Bring a Plate
Until I moved to Australia I had never heard of the term ‘bring a plate’. I still remember my husband coming home one night, saying we were going to friends for dinner and we had to bring a plate. I looked at him, not quite knowing what he was asking me to bring, was it a plate to eat my dinner off or what sort of plate was it.
He had to explain, in Australia it was common for people to be asked to bring something along to a person’s house when they went for dinner. I was still a bit stunned as I had never been out to dinner before with anything but a bottle of wine, bunch of flowers and box of chocolates for the host.
I sat back and thought this is all very odd and it means instead of looking forward to going out for dinner tonight and only having to think about getting myself ready, I had to prepare something to take along with me.
Then the questions started going around in my heard. What sort of salad was I to bring. Would there already be a potato salad or coleslaw on the table? Should I be more adventurous? How big should I make the salad? How many people were going to be there? What was everyone else was going to bring? John told me to calm down and just make a salad and not worry about it anymore.
Once I got over the initial shock of bringing a plate, it kind of made sense, if there were lots of people going to be there, the catering wasn’t left up to just one person. However it still felt very odd and took me a long time to get used to.
Even though I am happy to bring a plate along if I am asked to, I still can’t bring myself to ask anyone to bring anything to our house when they come for dinner. For me, the enjoyment of having people over for dinner is planning what we are going to eat and ensuring that all the courses will go well together and that there won’t be too much food that goes uneaten at the end of the night.
Friends have stopped asking of they can bring anything along to our house, as they know the answer will be ‘no, just bring yourself’.
With John working away from home this Easter, I was home alone and had plenty of invitations to go to friends for lunch and dinner. Easter Sunday I was invited along to a friend’s family lunch and was asked to bring nibbles. I knew there were going to be 11 people and 2 of them were young children, so had to think carefully about what to bring. How much should I take along with me? If I was at home it would be easy as I could keep on topping it all up as it ran out.
After much thought I kept things quite simple with figs with cream cheese and prosciutto, olives, dip, carrot sticks (stop the children filling up on too many crackers), a lovely Brie and some healthy pitta crackers. I then added a special touch to it all with some of my homemade parmiers. Even though they are better served hot, I decided it would be messy to take them and cook them when I got there, so I pre-cooked them just before I left home. They tasted just as good cold and went down a treat with everyone.
Let us know if you have any great tips for what to take along when you are asked to ‘bring a plate’ when you go out to friends for lunch or dinner.