even at family’s potluck, my brother would book either the function room or BBQ pit, and it is the time for everyone to “showcase” their signature dish and creations for the day. Of course the busy ones would resort to “ta-pau” from the popular F&B outlets. I think my home/house remains my sanctuary, and unless i have a big bungalow, with sprawling spaces, i would find it difficult to organise “home potluck” at my home.. (By the way, can you remove the “Badminton group leader West” – Thanks)

  3. Hello Terence and all Shcians,

    What an excellent idea but not a ‘home’ potluck please. The number of participants will be small if it’s on our standard home ground and it will not meet your magic no of member-participants.

    An idea just cropped up. Terence, you can make Inez’s dream come true with ‘a bungalow with sprawling spaces’, hahaha, if anyone of our SHCians can book a Pasir Ris Govt Bungalow which faces the sea.It has a Kitchen cum Dining Rm and a large lounge and 4 bedrms and a good size Garden too.

    I have been to one some years ago. If I remember correctly, the applicant has to be a Govt/Stat Board Employee to be eligible to book it.It is usually a 3D package. It may take 3-6 months’ advanced booking. Now, I am sure some SHCians will remember this.

    Terence, please check this piece of info out and don’t accept/commit if bungalow does not face the sea.

    Good luck.

    Geok Suan.

  4. Hi Geok Suan, Rosalind, Inez,

    Thank you for your feedback on the advantages of having potlucks outside the home. For “Outside the home type of Potlucks”, I leave it to the initiatives of members to EO.

    In this Post, I am focused on the home potluck, the considerations, the costs, home cooking and small groups. I look forward to members sharing their thoughts on how to create the SHC-style home Potluck.

    Terence Seah

  5. Hi Terence

    Some time back, we had members who cooked or held classes at their homes for a small group and members paid for the ingrediet costs. After the cooking lessons, members sat down to enjoy the fruits of their labour. Its usually a group of 8 to 10 pax.

    Maybe we could revive this and see who wants to start the ball rolling.

    We can have theme makan sessions – “Su Kee” Hainanese chicken rice and mutton soup, “Ah Nya” Teochew muey, “Bonjour” French pies and tarts, “Liberty” American cheesecakes & cup cakes, “BiBi” Nyonya Kuih Kuih etc. If the host is going to do the cooking or demo, then it cannot be called potluck, no? If this is the case, the the host will include cost of ingredients, tea/coffe/soft drinks and other incidental charges. Total it and divide the cost amongst number of participants – limiting the number to 10 or 12. Estimated costs could be worked out in advance and members are informed of the price to pay. Registeration for the event be on a first pay first serve basis.

    When I retire, I would like to do this cooking and baking lessons at home where I will have company and at the same time earn some money from teaching 🙂

    If its potluck which is about bringing your specialty to the event, then it is good to have it somewhere where it can hold a big crowd. The more people, the more variety of food.

    Just my thoughts 🙂


  6. Hi Carly,
    Missed the last chilli-crabs and beer session at your new house warmming……Hrrrhh I think already 2 years liao – rite?
    Errrrh when can have another session of the Sri-Lanka Chilli-Crabs with cold beers huh?

    Hey TS,
    You reading this………..?????? 🙂

  7. Hi Terence,

    I used to have pot luck in my own home twice a year with most SHC friends and a few others non SHC. I usually send my private invitation by email to confirm how many can make it.

    I always limit to 10 visitors as my home cannot accommodate to many at a time. I request them to bring their speciality home cooked dish/es. For those who cannot cook, they will have to buy food /drinks instead.

    The main idea behind this potluck party is to appreciate one another’s home cooked dishes and enhance social interaction among SHCians. Some times we have “yam seng with red/white wine together” with food. I believe that in this manner we can have more time to know one another better and maintain our long lasting friendship. 🙂

    It would be good if SHC members can take turns to host these pot lucky parties in their own home.

    I agree with Geok Suan, Rosalind, Inez to have SHC pot luck parties OUTSIDE home in function rooms of condos so that there can be a MASS participation from members.

    Terence’s idea of having the SHC pot luck gathering 1 per month is indeed great esp. to those who enjoys eating.

  8. Hi StevenC, Caroline and members,

    I am supportive of Potlucks outside the home. However, I do see that “Home Potlucks” as an important direction in enhancing closer friendship among friends. Which brings me to suggest a SHC style Home Potluck.

    It is nice if invited guests bring along an item, if the items fit the lunch, dinner or tea menu. For those who are not able to make something, a cost contribution would be equally nice. Many of us are shy to talk about money and costs, especially if we are inviting. Which brings me to suggest that as part of an SHC style Home Potluck, we should have a cost per person. Talking around, I would think that $10 per person would be reasonable and acceptable. In this way, the host and family members would not think that the host has to shoulder all the costs of marketing, cooking, and cups, plates and tissue paper”.

    Of course, if the potluck is going to cost wayout, the host can suggest, but if it is a SHC style Home Potluck, the understood amount would be $10 per pax.

    Let’s make this as standard, so that no one needs to be shy to ask for money or talk about money.

    Your comments appreciated. What about other considerations?

    Terence Seah

  9. Ivan #6

    Yes, I am still reading this forum, although I have nothing to say.

    Carly have not invited me for a long time but I am patient and try to be nice to her so that I don’t have to ‘Tan Koo Koo”. She knows I like hot things.

  10. #5 Caroline Gee,

    Carly, your suggestion of having a home get-together makan session with some friends is a super idea. I’d do it when I know enough friends in SHC who I feel can ‘click’ with me. This means a private invitation and hence, cannot be posted in SHC’s website as an event. If not, it’ll be difficult to reject those who are ‘unknowns’ into the privacy of my abode. I’m sure everyone will agree with me on that. It takes time to know someone and even then, not everyone who I meet in SHC events will end up as friends who appreciate my extension of friendship by inviting them to my home.

    Terence, pot-lucks at homes are fine but like it was mentioned, the numbers of guests cannot exceed 10 pax. This means lesser members can participate. Our homes, especially HDB flat dwellers are constrainted spaces with family members moving about when they are home. On most evenings and weekends one or more family members are around so getting them to stay in their rooms for 4 or more hours while a potluck gathering is in progress is not possible…


  11. Ivan #6 and TS #9

    Yes, Ivan, its been a long time already. Will plan for one and will include you and dont go away this time.

    TS yes, I got the idea and you will be included too. Yes, really hot stuff for you 🙂


  12. Ros at #10

    I can understand how you feel. Some people may not be comfortable to have acquantances going into the privacy of their homes. Unlike those days in the Kampong where the doors are always open and anyone can just walk in and out, but then those who walk in and out are neighbours they know so well.

    I know, there will always be the special few whom members would want in their homes. I too, would be very happy to cook for those whom I consider my good friends. So it does not serve its purpose to have potluck at homes of members since there will still be this selective invitation. Hmm…


  13. I guess we can leave it to each member to organize their own home potluck. Such activities at your own home requires a certain of intimacy which is cultivated through period of interaction. It marks the baptism of sort to an inner sanctum.

    Perhaps, it may be good if periodically we book government chalets ( any civil servant?) and let SHC members to bring their home cooked food, and to mingle and have games together. This could bring SHCians closer to each other.

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