“This Is Why I Don’t Do Potlucks”: 88 Examples Of Foods No One Should Eat

Ah, potlucks. Some people love them, some hate them, while others feel in between. In theory, they are these friendly events defined by a sharing spirit. Whether you’re hosting or attending, it can be a great way to throw an elaborate yet inexpensive party and get together to relish a wide variety of mouth-watering meals. After all, each person brings a homemade dish, a dessert… or a minefield of foodborne germs.

See, not everyone has the same sense of hygiene and cleanliness, and there’s an entire group over on Facebook dedicated to proving it. Aptly titled ‘This Is Why I Don’t Do Potlucks’, members of the community share awful, gross, and plain odd pictures to show you that eating food made by a co-worker who’s always covered in pet hair may not be the best idea.

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We at Bored Panda perused the group and wrapped up a compilation of pictures that might make you incredibly picky about whose potluck you’ll attend next. So continue scrolling to upvote the pics you loved to hate most, but be warned: they may ruin your appetite. Let us know your own potluck disasters in the comments, and if you’re interested in even more unappealing food content, check out our earlier piece right over here.


Image credits: Sally Poulson


Image credits: Sarah Slabodnik


Image credits: Sarah Slabodnik

We managed to get in touch with the creator of ‘This Is Why I Don’t Do Potlucks’, Sarah, who was kind enough to chat with us about the background of this entertaining group, its community, and the whole potluck paranoia phenomenon. When asked what inspired her to launch the page in the first place, Sarah explained it all began as a spin-off from her other Facebook group called ‘Messy Houses You Zoom In To See The Background Of’.

“We were getting so many gross food prep areas posted there that someone suggested making a separate group just for that. We got the title from the most common type of comment on those kinds of posts, which was that this was why people didn’t trust food from a potluck,” Sarah told Bored Panda.

As it turns out, thousands of people came forward to share their fear of the potluck. From that moment on, the group started steadily growing and amassing over 128k members who eagerly await new eyesores to grace their feeds, participate in discussions, and share their own opinions about their aversion to homemade food.


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When asked about the community, Sarah explained that it is made up of people from all over the world. “It’s mostly people from the States, but I bet many of our members would be surprised to know our group was created by a Canadian. I think a lot of people are drawn to our group because they’ll have had a bad experience with a potluck, food poisoning for example, and they’re happy to find there are more potluck weary people out there.”

“Some join because they love potlucks and don’t understand why we don’t,” the creator continued. “After a quick scroll on our page, they start to understand, and soon they become people who no longer do potlucks.”

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Sarah told us she and her fellow admins love managing ‘This Is Why I Don’t Do Potlucks’, although it can be tough at times. “There are some reoccurring debates in our group, like whether or not it’s acceptable to prepare food in a sink for example, and members are quick to pick their side and stick to it. Members can debate the food as much as they want, but if anyone gets out of line and starts criticizing other members instead of the food, we don’t put up with that.”

“Shame food, not people” is the number one rule of the group. The members are invited to share pictures of appalling food prep areas or gross meals in general, but bullying and degrading comments toward the posters or people in the photos are simply not tolerated. That’s why admins also ask the community to block out faces and names when submitting a post, although “this does not apply to publicly shared videos.” Moreover, another important rule to follow is that videos that waste food for entertainment are forbidden since they “are not why we don’t do potlucks.”


Image credits: Sarah Slabodnik


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As you’re scrolling through this list, you’re presented with heaps of evidence why potluck haters stay away from helping themselves to piles of casserole and slices of meatloaf at these gatherings. From questionable kitchen cleanliness to the lack of personal hygiene, potlucks are like a wheel of fortune where there’s always a chance to catch some food-poisoning bacteria.


Image credits: Rebekah J. Atnip Scaggs


Image credits: Sarah Slabodnik


Image credits: Sarah Slabodnik

We were curious to hear what posts make the community simply skeeved out by the whole potluck idea. According to Sarah, their most popular ones are where people cook in sinks, where cats are allowed on kitchen counters, and more recently, posts where flies have laid their eggs on people’s food.

“Many people weren’t aware that batting a fly away from your food isn’t enough. It takes milliseconds for a fly to deposit multiple eggs on your food. Now members are checking their own food, finding eggs and submitting the pictures in posts on a more regular basis. It’s the old ‘I knew this happened, but I never thought it would actually happen to me’ deal.”

“When my husband Mark (who also admins the group along with a man named Ronald) goes through posts to approve, and we’re not sure if it’s right for the group or not, we just go back to one question: Is this something that would make us not want to do a potluck?”


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The creator pointed out that potlucks are a great concept — in theory. “But in particular, after running this group for two years, I don’t know if I’ll ever eat at one again,” Sarah added. “There’s so much food being made unsupervised in different kitchens of questionable cleanliness. A comment I see in our group often is that it’s not only the posts that put people off of potlucks, it’s the comments from other members.”

“We had a post a few weeks ago about someone displaying their cooked bacon next to their raw bacon for size comparison. The problem was that they were putting the cooked bacon where the raw bacon was, so now their cooked bacon was contaminated. Many members commented that you actually don’t need to cook bacon. Many other members, including me, were shocked. Shouldn’t it be common sense that you have to cook bacon before you serve it? Apparently not. Common sense is not common when it comes to safe food handling.”


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Back in the old days, potluck referred to meals provided to unexpected guests who would simply get the luck of the pot. While today it’s a friendly event where people can taste a mixture of meals, sometimes they end up sharing more than food. That’s why it’s critical to know some helpful tips to make sure you’re organizing or participating in a safe potluck.

According to an article on MSU Extension, one of the key points to have in mind when planning these gatherings is to consider the travel time and the temperature you need to transport your food in. “Those traveling long distances should bring nonperishable foods such as breads, cakes, fruit pies and cookies,” they wrote. Once you arrive at the potluck, store cold foods in the refrigerator and hot food in an oven at its lowest setting to prevent bacteria from spreading. “Hot food must be kept at 140 °F or above if you aren’t going to serve it right away.”

Once the guests arrive, check if the serving and eating areas are clean and sanitized. Needless to say, washing your hands before and after handling food is crucial if you want to have a safe party. Moreover, be prepared with a large supply of spoons and forks. “In this way, you’ll make sure that guests do not handle foods with bare hands and that utensils will not need to be shared between dishes.”


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But even if the preparers try their best to be sanitary enough when creating elaborate dishes, there’s no way to tell if they are as scrupulous as we wish them to be in the kitchen. If you have doubts about attending your next potluck, Sarah was kind enough to share several tips to help you get through these communal gatherings.

“If anyone’s afraid of participating in potlucks, we actually have a running list on a post in our group of excuses if you need them. Sometimes it’s a work event or a family gathering, and you’re kind of stuck having to eat there. My best advice is to bring something of your own to contribute and eat that, or only eat from people whose clean kitchens you’ve seen, or stick to prepackaged foods people have brought,” Sarah concluded.


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My neighbors regularly put meat outside to thaw. Sometimes on a chair. Sometimes straight on the ground like this.

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Source: boredpanda.com

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