6 Handy Excuses for When Your Potluck Dish Gives Everyone Food Poisoning

It’s the kind of horror that seems inescapable—everyone at this potluck is getting sick, and it’s probably because of that day-old ceviche you brought. Maybe you should have washed your hands after that bathroom break, or maybe that fish was on sale for a reason, but that’s no reason not to make an excuse for your mistake. Here’s how to downplay the effects of your dish that you’ve unleashed on your family and friends:


“At least it wasn’t real poison.”


Food poisoning is nothing compared to real poisoning. This would be the ideal time to remind everyone of this simple, undeniable truth. Sure, everyone’s bowels are in a state of thunderous disrepair, but at least you’re not evil and they’re not dead.


“Think of this as an instant cleanse!”


Everybody wants to go on a cleanse, but few people have the wherewithal to do it. So remind your friends that, when this is all over, their insides will never be cleaner. Really, they should consider this a blessing. And you deserve nothing less than a hearty, “thanks.”


“2014 was a really rough year.”


With Ferguson, ISIS, war in the Ukraine, civil unrest, international hacking scandals, and the ongoing threat of global warming, what’s a little everyone food poisoning? How is one supposed to cook a foodborne illness-free meal while the world is falling apart around them? Remind everyone that the world is a scary place, and food poisoning is a walk in the park in comparison.



“Think of it as a food experience.”


Most dishes are eaten and swallowed without a second thought. But with your dish, eaters experienced a full range of human emotion—joy, unrest, despair, rage, exhaustion, helplessness, regret, and in some cases, renewed faith in God. Even the most celebrated chefs can’t say their food brings people crawling back into the arms of God. For that, you deserve a pat on the back.


“Hey, look over there.”

Every toilet and sink is occupied, and nothing can be worse than the shame you feel for causing all of this to happen. So, it can’t hurt to distract everyone while you high tail it to your car and drive away. Be careful not to distract them too much, or they may accidentally puke on themselves with their heads turned in disgust and confusion. But thankfully, you don’t have to clean up the aftermath. At least you have that.