My favorite way to entertain is a collaborative dinner, also known as a pot luck. Not only does it lessen my work load and responsibility, it provides a unique and varied culinary experience.
I even had a pot luck wedding reception. The second time around for both of us, we had no need for the presents required by the newly launched. In fact, we were busy trying to figure out how to handle having at least two of everything!
Everyone got into the spirit. It may help that my collaborative meals have an option for the non-cooks -– a favorite store-bought beverage, snack, bread or dessert is just fine. Sharing favorites is more important than culinary skill.
Check out this menu for a collaborative Thanksgiving dinner planned by seven of Boston’s finest chefs who are friends:
Walnuts coated in sugar syrup and deep-fried
Pumpkin soup with pears and curry served with lentil-flour crisps
Smoked eel on gingerbread canapes
Raw oysters with mango sauce
Lobster with a warm creamy nutmeg vinaigrette and chestnut puree
Cod with traditional spinach-and-bacon stuffing
Venison rubbed with juniper berries, thyme garlic and peppercorns
Turkey stuffed with anadama bread and mission figs
For complete details and recipes go to
What better time to try the collaborative approach than during the holidays? Why be stressed? Let us know about your meal of many contributions. What worked well? What would you do differently next time?