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Most memorable cooking disaster?

When I was first teaching myself to cook I tried to impress a boy by making some kind of chicken/mushroom fricassee. The very fresh mushrooms leaked all of their gill colour into the cream sauce and turned the dish into the exact colour of concrete. The massive chunks of chicken breast failed to pick up any flavour from the sauce, and to top it all off were half raw on the inside. I freaked out and threw the whole thing in the garbage and we got in a HUGE fight solely because I was so embarrassed. (This took place in Florence, Italy, so I had a lot to live up to...)

What were the cooking disasters that haunt you still?

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  1. I once tried to make a "no-bake" cheesecake and it didn't set. And I waited, and waited, and waited, and finally, I had to scrape the mixture off the crumb base, sieve it (to get out the crumbs) beat in some egg yolks, and fold in some whipped egg-whites for a nice, cheese souffle!

    TT

    1. After roasting a loin of pork and while it set, I started making the gravy. I began adding the thickening agent (cornstarch and water) and the gravy kept getting sweeter and sweeter but would not thicken, so i made another batch. the same thing happened and then I looked at the box- it was powdered sugar not cornstarch!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: RichK

        I did a similar thing; was making a chinese stirfry, and added the cornstarch, but it didn't thicken, kept adding more... In my case I was adding baking soda instead of cornstarch!

      2. The old clove/bulb of garlic mix up

        1 Reply
        1. re: amkirkland

          I think I posted this on the different thread once, but a good friend (cooking in an unfamiliar kitcken) once sauteed meat in green washing up liquid (in their defense, the liquid WAS contained in one of those long, thin, glass bottles with an oil pourer top!

          That same person also (but in a different meal) added a CUP of Bouillon POWDER, instead of a cup of Bouillon MADE UP with water!!!!!

          TT

        2. When I worked at a cook at a banquet hall, I accidentally used salt instead of sugar when mixing up the filling for the lemon meringue pies. Fortunately for everyone involved - and you may all take comfort in this fact - lemon meringue pie filling does not thicken properly when made with salt. If it had thickened, I wouldn't have ever known what I had done, and the pies would have been served. After all, I had done it so many times before that I didn't even bother tasting the filling anymore. Chucked 6 pies worth into the trash and started over.

          Gah. Horrible.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Nyleve

            haha that happened to me before also..but as a guest at a restuaurant eating a chocolate salt souffle!

            1. re: Nyleve

              I was helping my dad cater a small event recently, and one of the items on the menu was a dish of sweet, sugar-glazed carrots. We noticed after the main course that everybody had loved the entree, but the carrots were seemingly untouched. Upon tasting them, dad realized that the salt and sugar canisters were stored side-by-side and looked virtually identical. Lessons learned: always taste before you serve, and ALWAYS LABEL YOUR CONTAINERS.

            2. My boyfriend (now husband) was on a French national sports team, and when I suggested he invite a couple of friends to dinner he invited the WHOLE TEAM! So my very first dinner party meant cooking coq au vin for 30 people! At first all the fat rose to the top (coq au fat? I was able to skim it off), then it turned very purple from the cheap wine I used before it mellowed into a more palatable color. In the end it was edible and they had a great time but I aged ALOT that day...