I am not very social. I am the guy sitting behind the potted plant at most gatherings, but because my friends motivate me (kidnap, force, cajole, embarrass) I attend an average of two buffets a month. One is a more academically oriented social group (sometimes boring) and the other a more ethnically oriented group (Filipino ladies to be exact, of which I am married to one) (lots of loud music and dancing).
I love salads so I usually make my version of a Greek Salad to take. If you Google recipes for Greek salads you will find a million with many similarities and mine only differs a little based on my mood and what is in the ref as I make it. I like to use romaine, red leaf and green leaf lettuce – I think they add a nice change over just romaine. I use Kalamata Olives, I get the pitted ones and slice them. I bought the sliced ones once but it is not the same and they are more mushy and look like the rejects from the pitting process. Thinly sliced red onion and feta cheese round out the must include and from there I add other items based on mood and availability. Rather than make my own dressing from olive oil and vinegar I use “Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette”. I like it so much there is always a spare bottle in the cupboard so I never run out. The salad is always a hit and there is never any left from the large bowl I take.
Now to the others, this is my observation; appetizer trays from the store, a bag of tortilla chips and a bottle of salsa, celery and carrots with a ranch dip in a deli pack. Side dishes are deli salads, some still in the deli container and some spooned into a nice bowl from home but still obviously from the store. Once you see a nice home-made red potato salad you will never mistake it for deli. Then there are pizzas. I went to one where I saw four people bring in pizza and all four were pepperoni. Finally there are the deserts; a box of donuts, three discount club pies, a bowl of jello, an off the shelf cake and some store bought cookies. Don’t get me wrong, I have brought cookies and pizza in the past.
Now as I said, this is an observation, not a complaint. Some of these people work 2 jobs and have kids to take care of. They do not have time to plan, shop, chop, mix, cook and some do not have the budget for much else; but it certainly makes a difference when there are an array of imaginative home made main course items to tantalize the taste buds and fill one with something more than fats and sugars.