Once a month we have a potluck at work. Today was a potluck day. I know, they probably violate COVID social distancing rules, but I figure I'm already in the same building all day with these jokers that I call coworkers, and I'm not about to miss out on that delicious spread of food, laid out like a buffet on the conference room table.

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I remember potlucks being a pretty big deal when I went to church as a kid. Sitting through that sermon seemed to take FOREVER on potluck Sunday, when I could smell the various crockpots full of homemade church-lady food drifting in to the sanctuary. Potlucks are generally awesome, and while they are certainly not an exclusive Montana tradition, we do them up right. Here are a four dishes that you'll likely see at every Montana potluck.

  • Lit'l Smokies. For some reason Hillshire Farms thinks it's cute to spell the name of those tasty little cocktail sausages with weird punctuation, but whatever. Little uh.. Lit'l Smokies are so good... especially when you add grape jelly (the not-so-secret ingredient) to the BBQ sauce. If your potluck doesn't have a big pot of Smokies, you need better friends.
  • Pasta Salad. A large bowl of pasta salad is a staple for Montana potlucks. It's easy to make (and cheap) and people love it. Get some bowtie pasta, cucumbers, black olives and tomatoes and slather it all up with Italian salad dressing and you've got your addition to the potluck. People sometimes try to get creative with pasta salad, but there is no reason to go overboard on this potluck classic.
  • Potato Salad. Salads are a must at any self-respecting potluck and depending on how many attendees are at your gathering, you're probably going to see at least one version of potato salad. If you're contributing potato salad, at least have the decency to bring homemade potato salad. Nobody likes that crap from the grocery store.
  • Meatballs. A giant slow-cooker full of meatballs is tough to beat and easy to make. If you're really ambitious, you can make homemade meatballs. For the rest of us, grab a bag of Costco meatballs, dump them in the cooker and pour BBQ sauce on them. Heat-n-eat, baby.

Of course, any good potluck will have a mix of desserts, chips (contributed by the people who forgot/didn't have time to make something) and various other dishes. This week, it looks like my pickle/ham/cream cheese rollups were a hit, as I'm bringing home an empty dish.