A Recipe For An Office Potluck Disaster
PROBLEM: My brother’s office potluck is tomorrow and he conveniently forgot to mention it to us until this morning. What’s more, his colleagues have demanded our mother’s famous palak paneer, an elaborate recipe riding on painstaking efforts. My brother can’t cook for nuts, which leaves me and Mum stirring the pots for 20 people. I find all the free bragging rights we are about to bestow on my brother unfair, and I need him to not take this for granted.
SH: Forget all about it until evening. Surely, your brother can’t be the only one with well-timed memory lapses. But now that his reputation is at stake, he is not going to let go of the palak paneer. Milk that and send him ingredient shopping. If he disagrees, end of the story.
Or, once he’s back, make him your sous chef: get the spinach cleaned, the onions chopped, the garlic peeled. And finally, just before you season the dish perfectly, extort what you’ve always wanted from him. Give it a good thought — your brother may never ask you to cook for potlucks again.
MM: As someone who has been in your brother’s position, I think family should be forgiven (conditions apply). I’d go with SH’s suggestion. Make him do all the hard work, only leaving the final flourish to your expertise.
And make sure to remind him he owes you one for throwing this together at the last minute, and you may claim the favour at any time. (I’d stay away from culinary requests, if I were you.)
LG: The Swaddle Team is split! Because I say don’t do it. He can’t take for granted what he doesn’t have. Why would you feel obligated to cook for an office you don’t work in?
If it means so much to your brother, let him learn the recipe. Otherwise, let him be like every other man there — with a tray of dips and crackers picked up from the store. (#notallmen #yeahbut99percentofmen)
SB: In complete agreement with LG — now is the time for some tough love. Let him see what it feels like to get info at the last minute (sorry bro, not happening) and scramble to figure it out. (#sorrynotsorry)
If you’re feeling especially benevolent, you can tell him that if he shares his request with you early enough in the future, you will consider helping him out. Alternatively, I love the idea of teaching him to cook it himself. You will probably have a tough time getting your mom on board with this approach though; no doubt she feels her son can do no wrong. Good luck!