Whenever there’s a “bring a dish to share” event, I get a little stressed out. I want to cook something I love to eat, but I feel pressured to bring something that represents my “healthy” reputation; something that proves to everyone that healthy food can taste great. I also want to bring something that’s going to be easy to make and transport and result in praise and impressed comments from the other attendees. That dish should also be impressive, because I am a food blogger after all and I have tons of saved recipes just waiting to be tried out.
Of course, no one else is thinking that deeply about their food or mine.
Lately I’ve also been thinking about the idea of a signature dish…or two. It would be awesome to know immediately what I’m bringing to shared dish events. For a while, I was bringing Mediterranean pasta salad to everything, but now I’m sort of over it. I want my signature dish to be something I’m really comfortable making and want to share with others. Something that I could maybe put my own spin on.
For this year’s work potluck, the sign up sheet went up on last Wednesday and everyone was allowed to bring anything they wanted (in the past we’ve been assigned courses by department). I didn’t want to wait long to sign up. Initially I thought about vegetarian dip, but someone else was already bringing buffalo chicken dip, so that seemed like overkill. I settled on baked ziti (thanks for the recipe, mom!) and cheesecake-swirled brownies.
When one of my coworkers saw that I’d brought cheesecake-swirled brownies for today’s potluck lunch they immediately said “Oh, you brought dessert! You always make such good desserts.” So maybe I do have a reputation after all. And as the lunch conversation progressed later in the day, there was a length discussion about baking and people’s feelings about it. I was reminded that not everyone shares my love for cooking and I need to remember to enjoy it — not stress about it. And that maybe bringing dessert is my scene after all.