Potluck food that doesn't need refrigeration

I’m planning a potluck where most of us will arrive at 12:00, but the food won’t be served until 6 to 7 hours later. We can store the dishes inside, but we won’t have access to a refrigerator.

What are some things we cam make ahead of time, but don’t need either refrigeration in the interim, and don’t need heating before the meal, either?

Well, almost nothing will pass strict food-inspection rules. That said, I’d feel pretty safe about meat pies (strudels, burek, quiche, spanikopita, pierogie, etc.). Unassembled salads. Maybe fried chicken. Pulled pork or brisket. What about things you can keep simmering in a crockpot?

How hot will it be as the food sits?

If this were Quebec in February, I’d say no problem for almost anything that sits out for a while. On the other hand, Jakarta any time of year isn’t so great for unrefrigerated food.

A tray of hard cheese (like a nice aged cheddar), salami or similar, and crackers should be fine. I can’t think of much else non-dessert “potluck-ish” I would willingly serve to others if it sat in 70 or 80 degree F for several hours. Baked goods like cookies or bread, of course. But that doesn’t really make a meal.

Air-conditioned, so closer to 70. Hmmm…looks like keeping meats, etc, in coolers and assembling on site, maybe.

Potato Chips. Lots and lots of Potato Chips.

Who doesn’t love potato chips?

Some sort of crock pot dish as long as you have access to electricity. 6-7 hours? Assemble it first, and cook it there. Bring an extension cord.

I call dibs on cranberry sauce!

That long a wait time and no refrigeration? Just have the number of a pizza place that delivers and the Poison Control Hotline and you are good to go.

I mean really, that’s just poor planning.

I like a big dish full of nuts and raisins. You can Google “trail mix” or “how to make trail mix”. Trail mix is always healthy, tasty and almost never requires refrigeration.

Many diff kinds of raisins.

My favorite kinds of nuts include cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts and sunflower seeds. But there are many, many others to chose from.

I would never include peanuts because I’ve heard so many people are allergic to them and it can put a real damper on any kind of celebration if one of the guests needs to be spirited away to a hospital in an amublance. The celebration will be memorable. But not in a good way.

I wonder if any other kind of nuts can be a problem? Certainly there may well be some people who like to spend time on their PCs who might qualify as potential candidates. Caution is recommended.

Poison Control Hotline may sound offensive. But it’s an excellent precaution. It really is. Some folks may take offense. But if they ever need that number they will thank you forever.

Well…kimchi needs no refrigeration ever, but I doubt most pot lucks have it. Having said that, I attend a Korean church once a month and it is always available at the meal.

I would think less about the dish itself and more about better storage options.

Just pretend you’re going camping. A bag of ice and a cooler will keep anything safely cold for a day or more and I’m sure someone attending this event already owns a large cooler that could accommodate dishes from several other people.

I don’t know whether you have facilities to reheat dishes, but at least this method will let you safely store all kinds of things intended to be served cold or room temperature - cole slaw, potato salad, dips, etc.

A cooler can also be used to keep things hot - heat up bricks in the oven and line the bottom of the cooler with them. However, I’m not sure if you’ll get 6 hours of food-safe temperatures (140+F) out of this method. Ice absorbs a lot of heat before it melts, but bricks cool down much more quickly.

I really have to know wtf kind of event this is where people will be expected to eat potluck that’s been sitting around for 6-7 hours (with no provisions for refrigeration or re-heating)?

There’s really no way to get some coolers and ice for the food? This is a Chipotle waiting to happen.

I was going to suggest something like coleslaw, if made with a vinegar based dressing rather than the creamy kind.

Traditionally, you eat all during the orgy, not afterward.

And be sure to insulate the cooler’s interior from the hot bricks. I’ve seen the aftermath of people putting hot things into coolers and the plastic melts. :smack: What you’d really want for keeping food warm is a Cambro catering box, which is a professional-grade thing for holding hotel pans (aka steam table trays) of food, but even one of these can’t quite keep food safe for six hours - generally, they’re good for about three hours, depending on the kind and amount of food you’re holding in it, and if you keep going into it or if you leave it closed. For long-term safe-keeping, there are electrically heated Cambros, but at $900+ they’re probably a bit more than you wanted to spend. :eek:

Not sure the desired menu, but sandwiches keep well for hours if you keep the separate components separate until it’s time to eat. A loaf of bread needs no refrigeration, cold cuts and lettuce/tomato can stay in a cooler, and as long as the jars are new and unopened, mayo and mustard are OK almost indefinitely.

Like everyone else, I’m curious of the nature of the event, particularly the location. I’ve successfully handled events at homes, offices and campsites, so it is possible. With some planning and probably a fair bit of adapting the menu, this can be successful.

It just takes one bowl of something left out for the afternoon to make for an event that will be remembered for years as that time when everyone got sick and had to go to the ER. (At which point, $900 for one of those heated Cambro boxes will seem very cheap…)

Cake, cookies, pie, candy.

Good point. My technique is to wrap the bricks up in towels so that direct contact is prevented on all sides. And, of course, I’m not cranking the oven to its highest setting when I’m heating them up. Last time I did this, it was just to the “Warm setting” (170 F, I think).

So what did you serve? Or it’s still coming up?