So you just got invited to a Summer BBQ, awesome! Hanging out with friends and having conversations with real adults while all the kids play together being somewhat behaved is one of my favorite things to do. However, even if you love cooking, it can sometimes be stressful to figure out what dish you’re going to bring to share. Here’s a few tips to help you navigate the choices.


It’s not a contest. No one at the party is going to win a trophy for bringing the most amazing gourmet creation on earth. The only prize they’ll get is an empty serving dish to bring home. So don’t stress about showing off your awesome cooking skills and definitely don’t make something you’ve never made before just because it sounds impressive.

It’s okay to buy something already made. We are moms. We have kids and schedules and all kinds of other stuff going on. Sometimes we just don’t have time to make Grandma’s amazing from-scratch potato salad. It’s okay if you go to Whole Foods and buy their deli potato salad and put it in your own container. No one’s going to be upset at you for not peeling 50 potatoes yourself. Plus, you don’t even have to tell them you didn’t make it.

Unsure? Ask the host. If you absolutely have no idea what to contribute, ask the host what they need. Maybe seven people already said they were bringing side dishes and no one is bringing any meat. You’re off the hook if all you have to bring is a pack of hamburgers and buns! And it helps take the burden of the host who is trying to make sure they’re not missing anything and maybe saves them having to run to the store for something they forgot.

Keep it simple. If you really want to make something, don’t do something labor intensive. We made Bacon-wrapped dates for a recent party, and even though they were delicious, stuffing and wrapping a tray full of those sticky little things takes forever. Next time I’ll opt for some kind of salad with pasta or quinoa that just requires me to throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl and toss dressing over it. Still delicious, but much less time-consuming.

Whatever you decide, remember that your friends are more excited to see you and your family than to se what you brought to eat or drink. So don’t stress about it and have a good time celebrating the Summer!

What do you like to bring to share at parties?

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