Serious Entertaining: How to Throw a Lunch Lady Potluck


Remember the smell of gymnasium, drinking out of tiny milks and plastic trays? When the kids go back to school, let the grown-ups enjoy a celebratory potluck. Host a Lunch Lady-themed potluck where guests bring updated versions of lunchtime classics.

1. Put hairnets and plastic gloves out for the adults who want to play the part.

2. Serve dinner on inexpensive and reusable plastic trays.

3. Decorate with cups of personalized pencils that guests can take home with them.

4. Find small pints of chocolate milk for guests to drink. Bonus points if you serve a dark rum or chocolate liqueur to make the milk "Teacher's Lounge" ready.

5. Snack packs of pudding for dessert keep guests happy with something sweet. For a more gourmet take, make chocolate pudding ahead of time in single serving cups. Serve whipped cream to bring out everyone's inner kid.

6. Serve drinks with red striped paper straws for maximum sipping fun.

Dishes guests could bring to a lunch lady potluck include:

And other desserts in case chocolate pudding isn't enough:

Due to the efforts of groups like Farm to School, today's lunch rooms are getting more local, and less fattening than the days celebrated above—but they still need help. Farm to School offers guidelines for how to start a farm to school program and improve school lunches in your community. Soon, lunch ladies can add local, sustainable, and organic to their legacy.