Potluck Paranoia: 40 Pictures Explaining Why We’re Too Scared To Share Meals

By Aileen D

This article was originally published on myfryingpan

Potlucks are the ultimate test of culinary prowess. Can you whip up a dish that impresses your friends and family, or will you bring a store-bought veggie tray and claim credit despite your minimal effort? Either way, many people have emerged victorious (aka with full bellies) after participating in potlucks.

But what about the rest who don’t? Surely, they have their own reasons for declining that next invite. They hadn’t always found potlucks distasteful, but here’s a list of all the reasons why their love for it had been short-lived. It’s likely you would find the pictures appalling, too.

These had all been taken from the Facebook group aptly named “This is Why I Don’t Do Potlocks.” We would suggest that you browse through the list after you have finished eating, as many of the pictures have caused people’s stomachs to churn.

Guaranteed Fresh

Preparing a potluck dish in a house full of cats can be a real challenge. As this person stood in her kitchen, surrounded by a swarm of feline furballs, she realized she had to think outside the box. She could use a little feedback from these pets.

Image courtesy of ssphoto / Reddit

So with every dish, she would fill the wooden spoon to the brim with the sauce, bring it to her lips to taste, then she would seek a second or third opinion from her cats. It wasn’t the most hygienic thing to do, but these pets haven’t voiced any complaints.

To Cleanse the Palate

Ah, the infamous potluck jelly squares. They were once the belle of the ball, admired and praised for their jiggly texture and colorful appearance. But now, they sit out on the kitchen table, untouched and unloved, for nearly three days.

Image courtesy of Tia Hoffmann / Facebook

No one knows quite what to do with them. They’re too jiggly to cut into pieces and too sticky to pick up with a fork. Best leave the jelly squares to their fate, hoping that someone brave enough will come along and put them out of their misery.

Odd One Out

At every potluck, there’s always one dish that no one wants to touch. This time, it’s this mystery concoction of lemon, undercooked shrimp, and what appears to be rice. The lemon only adds to the confusion, making anyone’s taste buds wonder if they’re eating seafood or sour candy.

Image courtesy of Erin Danielle / Facebook

And the rice? Well, let’s just say that it’s doing its best to hold the whole thing together, forming a kind of gluey paste that’s as unappetizing as it is perplexing. It’s as if everyone gathered around the table is in on a terrible secret, pretending to be full to keep from tasting this disaster.

Secret Ingredient

This guest was going to load up the dishwasher after a successful potluck when she noticed something odd. There was a plunger nestled in the bottom rack of the machine! She blinked. Her eyes must have been mistaken. Had that been the secret ingredient all along?

Image courtesy of Melissa Dudrick / Facebook

She couldn’t believe it. Her mind raced through the number of dishes she had begged her friend to make and had gobbled down with glee. After this revelation, she was already planning how to decline the next time her friend invited her over for lunch.

Aged for Optimal Flavor

This Redditor’s dad strode into the house confidently, carrying a large package of meat. “Sorry I’m late,” he said, grinning. “I had to stop by the store and pick this up.” This Redditor felt his pulse quicken. He knew that “quick trip” happened days ago.

Image courtesy of Zaifra Jenique / Reddit

The Redditor was almost certain it wasn’t safe to eat. “It’s fine,” his dad said as he tossed the package onto the countertop, “and besides, aging adds a little flavor, doesn’t it?” This Redditor was seriously considering (food) poisoning his dad to save everyone else.


As we opened the fridge to grab some ingredients for the potluck, we were met with a truly horrifying sight. There, nestled between the milk and the eggs, was a pack of carrots that had clearly been there for a very, very long time.

Image courtesy of Mindy Cochran

It might be a trick of the light. Surely, carrots couldn’t grow roots in the fridge? But as we peered closer, we realized that it was indeed true. The carrots had been in there so long that they had started to sprout.

Tossed the Bad Parts

“Expired Raw Ground Meat: 50% Off!” It was eye-catching, alright, but for the wrong reason. There were many who were absolutely horrified that it was on sale. Aren’t there food sanitation laws? And for cheapskates like this person, it was a bargain deal!

Image courtesy of Angela George / Facebook

Surely, this couldn’t be real. Who in their right mind would sell expired meat? If there was any doubt, just look closer. You will see by the color and consistency of the beef that the meat was well past its expiration date.

Finger Food

This person was stuffed but was eager to get another slice of cake. They hurried towards the cabinet to pull the drawer and then got a spoon and fork. But what they saw made them pause in horror. Why was everything seemingly laden with chocolate?

Image courtesy of Jami Rose / Facebook

But then again, who needs good hygiene when you’re cooking up a storm? After all, some of the world’s most famous chefs swear by a little dirt and grime to add that extra “oomph” to their dishes. So, plunge your hand into the murky depths of the container.

Re-fried Rice

You’re at your favorite hibachi restaurant, eagerly waiting for your delicious meal to be prepared right in front of your eyes. You can already smell the sizzling meats and vegetables, and your stomach is grumbling in anticipation. But you can’t help but notice that there’s something off.

Image courtesy of unknown / Facebook

The rice looks a little too clumpy and sticky, and there are some mysterious blackened bits mixed in with the grains. A closer look shows the grill is caked in layers of old, hardened oil and grease. It’s like they haven’t cleaned it since you visited last month.


The shoe that’s simultaneously loved and hated by fashionistas everywhere—Crocs. Some people swear by their comfort and practicality, while others wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them outside the house. But whether you love them or hate them, there’s one thing we can all agree on: Crocs are notoriously difficult to clean.

Image courtesy of Rachel Mae / Facebook

That’s where the dishwasher comes in. Yes, you read that right. Some people have discovered that the best way to clean their Crocs is by tossing them in the dishwasher and letting the machine do all the work. Adds a little flavor to your dishes, too.

Out with the Cat

It was Christmas potluck eve, and this Redditor had slaved the whole day preparing the perfect chicken for the big event. It was a masterpiece, golden brown and perfectly seasoned. But as she turned her back for just a moment, she heard a suspicious, slurping sound.

Image courtesy of C. Anita Nunez / Facebook

She turned around just in time to see that her cat’s tongue was half-extended. She could zoom in to see the spikes stretching out to make contact with the crisp chicken skin, and she used all her self-control to keep herself from tossing the cat out the window.


Welcome to Nails and Spa, the only place where you can get your nails done and your meat cut all in one convenient location! That’s right; our multi-talented employees are here to provide you with the ultimate beauty and dining experience.

Image courtesy of Staci Jones Kemp / Facebook

Some might balk at the idea of having their steak sliced with a nail file instead of a traditional knife, but we think it adds a certain rustic charm to the whole affair. Plus, our nail files are top-of-the-line—perfect for slicing through even the toughest cuts of meat.

Skipping Was Never An Option

Mashed potatoes—the ultimate comfort food. There’s nothing quite like a big bowl of fluffy, buttery spuds to make you feel warm and cozy inside. When this fella realized he was missing a key ingredient, he wasn’t ready to give up so soon.

Image courtesy of shitty food porn / Facebook

Chocolate milk in mashed potatoes? It sounded like a recipe for disaster. But as it turned out, the rich, creamy flavor of the chocolate milk actually worked surprisingly well with the buttery potatoes, creating a decadent and indulgent side dish that was like nothing he’d ever tasted before.

Never Thrown Out

Ah, the joys of using vintage ingredients in your cooking. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of discovering an old can of food in the back of your pantry and checking to see if you can still use it in your dish.

Image courtesy of unknown / Facebook

Our resident kitchen daredevil decided to put that theory to the test by using a 30-year-old can of apples as the filling for their apple pie. The expiration date had long since faded, so if anyone asked, they could play dumb and say they didn’t know.

The Best of the Pack

When your kitchen is too small or too crowded, sometimes you have to get a little creative with your cooking setup. When you want to make the perfect dinner, you need a big roaster. If you’re out of space, don’t worry. Take it to the next level by cooking dinner inside the bathroom.

Image courtesy of Brandi Bower / Facebook

Of course, there were some downsides to this cooking method. The bathroom itself smelled like a meat locker, whilst the food reeked of piss and muck. They should have kept people from using the bathroom while there was a giant roast cooking inside.


This woman thought it would be a great idea to decorate a cake with Vienna sausage. She arranged the sausages in a circle on top of the cake, making it look like a strange, meaty flower. Now, the only thing missing is a dollop of ketchup.

Image courtesy of Wendy Miller / Facebook

There wasn’t a brave adult soul in the room who dared try the cake, and the few kids who wanted to get a slice were physically held back by their parents. “We’ll get you a real cake when we get home, honey.

Michelin 0/3

This person was feeling particularly creative in the kitchen. She decided to make a classic dish that wasn’t a hit in the 1950s: Jello salad. Maybe this time around, it’ll be the talk of the town, in a good way.

Image courtesy of Gary Meyers / Facebook

But instead of the usual fruit and whipped cream, this person decided to use lime Jello and added some marshmallows and cottage cheese. This looks like something you’d find in a science lab, except that you’d know you’d actually die from taking a bite.

Leave in the Car to Reheat

Sally was excited to attend the company potluck. She spent hours in the kitchen preparing her famous buffalo chicken dip and brought it excitedly to work. It was a hit, of course, but she still wound up with some leftovers.

Image courtesy of Dusty Bawls III / Facebook

Feeling peckish on the way home, she decided to take a bite, only to find it cold. Not to worry. A little time on the seat warmer would heat it right up. As she chewed, she realized how well this improvised heater would work for her other dishes.

You Go First

This person was determined to make the perfect dish. She realized she needed to check the temperature with her trusty mercury thermometer, but disaster struck as she reached over the pot to take out the thermometer and see how much longer she had to wait.

Image courtesy of Melissa Cotton / Facebook

Something gives us the idea that this wasn’t the first time this person had encountered this accident. This was proof that taking a sip of a mercury-seasoned dish had caused permanent brain damage. She just didn’t know she had it.


This person had never been much of a cook, but he was determined to make an impression at the office potluck. He decided to make his grandmother’s famous mac and cheese recipe and spent all day in the kitchen preparing the ingredients.

Image courtesy of Robert McNulty / Facebook

As he mixed the cream into the pot, he noticed that the mixture was starting to bubble and foam. He continued to stir. Suddenly, there was a loud bang and the entire kitchen was engulfed in a cloud of smoke. He had nearly blown up the kitchen!

Another Heat Source

This person was in a rush to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies. She panicked as she realized her microwave was broken, and she couldn’t soften the butter. In a moment of desperation, she had a brilliant idea: she would soften the butter using her body heat.

Image courtesy of Geri Asad / Facebook

She carefully slid the pack of butter inside the waistband of her leggings. She then positioned it on top of her stomach, hoping that her body heat would do the trick. And she wasn’t ashamed either; this woman proudly posted her ingenious hack.

For the Love of Pickles

This guy had always been a fan of pickles. He loved their tangy flavor and crispy texture. So, when he stumbled upon a giant sale of pickling cucumbers at his local farmer’s market, he knew he had to make a large batch of pickles.

Image courtesy of David Williams / Facebook

But as he went to transfer the pickles into the jars, he realized he had a problem—he had made way too many pickles! He decided he’d soak the pickles in his inflatable pool to keep them fresh until he could give them away to friends and family.

Beyond What’s Needed

With its tangy taste and healthy probiotics, it’s no wonder that yogurt has become a staple in many people’s diets. We only need a little culture of bacteria to improve our mood and overall health. Otherwise, it just might be the death of us.

Image courtesy of Shannon Berry / Facebook

This company went above and beyond the call of service to deliver us cultured yogurt. They wanted to make sure that we had gotten more than enough bacteria than we needed. It’s a nice thought, but certainly a cause for a bad customer experience.

Colored Bits

With their delicate texture and elegant appearance, poached eggs have become a staple on brunch menus and in high-end restaurants alike. These can also be an egg-cellent side dish if you’ve had too much to drink. If you happen to throw up, expect your vomit to be in colorful shades of tan, yellow, and white.

Image courtesy of Annabelle Benge / Facebook

There you are, kidding around with your buddies gathered around a table. You’re knocking back beers and cocktails like there’s no tomorrow. And in the midst of all this drinking, there sits a plate of poached eggs. How about a little mayo and ketchup to top it all off?

Your Call

Ah, the internet. The place where you can find answers to just about any question, no matter how bizarre or embarrassing. Nothing quite compares to this homeowner who asked if it was okay to heat up a piece of meat that had been partially chewed by a cat.

Image courtesy of Kate San Miguel / Facebook

Apparently, this person had left a piece of steak out on the counter, only to discover that their furry feline friend had gnawed off a sizable chunk. But rather than throw the meat away like a normal person, this homeowner was determined to salvage what was left. Hence, the fateful question.

Ingenuity At Its Finest

Plain old jello can be a bit boring. Sure, you can mix in some fruit or top it with whipped cream, but where’s the fun in that? That’s why this person decided to pour them into boiled eggs to make the perfect appetizer/dessert combo.

Image courtesy of Astrid Margot / Facebook

You simply peel the boiled egg, slice it in half, scoop out the yolk, and then pour in some liquid jello. Once the jello sets, you plate your odd treat, and voila! You have little Jello egg cups to delight and/or disgust your guests.

Bloody Mary

It was an ordinary kid’s birthday party, and the centerpiece was a stunning Hello Kitty cake. The bright pink frosting and adorable little whiskers made everyone’s heart race. Parents looked at their kids, who excitedly clapped their hands, eager to get a slice of this bloody cake.

Image courtesy of Jae LaShon / Facebook

Yes, it turns out that this Hello Kitty cake has been through quite the ordeal. Perhaps it got into a fight with a rogue cupcake, or maybe it was accidentally dropped onto a bed of knives. Whatever the case may be, this cake is looking worse for wear.

Save You the Time

Chocolate: the sweet, delicious treat that we all know and love. We add it to as many desserts as possible, but have you ever thought about adding it to your chili? No? Well, someone did. And let us tell you; it’s an absolute game-changer.

Image courtesy of Nora Maynard / Facebook

There they were, making a big pot of chili, simmering away on the stove. They had everything beans, ground beef, onions, and tomatoes. It was all coming together nicely until they realized they had forgotten to make dessert. They tossed in a few bars of chocolate to salvage the near-disaster.

Paws Up

There’s nothing quite like having a cat by your side, keeping you company as you bake up a storm. But what happens when your cat starts getting a little too involved in the baking process? Well, this homeowner says it’s okay because they give realistic culinary reviews.

Image courtesy of Samantha Morgan / Facebook

There you are in the kitchen, surrounded by flour and sugar and all sorts of delicious ingredients. And there, at your feet, is your trusty feline companion. She’s purring away happily, occasionally swatting at a piece of string or a rogue sprinkles container and licking everything in sight.

Cause for Dismissal?

What happens when one person decides to bring a dish made with steak that’s been sitting in their freezer for two years? This guy nearly lost his job because he had proudly shared this fun fact on social media… where his coworkers frequently killed time.

Image courtesy of Autumn Lake / Facebook

So, you go to the potluck. There are casseroles, salads, desserts, and all sorts of other dishes on the table. And then you see it. A platter of steaming hot… something. It looks like meat, but you’re not quite sure what kind. You’re certain, however, that you’re taking a risk by sampling one bite.

For the Dogs

Canned venison: it’s not exactly the most appetizing-sounding ingredient, but when you’re a daredevil in the kitchen, you’re always looking for a new challenge and trying to incorporate exotic ingredients. And what’s more challenging than making a dish from canned venison from 1990?

Image courtesy of Tynesha Talley / Facebook

It must have been there since before you were conceived, but you take on the risk that this canned venison might have ripened into old age and add a touch of wonder to your bland, home-cooked food. Just don’t tell your guests it celebrated its 30th birthday already.

See No Evil

Spaghetti is the ultimate comfort food—easy to make, delicious, and satisfying. But what happens when you’re halfway through cooking your spaghetti, and you notice that there’s mold underneath the lid of the can of tomato sauce? You clutch your stomach and then let go of the panhandle.

Image courtesy of Heather Wilson / Facebook

It makes a deafening noise as it clatters against the floor. You’re lucky you didn’t slide on the splotches of sauce you step on as you dash toward the bathroom. You feel the sweat on your brows and reach the bowl in time before you finally release.

From Stove to Grill

Grilling is an art form. It takes skill, patience… and a proper grill. But what do you do when you don’t have a grill? Well, if you’re anything like this person, you craft a makeshift grill out of an old oven rack.

Image courtesy of Jenn Loreal / Facebook

You can build your grill like this or make your own masterpiece. Take an old oven rack, prop it up on some cinder blocks, and light a fire underneath it. Voila—a makeshift grill, perfect for Thanksgiving dinners and birthday parties.

Just Cover It With Icing

You’re in the kitchen, ready to bake a cake. You’ve got all your ingredients laid out, you’ve preheated the oven, and you’re feeling pretty confident. But as you’re mixing up your cake batter, you suddenly realize that the cake layers you were planning to use are covered in mold.

Image courtesy of unknown / Facebook

At first, you’re devastated. Your dreams of a delicious cake are shattered. But then, a stroke of genius hits you. What if you just covered the mold with icing? It’s not like anyone will know. Besides, you can always point the blame at the sickly-looking jello in the corner.

Smells Like It, Too

This Redditor couldn’t help but do a double-take at this dish. Is this cookie dough mixed with cat litter? The resemblance is uncanny. The dish is a sickly beige color, dotted with brown bits that could either be chocolate chips or feline leftovers.

Image courtesy of Marie Denise Alford / Facebook

It’s a big risk, but you don’t want to let any food go to waste. You have to bite the bullet and lean in closer to get a good whiff. In an act of foolhearty bravery, you taste it and discover Salmonella, not Toxoplasma gondii. Phew!

Save Hundreds of Dollars

You’re in the kitchen, ready to start cooking, and you realize you don’t have a knife block. Maybe you just never had one to begin with. So what do you do? Well, you grab the nearest thing at hand—three books—and use them as a makeshift knife rack.

Image courtesy of Brandi Maggard / Facebook

Sure, it takes up a lot of counter space, and it’s not exactly stable. But take it from this person who made it work. She doesn’t have to spend a hundred dollars for a kitchen knife block. Plus, she gets some extra flavor from the ink.

Inspired by the Japanese

This one is a doozy. We’ve all heard of creative ways to boil eggs, but this one takes the cake. Imagine, if you will, a person boiling eggs in their toilet bowl tank. Yes, you read that correctly—their toilet bowl tank.

Image courtesy of Matthew McClleland / Facebook

Now, we don’t condone this behavior. It’s not sanitary, it’s not safe, and it’s just plain gross. But this person was determined to have some hard-boiled eggs, and this was the only water on hand. We have to give him points for making sure it was the right temperature.

Intentional Sabotage

A fruity dessert with sliced egg on top? Who thought that was a good idea? Apparently, this person did. They spent all day in the kitchen, carefully slicing up a variety of fruits and arranging them in a fancy dish. It looks pretty good until you take a bite.

Image courtesy of Faith Abernathy / Facebook

From what we heard, though, this was intentionally done. This person didn’t want to contribute to Potluck Friday. But not wanting to look like the selfish co-worker, he brought something, with the intention of grossing everyone out with his dish. That way, it’s all his!

Nefarious beings

A pack of baloney with holes in them? That can’t be good. It’s like Swiss cheese, except… not. This person pokes at the holes with a fork, trying to discern whether they were made by a hungry mouse or something more nefarious.

Image courtesy of unknown / Facebook

They see it—a tiny speck of green nestled in one of the holes. It’s like a little flag, warning them of the danger ahead. But do they listen? Of course not. They decide to take a chance, to live life on the edge.

Kitchen Cheapskate

Apparently, this person has discovered a new way to cook their potatoes—by putting them inside the dishwasher. It’s a cost-saving measure, they say. Why waste energy and water boiling potatoes on the stove when you can just toss them in with your dirty dishes?

Image courtesy of hgtv / Instagram

As the dishwasher runs its cycle, the potatoes get battered by water jets and leftover soap suds. When the cycle finishes, the potatoes are waterlogged and mushy, with bits of soap clinging to their skins. It neither delicious nor nutritious.