My ward had its annual Halloween party a few days ago. It was a lovely affair, full of costumes, games and candy for the kids. They also had a dessert table with a contest for Best Desserts. I love potlucks and Bring Food parties because so many people love to cook and do a great job at it. I appreciate people who have that gift and are willing to share it because I don’t have it and I d-r-e-a-d bringing food to anything.

I am not fond of taking food to families ala Compassionate Service because what if they hate my cooking? What if they took one bite of my chicken and rice and refused to eat another? Even worse, what if someone ate my cooking and got sick?

The thought of being That Person – the one who brought the garden salad full of E-coli because the lettuce wasn’t sterilized in bleach and now my fellow ward members are in the hospital, that is the making of a serious nightmare for me.

I don’t generally think of myself as an OCD or anxiety-prone person, but all it takes is that food sign-up sheet being passed around during Relief Society for me to break out in a sweat.

Over the years, I have taken food to ward functions that no one liked. One time I had a Bishop accuse me of bringing food from my cupboard that no one at my house would eat. The dish I brought was Hummus, something the Bishop had never seen and thought it looked like dog food. I was speechless at his accusation until a wonderful, international family that was new to the ward swooped in and saved me when they exclaimed they loooovvvvveeed Hummus and proceeded to pile it on their plates and eat it happily.

Then there was the time I brought a bowl of Couscous as a side dish and a sister had to look it up on the internet to find out what it was since she had never heard of it and no one else knew either.

I have also accidentally managed to embarrass myself with Perogies and various attempts at desserts made with raw sugar, spelt flour and all kinds of so-called healthy ingredients. At one point I was known as “Sister Young – the Fear Factor Food Lady”.

I don’t mean to be difficult; I just want to bring something interesting and good to ward functions. It is a way to cover for my deep-seated anxiety (no doubt seeds planted in my messed up childhood that I don’t want to talk about) about cooking in general.

I would prefer to never have to contribute food ever again. It is horribly stressful and I am always so glad when potlucks are over and 24 hours has passed without me getting any phone calls about a massive food poisoning outbreak in the ward. Seriously. It is my worst nightmare. For reals.

Happy Holiday Season and may your Ward Potlucks all be sugar-filled and bacteria-free.