Plates Unknown: How To Host Your Best International Potluck

by Gennefer Gross

 

Anthony Bourdain taught us that the best way to learn about other cultures was through food. From curry to casseroles, international cuisines give us a glimpse into other country’s customs, and open us up to a whole new world of flavors. You can experience parts unknown for yourself by picking a place and planning a potluck party with friends. By featuring foods from that destination, each guest can learn about the origins of their dish.

The Thermomix® can make culinary journeys to far off places even easier with our worldwide database of recipes from users across continents. All of our recipes are 100 percent authentic to their region because we have a local recipe development team in every country where Thermomix® is available. So, you can tap into tastes from around the globe with the touch of a button. No travel required, except for your tastebuds!

Decide where you want to ‘go.’

One of the coolest things about food is that it takes you on a trip without ever needing to get on a plane. So, pick a country you’ve always wanted to travel to or try its food. Think lesser mainstream options like Morocco, Guatemala, Egypt, Africa, Portugal, Malaysia or Peru. Everyone’s tried Indian and Chinese food. The key is to expand your horizons and culinary repertoire. And don’t be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone. You’ll be amazed what you’ll discover when you open yourself up to new flavors and styles of cooking.

Assign courses.  

Everyone will be bringing a dish, and you don’t want to end up with a dozen appetizers or desserts and no entree, so be sure to assign each of your guests a specific course. Depending on the size of your party, you’ll want at least four to five appetizers, two to three entrees, and two desserts. (Adjust as needed based on your final number of guests.) You’ll also want to take into consideration their cooking skill level and any dietary restrictions they may have. You don’t want your vegan friend assigned to a lamb dish!

One of the key benefits of cooking with the Thermomix® is that you can create your own meals, sauces or smoothies so easily, it’s no longer an effort to eat better, fresher and healthier food. And with thousands of great Thermomix® recipes that cater to specific dietary requirements and offer clear nutritional information, you’ll always know exactly what’s in your food, allowing you to prepare delicious dishes that will meet yours and your guests’ needs with less stress.

Brush up on your history.

In addition to sampling the cuisine of your chosen country, you’ll want to learn about its origins to share with your guests. Here are some questions to research: What is the meaning behind the name of the dish? What year was it invented? Is there any historical significance to the style of cuisine? Why is it prepared a certain way? So, hop onto Google and get cracking. You’ll also want to let your guests know to research their selected dishes as well, so you can all exchange these interesting tidbits at the party. This will allow you to experience the meal with a whole new appreciation by understanding the culture and societal factors behind it.

Bring the destination to life.

Make your home or event space feel like you’re there. Buy decorations and signage representative of the country. Play their music. Serve their traditional beverages. Even think about dressing in their style of clothing so guests can feel like they’ve arrived at that destination. Spotlighting every element of your chosen destination will contribute to bringing the meal to life. Details matter when it comes to sampling exotic fare, and you want the surroundings to be as authentic as the food.

Embrace their customs.

Remember that not every country eats their meals around a table. If you’ve picked a place where people eat on the ground, set up pillows and trays for floor-side dining. If the natives of that land eat with their hands, you and your guests should, too. Even plating and serving should be taken into consideration so you can experience the food exactly the way you would if you were there. An entree in a clay bowl may taste very different than served on a ceramic plate, so find out how they eat in addition to what they eat. There’s a reason they eat their cuisine a certain way. To fully absorb those authentic flavors, you need to mirror exactly what they do. The Thermomix® community is an excellent resource to learn firsthand about their customs by connecting you directly with customers all over the world.

Above all, have fun! Food should be a celebration of life, and the best way to honor a culture’s cuisine is to enjoy the laughs and camaraderie of sharing it together.

Looking for international recipe inspiration? Activate your free Cookidoo® membership here!