Unlucky potlucks

Marie Matyjaszek

My family and I went to Arizona in January to escape the somewhat cold winter we’ve been having, and to visit relatives.  We were lucky for two reasons:  one, it was really, really cold in Michigan the week we were gone, and really, really warm in Arizona; and two, we didn’t risk our freedom by attending any potlucks while there. 

I know, the last sentence deserves an explanation.  Unless you’re having your potluck at work, Arizona actually has a law forbidding it.  I’ve been to potlucks at work, potlucks at someone’s home, potlucks in a park, church potlucks, heck, I’ve even been to a potluck wedding (that one admittedly did hit me by surprise).  Based on my last sentence, you could write a Dr. Seuss book about them.

Arizona had the best of intentions when passing a law regulating “served food,” trying to ensure that everything was up to par with respect to safety and health inspections.  Potlucks at work were excluded from scrutiny, but nowhere else.  While a lot of these delicious “bring a dish to pass” gatherings occur at work, I can think of a myriad of other locales where they regularly take place. 

At first blush, you really wouldn’t think that anyone would even know that a) this law existed; or b) would care to call someone out on it.  However, one well-informed resident of a mobile home park in Apache Junction chose to rat out the neighbors and called the police (clearly he or she was simply not invited and decided to exact revenge).  Deputies actually came out and ended the festivities. I am uncertain as to whether or not the organizer(s) were fined or arrested, as they legally can be under the law.

As one would expect, people were confused and pretty upset that the “food” police crashed the party.  Arizona legislators are presently working on a fix to modify the law and expand legal potluck locations.  I’m sure in due time, it will all be remedied, but what I really want to know is if the police confiscated the “evidence” from the buffet bust.


The author is a family law attorney whose blog site is: http://legalbling.blogspot.com. She can be reached by e-mailing her at matyjasz@hotmail.com.