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Worst Cooking Experience

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Joined: 21 Dec 2005
Posts: 108

PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 4:50 pm    Post subject: Worst Cooking Experience Reply with quote

My wife and I have been looking at revamping our diet recently to add more types of vegetables (now that my picky 10 year old son is suddenly branching out into new foods) and while we were thinking about recipes the discussion came back to what we call -- the vegetable broth disaster.

Back when we were newlyweds and living in a tiny apartment in Washington D.C., we once found a recipe (in a magazine probably) for a pasta and vegetable casserole that featured (as a significant ingredient) vegetable broth. So off we go to the Giant for two cups of Swanson's vegetable broth. That night my wife lovingly serves up the casserole, we each take our first bite -- and then spit them out simultaneously!

We eventually figured out that the culprit was the vegetable broth itself, which featured ingredients like broccoli, turnips and other things rich in glucosinolates and other bitter chemicals. However it turned us off vegetable broth nearly permanently until I learned to make my own with a more careful choice of vegetables.

So pardon the long intro, but the question for everyone is -- what is your worst cooking experience? What stories come back to haunt you about recipes gone bad? There are other tales I could tell (like the time my brother accidentally added a tablespoon of baking soda instead of a teaspoon in a cake recipe) but I'd like to hear yours. So everyone, fess up!
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Michael Chu

Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1654
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first time I had Tina over to my place to have dinner that I prepared, it was one of my Family Guy Nights (where up to 20 friends would show up to watch the last two weeks episodes of Family Guy and eat food taht I prepared). I had prepared beef stew the night before for the event, but the three gallons of stew never fully cooled and the stew kept itself hot as well as the bottom of the pot. What I found the next morning was that the bottom of the pot was burnt and even though I ladled all the stew out without stirring, the burnt taste was unmistakable. Since I had to work that day, there was no way I could prepare anything else, so I ended up calling it "Mesquite" Beef Stew.

All of it was consumed (which says a lot about how cheap twenty engineers just out of college can be) and Tina ended up marrying me a couple years later.
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Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had a couple of very awkward situations involving food.

Every year, me and my parents get invited to a veterans day party that is hosted by this really nice couple. One of the veterans that comes to the party usually steps up to man the grill. Problem is, the guy tends to cook meat to charcoal, and the always hosts feel it's a shame to let this enormous amounts of meat get ruined. So one year they asked my dad to do the cooking, and the next year they asked me. I was very happy to do it, and I came there early to start the grill up. People started arriving, and I put on a batch of hotdogs, cooked them, and served them. I than followed it with more hotdogs and burgers when more and more people started showing up. I started noticing that the food is not cooking very fast, which was weird because the gas was cranked all the way up. I finished cooking all the hotdogs, but people were getting hungry and ganging up on me for some meat (the people I knew tried to get me to play favorites). Obviously, some of the older guys started saying "why don't you let that guy who always does the cooking take over". This was a very uncomfortable situation, and I just couldn't figure it out, until one guy I knew said "maybe the gas is running low". I wanted to smack myself in the head, but he was right on the money. So he quickly changed tanks for me and I got to cooking. The rest went smoothly, even though people were still fighting over meat for the first few batches.

The second story happened the first dinner I did for friends in college. I thought of a Tex-Mex menu that included marinated grilled steak&chicken fajitas, mock beef cheek, spicy beans, rice pilaf, chunky salsa, and pan roasted vegetables. I cut up at least eight pounds of vegetables (red onoins, yellow squash, zucchinni, red bell pepper, mushrooms) and cooked them in a wok. I moved it to a large oval serving plate and left it to keep warm in the oven while I went outside to tend the grill. After running back and forth from the grill to the kitchen, and having cooked for 6 hours straight prior, I was pretty damn tired. I decided to take the vegetable plate out of the oven to put on the table, so I put on my silicon glove and reached in to grab it. As I was pulling it out, I realized that porcelain was smooth, and that greasy silicon gloves don't have much grab. The dish came crashing to the floor and spilling all it's contents infront of people I barely knew and just recently befriended. I cleaned it up with some help the best I could and went on with the dinner. It wasn't really missed, since I cooked WAY too much food to begin with, but I spent quite a bit of money on the produce and almost an hour for making it.

Interestingly enough, the cheap ceramic serving dish didn't even have a chip in it, which was quite impressive.

Sorry if I wrote a wall-of-text, hope you find it funny.
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Joined: 21 Dec 2005
Posts: 108

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reminds me of the turkey experience... Reply with quote

There was one year where I was at my niece's house (she had just had her first child days before) with my wife and my sister helping me in the kitchen while prepared Thanksgiving dinner. Cooking in someone else's kitchen is bad enough, but here we were hampered by the fact that my niece didn't have a roasting pan. No problem -- I pick up a foil pan at Safeway, slide it on a cookie sheet and pop the turkey inside.

About two hours later it's time to turn over the turkey, which had been breast-down for the first part of the roasting. My wife is helping me take it out when the foil pan starts to slide away from me. Instead of grabbing the pan to stop it, my wife decides not to "take one for the team", backs away when the turkey starts moving toward her and -- plop -- the turkey falls on the floor. So she, my sister and I are all staring at the turkey and asking each other -- do we tell my niece or not?

I ended up rinsing off the turkey, putting it back in the oven, and not saying a thing -- my niece never asked about the torn skin on the turkey... Wink
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Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't worry about a turkey hitting the floor either, and its a very good thing your wife didn't "take one for the team." My mother once did "take one for the team" and she got very severely burned when a foil pan buckled under the weight of a turkey.

After all, the inside is cooked and the outside of the turkey skin has a lot worse pathogenic bacteria on it from the processing plant than your floor has on it. After several more minutes in the oven, the skin is completely disinfected again. You made the right decision.
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Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many years ago, coming home at bar time. Hammered. Hungry. Frozen pizza in oven. Pass out. Wake up next morning to an ebony frisbee in the oven. Maybe that's not a real appropriate tale...

Ok. A couple of years ago. Carefully peel and seed a number of quarts of garden grown tomatoes. Plan to make home-made tomato paste. Carefully reduce over many hours at very low heat. Fall asleep on the couch at around one. Wake up at about three AM, forget about my concoction on the stove. Next morning, trudge down the stairs, and find thick, brownish goo in the bottom of my All-Clad braisier. Curse. No alcohol was involved.
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Long Island Cook

Joined: 09 Jan 2008
Posts: 7
Location: Long Island, NY

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:40 am    Post subject: News Years Eve many years ago.. Reply with quote

Itís News Years Eve many years ago, cold and snowy outside the party going well inside.
Being the ever thoughtful host decide to fire up the gas grill outside for some late night sausage and peppers.
Cooked up mass quantities of S&Pís, loaded them in roasting pan for transport into the house. Shut the grill, put the roasting pan inside too keep warm on this cold night while I made sure every thing else was ready.
This is when the story gets interesting. Go out to bring in the sausage and peppers, flip open the grill that has now cooled, and grab the roasting pan with my bare hand. Well the grill may have been cool but that roasting pan hadnít. Shock I think the alcohol consumed delay the pain signals reaching the brain. Now I canít just let go of the pan and loose all those fine S&Pís , testosterone mandates that I have to hold it long enough to place it safely back on the grill. Needless to say when I final placed the pan back down my palm was practically stuck to it. The subsequent throbbing for the rest of the night I distinctly remember to this day.
Sad Sad
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Joined: 23 Apr 2008
Posts: 4
Location: Winnipeg, CA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mine has to be The Great Chicken Bundle Disaster.

One of my all time favorite recipes is an 'evolved' recipe. The original recipe calls for marinated chicken, ham and green onions to be wrapped in parchment (yes, paper!) and deep fried. When the time comes to eat it, you unwrap each appetizer and slurp down the contents.

Now, this has evolved as time went on in my house to baking the bundles, to replacing the parchement with tinfoil, and finally replacing the tinfoil with wonton wrappers and the ham with back bacon (giving us edible wrappers)

So, one fine Saturday comes around, and I can feel my bimonthly craving for these tasty if time consuming bundles coming on. Off I go to the grocery store!

My first hurdle, the grocery store has been thoroughly picked over, and all I can find for chicken meat short of buying full chickens is a tray of boned breasts. As I usually use chicken thigh meat for this, I shrug, and throw the breast meat in the basket.

Once I get home, I discover I should have really checked the cupboards before going shopping. Chicken hadn't been the only ingredient I was missing. Thats ok, I think, I can substitute!

So. Cornstarch gets substituted for the missing tapioca, ground ginger for the missing fresh ginger, and a dash of red wine vinegar for the missing white wine.

Mix everything up, set it to bake, and...

That day I learned my lesson that when substituting things into a recipe, it generally doesn't work out when half the ingredients are CLOSE but not quite what they should be. Blech.
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Joined: 24 Apr 2008
Posts: 39
Location: LA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like intensely flavored things.

So, I made a seafood cioppino, but insead of putting the recommended amount of clam juice in, I thought I'd be brilliant and add even more than asked for, following my desire for intensely flavored stuff.

Well, it tasted like the ocean. I could tell by the looks on people's faces after the first spoonfull that something was wrong.

Ha ha, live and learn.
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