HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >

Discussion

Your most infamous kitchen misadventure

We talk a lot here about our misadventures in restaurants across the country-- what about in your own kitchen? 'Fess up.

Me? I tried to defrost butter in the microwave... with the foil wrapping paper still on. Oh the shame...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. As an under-equipped and overly-ambitious young wife, I was melting parafin to seal some jams I had made for giftgiving. Ah, but no good equipment for parafin melting. I, the village idiot, swirled the chunks of parafin in an old mayo jar over the flame on my gas stove.

    Um. Jar broke. Melted parafin everwhere. You know those nice little jets on the burners? The electronic ignition on the burners? The look on the face of the young husband under-equipped to deal with the de-waxing-type repair?

    We did manage to clean the whole thing out (eventually), but with a cloud of blue language that hung over the house for days.

    Never made jam since. Am still under-equipped for that.

    1. I'm notorious for boil overs....usually because I'm doing too many things, in various rooms of the house all at once. You would think I'd learn to lower the burner, not leave the room...focus on one thing..but no, I'm the boil over queen.

      1. Years ago, I lived in a small 3rd floor apartment. I had made dinner for myself and my then gf. After dinner, I put the dishes in the sink and turned the water on to let the dishes soak. We then put sat on couch, propped our feet up and watched a movie. At the end of the movie, I put my foot down and realized the whole floor was soaked. I had let the water run for almost 2 hours!!

        That was most un-pleasant and I felt really bad for our downstairs neighbors.

        1. I was cooking at the house of a Martha Stewart type. She kept her diswasher soap in one of those squarish olive oil bottles, with a pour spout.

          You can see where this is going; marinade lamb chops in garlic, parsley and EVDAB (Extra Virgin Dawn "Apple Blossom" scent detergent), grill over open flames, enjoy.

          4 Replies
            1. re: bengoshi

              THAT is funny! And what was the reaction from the crowd?

              1. re: HaagenDazs

                Well, when I served up the lamb chops, there were a few puzzled expresions. The garlic was there, and that gamey lamb flavor, but then there were those bubbles!

                As I bit in to the lamb it suddenly struck me; most times, when you screw something up, somewhere, deep in your brain, your are already aware of exactly what you did wrong. My brain calculated it right away -- "Olive oil? No. Fancy schmancy dish detergent in an olive oil bottle!"

                Of course, to my guests, I blamed it all on the Martha Stewart who owned the house, making some lame excuse about how she must have allowed soap to remain on her grill, and it got on the lamb. But I knew better....

              2. re: bengoshi

                that is pretty great. i'm giggling as i type

              3. Ok we had made french frys many times but always shoestring. One day we go to make thick cut sweet potato fries. I put the usual amount of oil in the pan and bring to a boil. Dump the fries in and the oil goes up and over the pan. Then it catches fire. A colume of flame shoot up to the ceiling. YIKES. I was backed into a corner, thank god for my husband who had the where with all to reach in and turn the gas off.

                1. Two that come to mind seem rather mild, but also disconcerting - I separated one frozen turkey burger from the other and placed it in the frying pan. After the required minutes of cooking, I turned it over, and noticed that it really didn't look cooked. I examined it more closely, and saw that a transparently colored thin wax paper divider was still sticking to its surface.

                  But the item that was alarming to me, was ... well have you heard of "burnt toast?" I did, and now I know why it is called that. I placed a slice of bread in my toaster oven (that had been used for other items like baking fried fish, with some oil), and after a minute turned around to see the progress of the toasting, only to see a bright orange red color coming up from the bread. Never had the experience of burning toast like that.

                  1. well, I always cooked, but easy stuff (meat, potatoes , veggies, salads) and did it ok . Then I decided to branch out - I tried some split pea soup with ham.

                    i followed a recipe - and all was well - very well, in fact, till at the end , the recipe said to blenderize the ingredients - (after taking the ham out) if I wanted a finer texture. My kitchen had brick walls. The soup was hot.

                    Need I say more? Literally, for years, I was finding spots of green on the walls and cabinets. It exploded out of that blender so fast - and when it hit the bricks , it was hot and quickly cooled and cemented itself.

                    it was awful and it kinda taught me a lesson. Actually 3 lessons:

                    1. never blenderize hot foods
                    2. never again have brick walls in kitchen
                    3. never make pea soup again

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: dibob817

                      Tell me more about this rule #1. When I make cream of veggie I always put it in hot... I've never had an explosion so I'm wondering why this happens. Did it happen because of the steam? Was it an overfilling issue? Please advise.

                      1. re: amandine

                        oh, I guess I must have overfilled it - but not by much - I have since read in a few places that u have to be very careful blending hot foods - yeah , it's the steam and it becomes impossible to hold the top on - the pressure was enormous.

                        1. re: dibob817

                          When I use the blender with hot liquids, I try to cool it a bit first - or fill it less than half full and do it in batches ... but yes, you do have to be careful.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            I always just cover the top with a doubled over kitchen towel and hold on tight!

                            1. re: coll

                              After my first hot soup/blender debacle (and I won't bore you with details or a repeat of the blue language), I got an immersion blender. Great kitchen tool.

                              1. re: MysticYoYo

                                I have an immersion blender, too, that I use. But I'm not a real big fan of pureed soups, so as a general rule if something asks for pureeing--like if it's full of taters and smashing a few of them up would thicken the broth--I get my good ol' potato masher out.

                    2. When I was a young cook, just starting out in my culinary career, I decided to make one of my employer's specialties- blackened tofu sandwiches- at home for my family.

                      Three onion sour cream, check. Alfalfa sprouts for garnish, check. Buns, check. Hot, hot cast iron skillet, check. Now, I'll just dip the sliced tofu in some clarified butter, then the spice mix, throw it on the pan and...

                      Within seconds, the kitchen filled with choking cayenne smoke. Within a minute, the entire downstairs was filling up. After five minutes (the pan, tofu and all, was now in the sink under the running water) the entire house looked like a riot zone: tear- and cough- inducing smoke, people running out with shirts over their mouths, shouting, accusations of attempted homicide, Granny cursing me in French... Even the dog looked at me as if to say, "You asshole." It took hours to air the house out enough for us to return.

                      So I learned the difference between a restaurant hood and home kitchen exhaust fan that day.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: The Engineer

                        One year I grew horseradish and thought all summer how good it would be grated fresh. The recipes don't mention the tear gas quality of the fumes, we almost died (did it in the food processor, so there was a lot at once). Next year, they came up again, so we said, we'll be smart and do it outside...it was just as bad. Now I always buy it "prepared".

                        1. re: coll

                          And it has a split second delayed reaction, so you take a whiff and are thinking, that's not so bad, then the effect hits, feels like a blowtorch to the sinuses.

                          1. re: coll

                            My great-grandmother always had great-grandpa make horseradish in the basement. He was afflicted with terrible asthma his whole live - great grandma couldn't have cared less. He didn't have life insurance, so she probably wasn't trying to kill him......

                            1. re: coll

                              I did the same thing with brownies...one minute they were in my hand, the next minute they were on the floor.... good thing I had mopped it while the brownies were baking.....

                              oh... i forgot my grandma's favorite story about teaching me to make piecrust. I guess I was about 4 or 5. while trying to roll it out it somehow slipped onto the floor. I gather I decided that stomping on it would be a more effective way of spreading it out. Must have worked because grandma put in a pan, filled it, and baked it. Naturally she told everyone about it just as they were finishing dessert. Quite the character grandma was.....

                            2. re: The Engineer

                              I'm tearing up laughing over this...

                              1. re: The Engineer

                                my housemate in college once filled up our house with a pepper spray type substance by frying habaneros in olive oil for her stir fry. My other housemate and I couldn't figure out, for the longest time, why we couldn't stop coughing. Then we realized that Val was trying to kill us all with ther stir fry.

                              2. barefoot, i pulled a disposable tin tray of baked stuffed shells out of the oven. tray collapsed in the middle. HOT baked shells all over the inside of the oven door, the floor and of course, my bare feet. OUCH and a blessed mess!

                                1. Can't seem to remember any of my own disasters (selective amnesia clearly) but...
                                  My sister put custard powder in soup rather than cornflour (actually didn't taste too bad!)
                                  My science teacher (I'm not kidding) once told us how she wanted a cup of tea so cheated by reheating the tea in her tea pot in the microwave (gross), she then told us that her porcelain teapot had gilt edges and exploded. Oops. I'm not sure which is more disturbing, reheating stewed tea or being a science teacher and actually admitting to this!
                                  Thinking about it we (sister and I) actually almost did the classic salt not sugar in a biscuit mix but caught it just as we were about to pour it in to the butter to beat in so disaster averted!

                                  1. I was trying to coat some pecans in one of my All-Clad pans with some maple syrup and walked off and left it. Holy geez, what a mess. I cooked a nice additional layer of stuff on top of the non-stick. My husband managed to salvage the pan by taking it out to the shop and just griding the non-stick off. It's still a great pan, but definitely not non-stick.

                                    1. ooo I forgot - my uncle made popcorn in the microwave, that is, he put popcorn in the microwave and turned it on!

                                      1. A friend gave me some Mexican vanilla in a Snapple bottle and I don't like Mexican vanilla so I dumped it on my mother. She put it in her refrigerator and promptly forgot about it. Some months later, my sister in law was visiting mom and looking in the frig for something to drink. She grabbed that Snapple bottle and tipped it back. It was a frosty weekend after that

                                        1. I was home alone and getting ready to make dinner before my husband came home. I began cutting into a squash but it was too tough and my knife slipped. I cut my index finger wide open. I had never seen so much blood in my life, so I fainted! When I woke up, my friend was standing over me and she took me to the hospital. I needed four stitches.

                                          I've never cut a squash again. I hate to admit it, but I buy pre-cut now.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: katiepie

                                            Ooooh! I did the same thing, but I did it the day before 20 people were to come for Thanksgiving. Mine took 10 stitches. Then, the next year on Christmas eve, I was checking on some potatoes roasting in the oven, and wanted to shake them so they wouldn't stick. The potholder slipped, and I was afraid the pan would fall to the floor, so I grabbed it. I spent the rest of the evening, and all the next day, clutching bags of frozen peas.

                                            1. re: phofiend

                                              Try aloe next time, I've gotten some bad burns and if you put aloe on right away, you'll forget it even happened.

                                              1. re: phofiend

                                                Be careful with ice... best to run your burn IMMEDIATELY under cold water for 10 minutes or so (I'm serious, don't cut yourself short) Ice can burn you too.

                                                1. re: amandine

                                                  I burned my hand at church on a shelf over the stove - but I had an ob-gyn appointment soon so I decided he could look at my burn - wrong - he told me it was a second degree burn and that's about as far as the first aid went.

                                            2. Two things come to mind.

                                              One, during the first Christmas dinner I cooked, when I was 24 with friends from college. We did the turkey and side dishes just fine. I had baked a sour cream apple pie for dessert. The recipe was from the New Basics cookbook, and called for a homemade crust, with a lattice top on the pie. It was beautiful and all went well in the making of the pie, as well as during the baking. However, the pie pan (a disposable foil one, oops!), collapsed as I removed it from the oven, and the entire pie ended up on the floor! Thankfully we had a door on our tiny NY kitchen, and it was closed at the time. I scooped up the pie and served it as "cobbler," but the entire experience scarred me for life as to baking. I still remember the moment when I looked in the oven and knew it was done, with the pretty lattice pie crust on the top!

                                              The other incident was recently and I should have known better. I was making toasted pita chips in my toaster oven. I'd sliced the pita bread into quarters and opened them up, then brushed them liberally with olive oil. I put them on a tray in the toaster oven, and set it for the time I thought it would take. I left the kitchen for only a few minutes, I swear! When I came back to the kitchen the pitas "toasts" were on FIRE in the toaster oven (which was situated right below my wooden cabinets). I freaked out, grabbed a mitt, pulled the tray out, and then sprayed it down with the spray nozzle from the sink. Thankfully nothing else but the toasts burned, but I can relate to the poster that talked about intolerable smoke!

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: DanaB

                                                Re: pie-- Oh no you didn't!!!!!!

                                                1. re: amandine

                                                  i did the same thing with a pan of brownies once, the edge just sort of bent.. and then they were on the floor ....hey my floor was clean (as I'm sure Dana's was.)

                                                2. re: DanaB

                                                  When I was 9 or 10, I made my very first lattice top cherry pie. All from scratch, it was perfect. As my mom went to put it into the oven, she somehow dropped it, and the whole thing fell onto the open oven door and down into the crack better the oven and the door. She scooped it back together as best she could, but man was I upset.

                                                  I still love to bring it up sometimes (with a twinkle in my eye), and pretend to still be mad at her.

                                                  1. re: DanaB

                                                    One of my funniest childhood memories happened when my mom did something very similar, taking a whole cookie sheet full of flaming toasts out of the oven, running straight out the door, and dumping them onto a big snowdrift.

                                                    Months later, as the snow melted, we actually saw birds out in the yard feasting on the now-unfrozen remains of our flaming snack.

                                                  2. I cooked a Thanksgiving turkey in an old roaster oven that I inherited from my mother in law. The kind with the big cover. I actually loved it and had used it in previous years because it freed up space for other things in my oven. I had everything timed and well planned out. Turkey cooked a couple of hours and at one point I went to baste and ...oh oh! roaster oven was cold! Had to transfer to other oven and meal time got pushed ahead a couple of hours! More appetizers and wine got served!

                                                    1. I once read that fried celery leaves make a tasty garnish. What I SHOULD have remembered is "perfectly dry celery leaves make an excellent garnish when fried". Wet celery leaves, on the other hand, create a massive kitchen disaster.

                                                      1. Was prepping dinner. My chef's knife tumbled off the counter onto my naked foot. I severed the tendon to my big toe. Spent 6 hrs waiting in the emergency room, got stitched up and returned 1 week later for surgury. Was 6 weeks in a cast (OVER my summer vacation!!!)Gained 10 lbs from inactivity. Lesson learned. NEVER cook in bare feet. I took a knife skills class too. :)

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: shaebones

                                                          Oo I did this too! It hurt like hell! I only dinged the tendon, tough. It was a deep cut. I didn't bother going to the doctor about it - can't bend my big toe back anymore.

                                                        2. Oh yeah there's more... Just a week ago I was making rabbit cacciatore from Mario Batali's book. I put my brand new Le Creuset casserole on my brand new glass top electric stove, and four minutes later... CRACK! Olive oil everywhere. Now I have two half pans. As I had already thrown the box and papers for the casserole away, I'm not sure if it was my boo-boo or a fault in the pottery... but I have my suspicions... :D

                                                          Then there was the time, about age 16, I wanted to see if Mom's blender motor was really so strong. I reached down with my forearm in the glass pitcher part, and interlaced my fingers in the 4-pronged blade. Real firm grip, like a Rodeo star! I hit "pulse." In the blink of an eye, my hand was ejected into the air (still attached but very bloody!) I still have the scars at the base of 3 fingers. Osterizer 1, Young Engineer 0.

                                                          Most embarassing disaster was Thanksgiving for the in-laws when the oven thermometer didn't work. Turkey was finally served (finished in the microwave) at 10:30 PM.

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: The Engineer

                                                            Le Creuset will replace it without the box, papers, or receipt- just give them a call!

                                                            1. re: Katie Nell

                                                              Oh, no! I assumed I wasn't supposed to put it over such high heat, so I threw it in the trash! D'oh!

                                                              1. re: The Engineer

                                                                I think the pottery LeC casseroles are like pyrex -- not intended for stove tops.
                                                                they can take high heat in an oven
                                                                (you know...for the next one...)

                                                            2. re: The Engineer

                                                              Wow, you are one chowhound I wish I could meet. I am amazed that you ended up going to cooking school after all four of these disasters!

                                                              1. re: amandine

                                                                Three of the four happened AFTER cooking school!

                                                                1. re: The Engineer

                                                                  in that case, i am impressed that you stuck with it AND you have all your digits intact!

                                                            3. I'm sensing a trend with knives and flames -- my disaster was the latter.

                                                              S'mores brownies. Blazing marshmallows in the oven. (Kind of authentic, actually).

                                                              1. Baked the chicken with the packet of guts still (frozen) inside, for my mother in law! DH neglected to tell me same MIL hates garlic before I prepared the 40 clove chicken!

                                                                1. I was living with my sister, who had invited an attractive man over for dinner. Drinks and the salad were without incident, and we were having a fine time. Then, she proudly placed the entree, Dover sole with white wine sauce a la James Beard, which is finished off under the broiler to brown the Parmesan, on the glass table top. The glass table was cold, the stoneware plates quite hot. We all sat down at our places, just in time to hear the plates crack, and see them move apart and the delicious sauce seep down between the cracks. She salvaged what she could of the entree, and we counted our blessings that it wasn't the tabletop that cracked!

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Seldomsated

                                                                    That's quite a visual. My parents have a glass-topped table and I'm amazed one of the grandkids hasn't broken it yet. I never thought about the plates breaking, though.

                                                                    1. re: Glencora

                                                                      My sister fell through our parents glass table when small - she was fine, replacing the glass was (I am assured) something of a pain!

                                                                  2. Two stories come to mind for me (but NOTHING compared to the bloody messes some of you have experienced! How awful!)

                                                                    One time, I was baking an apple pie and carelessly spilled salt all over the counter. Well, I guess something else came up and I completely forgot to clean up the salt. In the end, part of the pie was good, but every couple of bites, there would be a salt pocket...that part wasn't so good.

                                                                    Second, when I was little I decided to take on my first real cooking experience. I wanted to make a fruitcake for my dad (as if those things aren't bad enough...keep reading). So, I measured out all of the ingredients and put them in seperate bowls, not wanting to get anything wrong. Later, when I took the cake out of the oven, it was extremely watery. Turns out, I forgot to add the flour! I was so upset but my poor dad (what a nice guy) ate some of the 'cake' anyway to make me feel better. He said it was delicious...yea, right, but thanks, dad!

                                                                    1. Ah, so many misadventures ..... so little time .....
                                                                      + Gorgeous lattice-topped cherry pie for my new husband (made without pitting the cherries)
                                                                      + Scotch is not a good substitute for Marsala when making halibut
                                                                      + Using the last of the vacation cabin eggs to make angel food cake (whipped [??] the whites in a plastic bowl) produced a mysterious 1" high object that even the dog found objectionable
                                                                      + Published a recipe for Grand Marnier chocolate crepes omitting the flour

                                                                      But my worst hour was setting a huge fire in my parents kitchen. Age 17 with zero cooking experience, I figured I could produce a BLT, how hard could it be? Black iron skillet on high, turn on the hood fan, stick of butter into the pan then the bacon. I left the room to check on a new BF and was delayed ..... Next thing I knew was billowing black smoke and a fast call to the fire dept. Flames had already reached the wooden roof in one of those tinder-dry canyons outside of LA and we were lucky to save the rest of the house.

                                                                      The years since then have yielded plenty of cuts and small flails but nothing of this magnitude.

                                                                      1. Ugh - I made angel food cake in regular pans (well, in two cake pans) and forgot the very important fact that angel food RISES! Let's just say I'm not allowed to make ANY cakes anymore in our house.

                                                                        1. Another knife story. My SO was trying to separate two pieces of frozen fish. He'd cut himself doing it before, in a minor way, so I told him to be careful and left the room. When I heard him yelling, I thought, yeah, right, you're teasing me. Then he said, "I'm scared," in a little voice. I went in and blood was spraying everywhere. He'd stabbed himself in the palm of his left hand. I called 911 and they took him away. I was left to wash droplets of blood off the walls, the stove, the pots and pans, the pictures on the wall, the onions in the basket...everything. For some odd reason he told the doctor he'd been trying to cut a bagel in half. He thought fish sounded worse. Also, he'd taken an asprin that morning and the doctor said that it had made him bleed much faster.

                                                                          1. I've always liked roast duck but never made it at home. I located a roast duck recipe by Michael Lomanaco on Food TV. It sounded simple enough but it called for the duck to be cooked at a very high temperature. As I watched smoke billowing out of the oven, I told myself, "This is what it says to do in the recipe so it must be right." Needless to say, the house stunk of duck for days and the oven was a mess from all of the hot fat being slung around. Never again!

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Scagnetti

                                                                              That just reminded me of when I put a stick of butter in the oven to soften and then forgot about it and preheated the oven to 500 degrees. Not just the smoke, but the SMELL was horrible.

                                                                            2. As a teen, I was in charge of "cooking" family dinner so everything was ready by the time my mom got home. A casserole had already been prepared and it was my job to put it into the stove to warm up. I had no problem putting it in the oven and setting the timer on the microwave (no egg timer at the time).
                                                                              About 30 minutes into the cooking I go to check on the dish and the kitchen is filled with smoke. Turns out I set the microwave to cook and it cooked itself. The whole thing was melted inside. The house reeked of burnt plastic for weeks! We laugh about it now, but I got in big trouble for that one;)

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: lbmsw

                                                                                that is almost as bad as one of my sister's friends who, when microwaves were new, decided that it would be much simpler to hard cook an egg in the microwave and just put a couple of eggs in there in the shell. Not only did the eggs explode and catch on fire but it set the smoke alarm off and it was ceiling mounted and thee was no step ladder or stool avaliable so the solution was to charge down the hall and take a flying leap and yank the thiing out of the ceiling.

                                                                                I melted a dropped ceiling with flambeeing something once and another time as a young and inexperienced cook when it came to Chinese cookery did not read a recipe throug to the end for Peiking duck. Oh my gosh I needed to dry that thing for 24 hours???? I ended up using a hair dryer on it. I did try to make a cake from scratch as a young teen and omitted the bakng powder. Not many disasters otherwise.

                                                                              2. -my mother caught her hair on fire lighting birthday candles
                                                                                -put a wooden spoon in the blender to push some frozen berries down and broke the spoon, chunks of wood flew everywhere
                                                                                -while making hummus the lid of the pepper shaker fell off and half of the bottle of pepper fell into the bowl. this was good however, we ended up adding more in the end since it was still rather bland!
                                                                                -wanted smores and was impatient so put some chocolate chips in the microvawe, but for too long. they burnt and when my parents came home they could still smell it. a week later they decided to get a new microvawe. no amount of cleaning would get the burnt smell out/

                                                                                1. When I first got my food processor I happily embarked on making carrot soup. Cooked it, pureed in food processor, gave it a stir w/ rubber spatula. Pureed some more. This thing works great!
                                                                                  Later I noticed most of my spatula was missing. It was in the soup!

                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                    Oh my - that reminds me of chopping ham for a bean soup years ago. Kids were small,cranky and fighting, and barrelled into the kitchen and into Mom. Knife slipped, and I cut the tip of my finger off (just flesh, not bone, thank the gods). After dealing with the blood and the kids, I was just too bloody unwilling to sort through a pile of chopped up pink ham for one piece of chopped up pink fingertip.

                                                                                    I threw the whole mess in the soup and figured "what they don't know..."

                                                                                        1. re: Prav

                                                                                          oh, there's nothing wrong with it. i promise you that you've been eating little pieces of nail/flesh/hair from yourself, your friends and neighbors and total strangers for your entire life. a good portion of the dust in your house is your (& your family's and pet's) dead skin cells, and you breathe that on a regular basis.

                                                                                          besides, it tastes like pork (or so i'm told).

                                                                                          1. re: mark

                                                                                            Cayjohan, funny story if a bit cringe-inducing.

                                                                                            Mark, there's a huge difference between eating a cube of finely diced fingertip and breathing dust. While some of my skin cells have doubtless sloughed off in the course of cooking, I don't think that anyone was ever able to distinguish them as an added element to the dish.

                                                                                        2. re: cayjohan

                                                                                          Besides being gross, weren't you in horrible pain? I cut the tip off a finger gardening once. Wasn't fun.

                                                                                          1. re: Glencora

                                                                                            I got part of the end of a finger into a Feemster slicer once when I was making bread-and-butter pickles. It didn't end up in the finished product, but I had to go buy one of those metal splint thingies and wear it for about a week because everytime anything would touch that fingertip I had this incredible blinding pain.

                                                                                            After that I usually wear rubber gloves when I'm using the Feemster slicer. If you cut the end off the finger of a glove, it doesn't bleed, or hurt nearly as bad.

                                                                                      1. My greatest misadventure was the time i made angel food cake. I'm not really the world's most patient person, so i was getting annoyed with how long it was taking to beat the egg whites. I just gave up and continued to make the cake batter. When i put it in the oven to bake, it never got light and airy like it was supposed to. It weighed about 20 pounds and was extremely dense. It tasted good though! haha

                                                                                        There was also the time that I decided to make a Panettone for christmas. It didnt cook all the way through and was half raw. Again, it tasted great though!

                                                                                        I also once made panna cotta. Something was wrong with the gelatin that i used and after refrigerating it for the proper amount of time, I went to take it out of the mold and the whole thing collapsed. Everyone still ate it though, but it was quite funny. It was more like pudding!

                                                                                        1. I left a couple of my students at school with a box of Brownie mix while I went to get some eggs from the kitchen. They assured me they knew what to do. They looked at the measuring cup and figured the lines were 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 cup markers. We ended up with the worst brownies I ever saw - no one wanted to eat them. The measure cup was 2 cups so they had doubled all the liquids.

                                                                                          1. As a teenager, when I made my first Chinese stir-fry which called for two cloves of garlic. Clove? What's that? Two garlic bulbs later, my poor family couldn't go out in public for days.

                                                                                            1. During a party, making whip cream in the kitchen with lots of happy people talking and laughing, the cord to the portable mixer fell out of the mixer (it was the kind that plugged into the wall and the other end into the mixer body) into the whip cream - I didn't think and put it in my mouth to clean off the whip cream. I got a nasty shock and a burn on my tongue. My friends later said that if I had died it would have been befitting for me to be killed by one last taste of whip cream.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Elsie

                                                                                                Hi-larious! Glad it turned out not to be fatal!

                                                                                              2. During college, we were staying at a friend's summer house. Bought some wonderful soft shell crabs. Sauteed in a delicate sauce. Moved the pan off the electric burner. Went next door to check on our other friends. Home owner moved the pan back to the electric burner & turned the burner back on from off. She came next door... 15 minutes later I returned to the kitchen to get another bottle of wine to a blackened, smoke filled kitchen. Home owner lost her insurance & had to spend several thousand to get the kitchen cleaned back to white.

                                                                                                1. Me: young, inexperienced cook. Dinner guest: Harry the Chef. Not wanting to look like I was trying to impress him, I decided a simple roast beef would be perfect. Except we were poor and I had no idea about meat. Turns out that $.59/lb. beef does not, in fact, roast to fork-tender perfection. Actually, you couldn't get a fork INTO it even, never mind a knife.

                                                                                                  We ate the potatoes. Never saw Harry the Chef again. Doesn't matter - he was my husband's friend, not mine.

                                                                                                  1. How odd is it that I can't remember anything that I have done that would qualify as a disaster? Nevermind the fact that I could be a hand model for "Safety First" week with my impressive collection of knife scars and burns...

                                                                                                    I do remember a roommate of mine who attempted to make angel hair pasta with a delicate lemon sauce. Since he didn't know what it meant to zest a lemon, he insisted on chopping the lemond rind (yes, I said rind. Peel, pith and all), the parmesean was not grated but rather chopped into tiny cubes and all pasta he made was first broken into bite-sized pieces and then boiled to paste. The only texture in the dish was chunks of raw lemon rind and scrag-ends of cheese. I didn't evem pretend to like it.

                                                                                                    He was AWFUL...once he insisted on making potato pancakes and misread the recipe, thinking that 2tsp of salt read, 2T of sald. What's the difference?

                                                                                                    Then there was the time that my dad stumbled upon a "super secret" recipe for the world's best ribs. Something got screwed up in translation and the ribs went on the grill wrapped in saran wrap rather than aluminum foil. The worst part was that he couldn't admit he had fouled up and made everyone try them.

                                                                                                    1. Well there are more than I care to mention but here are a couple:

                                                                                                      Once had a small cut on my finger and so I secured a nice band-aid. Then that evening I decided to make pizza for my sons from scratch. You know the dough is just so much better. As we were enjoying the pizza my youngest son pulled an unidentified object out of his mouth and holding it up in the air, wanted to know if was it an onion? Errrrr... ah... NO give met that! It was my band-aide. He turned green. Oops sorry!!!

                                                                                                      Baking is not my strong point but I will plunder through with determination, I'll be a great baker one day! So years ago I made a cake and then decided, hmmm I want to color the frosting... color technician I am not. Blue, green, a little yellow, more green, red, shoot, this is not the color I was hoping for, more yellow...Oh WOW! Battle ship gray!! It's a good thing my Dad was in the Navy, we all laughed at that one! Like I meant to do that!

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                        Ever see the hilarious episode of the great PBS show Chef starring the wonderful comedian Lenny Henry? A sous chef discovers he has lost his band aide while making hundreds of raviolis for service that night.The whole kitchen, a bunch of loony, loveable folks, has to pick through each of them during a very stressful, busy time in the kitchen, the executive chef is apoplectic. I think they later find the band aide on the floor. This series is a must see for all of us hounds, it really hits home. You can rent it, all of the 12 or so episodes take place in the proper kitchen of a very up tight chef in the English country side, whose staff are all basically inept. It's a riot!

                                                                                                        1. re: missclaudy

                                                                                                          These stories always remind me of the Three Stooges episode where Moe, Larry and Curly stuff a turkey with whole eggs and a can of something, can included. You can hear the crunch as dinner guests take bites, and one pulls a watch out of her mouth. Love it!!!

                                                                                                        2. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                          I am so relieved to see another band aid mishap. I'd made my first meatloaf (didn't like Mom's meatloaf so I thought I'd give it a try). I'd had a small cut on my finger and had put on a band aid earlier in the day - mixed up the meatloaf and baked it. We were all eating dinner and talking about how good the recipe was, until my younger brother (of course) gags, chokes, and spits out my Winnie the Pooh band aid - yuck!

                                                                                                          Years before - I was nine years old and read Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Anne of Green Gables books obsessively - and I really wanted to try to bake bread. I followed all the instructions very carefully, got through to the second rising where you put the dough in the loaf pan when whoops! it slipped from the pan and onto the kitchen floor. Well, I'd worked too long and hard to just start over, and no one was looking, so I popped the dough back into the pan, smoothed the top, let it rise and baked it.

                                                                                                          Ok, the detail I left out - we had dogs. Long haired dogs. Long haired really shedding dogs. My stepdad swears that the loaf was held together by fur.

                                                                                                          Both of these incidents are brought up at every family holiday dinner.

                                                                                                        3. Many years ago, my boyfriend of just a few months invited me to his parent's house for Thanksgiving dinner. I offered to bring my (now infamous) chocolate pecan pie. I spent the afternoon before making it, as I had many times in the past. Come Thanksgiving day, I proudly brought out my pie, cut it and watched as the guests took their first bite.

                                                                                                          I have rarely seen such shocked looks on people's faces. To this day, I don't know how it happened, but I had apparently put 1/2 cup of soy sauce instead of 1/2 of bourbon into the pie!!

                                                                                                          1. I've done everything from boiling all the water out of a pan - absent-mindedly making boiled eggs - to letting substances become science experiments in the fridge to adding too much thickener to a sauce (when cornstarch becomes aspic)to frosting a cake fresh from the oven and the classic favorite, "I have to use the lavatory after slicing and dicing and chopping and grinding chiles!"

                                                                                                            Probably one of the worst was one of the first times I tried to cook ever. Some chicken, some chiles, a frying pan, a gas range on high. About a half hour later everything had burned away to nothing except brutal acrid clouds of tear gas. As my roommate came home I threw the pan into a sinkful of water.

                                                                                                            Hey, there's a first time for everything and Lord knows it won't be the last.

                                                                                                            1. When we were first learning how to feed a young toddler on weekday mornings without going insane or quitting our jobs, we tried frozen silver dollar pancakes. I put them in the microwave to cook ... read 30 seconds as 3 minutes and set the inside of the microwave on fire before I noticed. We have not had a microwave since.

                                                                                                              1. oh my... never cut things in the direction of your body! owie

                                                                                                                1. bagel cutting mishaps I'm told is a very common emergency room event. Particularly frozen bagels.

                                                                                                                  1. What is a cheese bagel?

                                                                                                                    1. NEVER slice a bagel in your bare palm, I did a while back, took a nice deep slice out of my finger. I was too embarrased to seek help, so got the bleeding stopped and put a pressure bandage on the cut. The cut eventually healed, however, it did sever a nerve, so half of the tip of my left index finger has no sensation (and THAT is a weird feeling).

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: ChinoWayne

                                                                                                                        man, i don't get what is embarrassing about getting help! so many people on this thread hurt themselves badly and didn't go see the doctor... makes me sad. sorry that happened wayne.

                                                                                                                        1. re: ChinoWayne

                                                                                                                          Um ... don't you mean, "weird NON-feeling"? ;-)

                                                                                                                        2. hmm there are so many....
                                                                                                                          -talking on the phone while boiling veggies... dumped them into a strainer... only forgot to put the strainer in the sink.. dumped boiling water on my feet.....
                                                                                                                          -my sister put a muffin in the microwave (30 minutes instead of 30 seconds) honestly the weirdest thing i ever saw.. it looked fine on the outside and when we split it open.. the inside was on fire.. i mean flames..
                                                                                                                          - constantly boiling things over
                                                                                                                          -i also put the butter in the microwave to soften.. with the foil on...
                                                                                                                          -grabbed a hot cookie sheet with bare hands
                                                                                                                          - omg, cutting jalepenos..and used the washroom...had to sit in a bath of cool water for hours..
                                                                                                                          - made a smoothie in a really powerful blender.. stired it with a spoon.. turned it back on.. there were metal chunks throughout the drink. i had to throw it away.
                                                                                                                          -left a bone handled spoon on beside the pot after stirring and set it on fire.. burning bone smell=nasty

                                                                                                                          1. I usually don't get distracted in the kitchen but..I had to lure my dogs indoors by throwing a ball through the kitchen door. Not one for good aim, I over shot my mark and hit and knocked over a bottle of oil on to a burner I forgot to turn off. I stopped the fire by putting a pan lid on top. Fortunately, it was on low, so it smoked a lot.

                                                                                                                            1. When I was about ten I had an obsession with my mom's fried burritos. Mmm crunchy and bubbly on the ouside, warm and mushy on the inside. I had a craving for one after everyone had gone to bed and decided to cook one myself. I dropped it into the hot oil while standing above the stove on a step ladder and SPLASH! splattered my face with hot oil. Ouch. I was sad that I had burned my face and would have ugly blisters and was afraid I might be in trouble for trying to cook in the middle of the night. Which I wasn't and the burns weren't very bad. I learned not to drop things in oil from very high up.

                                                                                                                              A few months later when my mom was at the post office I wanted a fried burrito. Mmmm cheesy, beany, crispy goodness. I needed one. I put the oil on the stove and then went to the bathroom. I mean hey, the oil has to heat up for awhile right? I finished peeing and got distracted and started playing with my hair in the mirror after washing my hands (I'm a Leo i can't help it). When I came out about ten minutes later I couldn't figure out why the house seemed strangely foggy. I rounded the corner to the kitchen and noticed huge orange flames coming off the stove.

                                                                                                                              Uh oh. I had forgotten that I was planning on cooking.

                                                                                                                              I didn't know what to do. The dials were on the back of the stove and luckily I had enough sense to be afraid that I was going to set my hair on fire if I tried to turn the stove off. I also knew not to throw water on a grease fire and I remembered that if your house is on fire not to call 911 from the burning house but to go to a neighbor's house and call.

                                                                                                                              I ran out the front door to the neighbor's house and pounded on their door--they weren't home.

                                                                                                                              Ahhh. My house was on fire!!!

                                                                                                                              I saw the mailman coming down the street and I figured he was an adult so would know what to do. And he did. He came in and put the lid on the pan and called the fire department for me. A series of fortunate events. If he hadn't been right there I might have burned down more than the microwave stand above the stove.

                                                                                                                              I was convinced I could scrub the smoke off the kitchen ceiling before my mom came home.

                                                                                                                              Unfortunately, the firemen made me wait outside so I couldn't scrub. And, they set up huge silver exhaust fans in the doorways, which were pretty noticable. And there were two huge fire trucks parked out in front of my house. I remember wishing they would have parked them somewhere down the street. Didn't they know it was embarrasing to set your house on fire whle playing with your hair in the bathroom? Didn't they know that people might not want people (like their mom) knowing that they had set the kitchen on fire?

                                                                                                                              Little did I know that even if there hadn't been big fans or two huge red fire trucks parked right outside my face was black and tear streaked, the microwave door was melted shut and the kitchen was black, black, black. It was hard to tell that it had previously been yellow. There was really no hiding that I had set our kitchen on fire.

                                                                                                                              I was a chowhound already and a very lucky girl. I ended up with very minor damages to both my face and the house, not bad for two run-ins with hot oil by 10 years old. And the mail man, we later found out, was a volunteer firefighter.

                                                                                                                              Lucky lucky girl.

                                                                                                                              Mmmm. fried burritos.

                                                                                                                              1. This is the funniest post on Chowhound I've seen thus far. Thanks for making me laugh so hard! My stomach is hurting.

                                                                                                                                I'm a great baker now, but still a horrible cook. Let's just say that up to high school, I didn't know how to properly crack an egg. =P So imagine what my breakfast omelette would contain back then. =)

                                                                                                                                1. I was newly married and it was the first time I had my parents over for dinner. It was their anniversary. My new husband and I lived in a mobile home and my stove and oven ran on propane. I baked a beautiful cake and hid it in the cupboard. Then I roasted a chicken and served it. When we cut it, it was still raw. Evidentally we had run out of propane before the chicken was done. I smiled through my tears as I thought of the nice cake I had for dessert. I opened the cupboard to find that I had undercooked the cake and it had split into three pieces and fallen off the plate.

                                                                                                                                  1. Helping in a friend's kitchen, I was given a recipe for BBQ cole slaw. There was an array of glass canisters in the pantry filled with flour, sugar, teas, coffees, pastas, beans etc. Well, I accidently added 1/2 cup of salt instead of sugar. Fortunately, we both took a taste before company arrived. "BLAAAAH!" I was able to salvaged all of that chopped cabbage by giving it a few baths in a large bowl of chilled water. Turned out great. By the way, who keeps a few pounds of salt on hand in a canister anyway?

                                                                                                                                    Now, to tell funny story on my sweet cousin who called my mother for advise. She was making a cake for her boyfriend's birthday...should she follow the directions for baking at a high altitude from her third story apartment in Madison, Wisconsin? This happened over 40 years ago and a year has not gone by without this being retold.

                                                                                                                                    1. Three words: Orange-Leek Soup.

                                                                                                                                      It replicated the taste of bile so perfectly that, when I took a sip I was shocked into forgetting what I had just done and was left wondering "Why the hell do I have that awful taste in my mouth?"

                                                                                                                                      The whole pot, several quarts minus one tasting spoonful, went down the drain. I thought no one else on earth should have to suffer through that.

                                                                                                                                      1. The olive oil brownies were awful, as was the time I put boiling hot pea soup in a Thermos and when I opened it hours later it exploded all over the kitchen. But the time more of my family and friends probably remember is the Thanksgiving when I tried to cook a brined turkey a la Cook's Illustrated and it was nowhere near done by the time it was supposed to be. It was pink enough still when we served it that I think our guests were fairly horrified, even if we were convinced that the brining made it legitimately pink. I still feel sorry for them.

                                                                                                                                        1. When I was a teen - I was a prep cook at a Cajun restuarant and in charge of making the whipped cream for the sweet potato pecan pie....didn't look carefully at the 2 large bins of salt and sugar next to each other and made a beautiful batch of salty bourbon whipped cream... we made so much each night that I was sick of tasting it and didn't on this batch...luckily, we finally tasted it before it left the kitchen but I was pretty embarassed!

                                                                                                                                          1. Years ago we decided to try pizza on the grill for the first time. We cheated and used a premade pizza crust, but it all looked and smelled wonderful with the cheese and the sauce and the pepperoni. When it was done my husband carefully slid it off the grill and set it on the grill's side shelf. It immediately collapsed and the pizza flipped topping side down right onto the gravel driveway. I think we went for takeout.

                                                                                                                                            Even though we now have a much nicer grill with a rock solid side shelf, to this day I can't get him to try grilling pizza again.

                                                                                                                                            1. Me - young bride of about two months, adventurous cook trying to please new hubby. Hubby - not a complainer but the basic meat & potatoes type guy who has been eating everything I cook. I keep making all these fancy dishes for him for dinner - veal this, beef that, chicken in sauce somthing. One day he says can't we just have hot dogs? So, to make him happy I open a can of sauerkraut, place it in a dish with the doggies on top and cover. Put it in the oven for about a half hour to bake. Pull out and the dogs had exploded!
                                                                                                                                              We still laugh about how I could cook up a storm but I couldn't make a hot dog.

                                                                                                                                              1. A friend who worked in a French restaurant, took a bucket of live snails into the kitchen , put the bucket on the counter and went out for 2 hours. Upon her return, she discovered that the snails had escaped and had climbed up the walls and many were squelching around on the ceiling ! By far, my favorite restaurant story.

                                                                                                                                                Then there was the time that my mother in law way overbaked the Thanksgiving bird (as usual). I went to lift it by the legs to set it on the serving plate. The whole poor thing fell off of the bones , onto the floor and I was standing there, holding onto the naked leg bones. Man that woman was an awful cook!

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: missclaudy

                                                                                                                                                  In her defense, over-roasted or not, if you pick it up by the legs any cooked turkey will most certainly have it's legs fall off. It's just what happens to things when they cook. ...Have to say that one was your fault :-)

                                                                                                                                                2. I was following a recipe in Saveur for pumpkin ravioli. Somehow the combination of squash, parmigiano, amaretti, and I think some cinnamon tasted suspiciously like vomit. I proclamed in disgust, "This tastes like shit!!!" My four year old daughter, of course, then asked me, "What tastes like shit, Daddy?" My in-laws were in the next room...

                                                                                                                                                  1. I remember watching my sister, then about 10-12, reading the instructions on a TV dinner box one night when my parents were out. A while later, I smelled something burning. It was comming from the oven. When I looked in, there was the TV dinner, box and all - apparently the instructions failed to mention the step to take the dinner out of the box.

                                                                                                                                                    1. In college--I swear, before my drinking days--it was late and I decided to make supermarket biscuits in the communal stove down the hall. I have no idea who turned off the stove, but sometime in the morning I claimed my pan-full of ten perfectly shaped charcoal lumps, permanently fused together; actually it would have made a perfectly nice trivet.

                                                                                                                                                      I vaguely wish I could claim this one as my own...During my drinking days in college, very late in the evening, a guest asked my roommate to mix him a cocktail--didn't really matter what. Well, we were out of mixers, so he got: 4 oz. Vodka and 1/2 oz Soy Sauce, served on the rocks. You can imagine the expression on our guest's face. "Could have been worse," we said. "The only other liquor we have left is Jagermeister."

                                                                                                                                                      1. I had just moved into my first apartment in college senior year and I thought I'd throw a dinner party. For dessert, I was making baked apples in puff pastry with a buttery brown sugar bourbon sauce that is poured over the wrapped apples as they bake. About half way through I went to check on them, opened the oven door and the door fell off!! I was too proud to shut down the whole thing and toss the apples, so I stood there and held the door onto the oven for the next half hour till the apples were done. The dessert turned out great, but it was quite embarrassing.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Thanksgiving, the first or second with SO's family (SO now husband.) As a birthday gift to his dad, we brought oysters. I announced I would open..hey, I've seen an oyster knife...used it? Not so much. SO says "shouldn't you be holding a towel or a glove or something." Me: "Oh no, you just do it this way."..slashing into base of thumb.
                                                                                                                                                          Now the thought "high maintenance girlfriend" comes to mind and I casually flee into the living room, sopping up the blood with a giant towel, thinking a tourniquet might be a great idea.

                                                                                                                                                          Dinner preps grind to a halt, we go to the ER for a while--7 stitches and tetanaus shot later, I return bandaged, gray and wan, to lie down for a while. His dad, meanwhile feeds me the oysters he'd opened with a hammer. We enjoyed dinner about 4 hours later.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: berkleybabe

                                                                                                                                                            That's definitely a family you want to marry into, to have your future FIL take care of you like that!

                                                                                                                                                            My one and only debacle (that I can remember) is setting a 3 qt. Farberware pot onto the stove with the steamer basket and turning on the electric stovetop to get the water hot for steaming some broccoli. Went off to read Emails on the computer (yeah, that's good - blame it on too many Emails!). Read them, sat down to watch the evening news, and about a half hour later, was smelling something rather strange. Jumped up to run into the kitchen to see the Farberware pot *half-melted* to the electric coil. Do you know how fast melted Farberware pot pieces cool when you are able to pry the half-melted pot off the electric coil? Surprisingly quick. And they're pretty cool looking. For all of about 10 seconds...until I realized I had to buy a new coil.

                                                                                                                                                            I ate eggs that night.

                                                                                                                                                          2. this has been fun to read.

                                                                                                                                                            got a few of my own

                                                                                                                                                            with a new pressure cooker I was making a soup. A friend was passing the house and we stood outside the front door for about half an hour chatting when BOOM. I hadnt turned down the pressure cooker and it exploded, contents and all onto my new kitchen ceiling.

                                                                                                                                                            My grandma once poured washing up liquid into her chicken soup instead of salt. Only she and I knew and so we didnt eat it that night, but everyone else said it tasted great.

                                                                                                                                                            My mum went to a friend who had just moved the previous day into a new apartment. The kitchen was white - floors, walls, tiles, grouting etc. She thought she would be helpful so she made coffee in a french pressed and as she pressed the cafetiere slipped, with hot coffee grounds trickling all over this new white kitchen, into the grout and onto the walls. The stains still exist.

                                                                                                                                                            1. I've got a few stories here:

                                                                                                                                                              1: I once dated a woman who was a complete and utter disaster in the kitchen. I've never seen someone so utterly inept. It was the complete opposite of a prodigy, she lacked any natural sense of the art of cooking.

                                                                                                                                                              One day, she decides to make pancakes. I figure, "Bisquick pancakes, what could go wrong?". So we mix up the batter, I tell her to get a pan ready and we're ready to roll. Looking at the an on the cooktop, I could see the coils of the range, but I'm thinking: "This will be a good lesson in proper heat management". I tell her to drop in a bit of butter, we'll watch it burn and then I'll say "That's why you don't turn the heat all the way up!".

                                                                                                                                                              Instead, she drops in the entire stick and immediately bursts into flames. Just GOES UP like we'd poured in gasoline or liquor. Thank god the kitchen was connected to the backyard, I was able to put a lid on the blaze and set it in a puddle. Ugh.

                                                                                                                                                              2: A few weeks later she tear gassed the entire house trying to "Make lunch spicy".

                                                                                                                                                              3: Note to mother-in-law: RAID is not PAM. I tried to put on a good face when she served her famous lasagna but I was the only one putting on a show. It remains the only time I've had to contact poison control.

                                                                                                                                                              1. I was young and living in my first apartment, trying to cook dinner for a friend who came over to join me for the first time. I put two steaks under the broiler a little too close to the gas and started a good fire. Ended up putting it out with baking soda, but not before the whole range was covered black and there were pieces of ash floating all over the kitchen. Scary. It's a miracle that I learned to love cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                1. I once tried to re-heat delivery pizza in the oven. While it was still in the box. We had blackened pizza, with a kitchen full of smoked pizza aroma... I was 16, and I'm still hearing about it!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. I've since become a professional chef, so that's why this totally cracks me up...

                                                                                                                                                                    I married a professional musician in LA, so the choir/musical group at our wedding included many "famous" individuals. I figured I'd impress them with a fabulous dinner at the music rehearsal...

                                                                                                                                                                    Everything was going GREAT until dessert. I'd made several things, including some fruit pies -- which I took out of the oven and placed on the stove to cool in my tiny, tiny LA condo where we were holding the rehearsal. Two minutes later I thought we were being bombed...each of the four brand new glass baking dishes exploded, sending shards of glass and various colors of fruit all over the entire white kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                    Seems that I'd accidentally left the electric range burners on, being used to gas. I also learned that exploded blackberries do NOT easily wash off cheap white cabinetry.

                                                                                                                                                                    Everyone was very nice, but I was SO angry...but also thankful that I hadn't killed these famous musicians with flying shards of glass!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. I have several:

                                                                                                                                                                      #1 When my repertoire was limited to spaghetti with jarred sauce and cornflake chicken, I decided to make dinner for my then-boyfriend. I had the great idea of making "lemon chicken" but owning no cookbooks, decided to improvise. The dish involved two chicken breasts cut up and an entire lemon that I had sliced right into the dish. The results were predicatably inedible, although the boyfriend is now my husband.

                                                                                                                                                                      #2 My french press was broken, and I really needed coffee during finals, so I decided to use the Italian stove top coffee maker left in my pantry by the previous tenant. I don't know if it was missing a piece or if I seriously misused it, but when it started making very odd noises, I went to the stove to have a look. Just as I was leaning over it, hot steam and coffee grounds went flying up in the air right into my face. Luckily, I was wearing glasses and all of the steam had evaporated because I was not burned, but completely covered in coffee grounds (which were also covering the ceiling).

                                                                                                                                                                      #3 I made a delicious cheesecake, but my springform pan leaked butter from the crust all over the floor of the oven. The butter started smoking just a bit as I was pulling it out of the oven. Rather than waiting for the oven to cool off and wiping up the butter that had pooled, I just switched that puppy to self clean to deal with the mess. It got so hot that the butter ignited, my oven filled with flames, and smoke literally poured out of the top of the oven. We called the fire department, who arrived a few minutes later with sirens blazing. During the time it took them to arrive, the fire had burned out on its own. However, the sirens drew all of my neighbors out to their stoops to see what the commotion was. This was at midnight on Christmas Eve

                                                                                                                                                                      1. so many good stories... it's hard to compete. i don't have many to tell that are really fantastic, but i've done quite my own share of salt instead of sugar, cutting myself, setting off smoke detectors, and so on... during my undergrad i lived in a section of about 25 in the dorm who would cook for each other, and we had all sorts of inedible messes. commonly occuring were cakes that were still runny (yuck!) and once some one tried to make some kind of baked banana dessert that turned into some kind of blackened glass-like substance that he served anyway...

                                                                                                                                                                        two more recent happenings that come to mind;

                                                                                                                                                                        over at a friend's place cooking dinner together. we used the stove, evidently something spilled, but we definitely didn't have any trouble then. anyway, he went to bake a frozen pizza sometime during the next week, turns on the oven to preheat it, and when he opened it the whole place filled with smoke, setting off the detector. my friend is somewhat naive in the kitchen, had never dealt with a smoke detector before... had to call the fire department in order to have them turn it off :). they were allegedly somewhat short with him.

                                                                                                                                                                        my other incident was a few months back. i recently defending my phd, and i was having a party to celebrate. my mom was in town and she and i had been cooking all day. guests were set to arrive in a few hours... i was blending something with my immersion blender. a chunk of something got stuck in it. so there i go with my little fingers of my left hand in the blade...no, didn't unplug it... in fact even had my right hand still holding the wand with my fingers right over the button.... yes... this goes exactly where it sounds like. really ripped up my thumb. thankfully i didn't need to go to the ER. my mom is a nurse, and thankfully packed medical adhesive with her (plastic stiches? don't know the exact term)... i guess she knows me pretty well!

                                                                                                                                                                        luckily all that's left is a small scar. and yes, i am careful to unplug the thing now when i'm using it!

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nzach

                                                                                                                                                                          Oh thank God I'm not alone!

                                                                                                                                                                          I wonder how often the ER hears "well, something was stuck in the immersion blender..."

                                                                                                                                                                          I feel better now!

                                                                                                                                                                        2. as a 3 year old I thought it would be interesting to see what happened if I put my hand in the pop up toaster and pushed down the lever.

                                                                                                                                                                          Bang! Fell off the counter top due to electric shock. Luckily I was ok but I still remember the whole thought process and after effects and I am now 50.

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                                            My gransmother did something similar, trying to pry a piece of toast with a fork from her toaster, while washing the other hand under the faucet.

                                                                                                                                                                            The eletcric shock didn't kill her, but aggravated her diabetes.

                                                                                                                                                                            This seems to run in the family. My mother turned on the gas on her stove, and then walked across the room to get a match, and lit it.

                                                                                                                                                                            The resulting bang singed off a good deal of her hair.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. When I moved abroad I was making a taco dinner for my friends and I. I didn't have a real oven, so I had to use my toaster oven to heat up the taco shells. The toaster oven instructions were for 500 watts and I didn't realize I had a 900 watt oven. Needless to say the shells went up in flames and the toaster oven had a nice charred appearance for the rest of its life.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Reading these posts brought back memories of two broiler incidents and a non-stick pan story.

                                                                                                                                                                              We had an old Wedgewood in our house. Mom was standing in front of the stove stirring a pot of something and the broiler was on. I was about 3 years old and sitting at her feet feeling the warmth from the broiler. Something smelled good in there! I tugged the broiler door open only to have flames shoot up in front of my face and my mother's dress ... luckily neither of us were hurt and her dress was only a little singed.

                                                                                                                                                                              Fast forward to high school. Mom had petitioned for my grandparents to live with us. This translated to hot breakfasts and snacks waiting for me and my sister when we came home from school. One morning after breakfast, Lola had all the pots and pans out. She mumbled something in Taglish that they didn't "feel clean" and was going to wash them. When I come back from school Lola was at the sink - it was like she'd been there all day. She said she was tired and asked if would I finish scrubbing the last pot. I took the pot from her and my jaw dropped. I double-checked the rest of the pots and pans she'd already finished. The damage was well beyond repair - Lola had scrubbed the Teflon off my mom's brand new set of pots and pans! Even after mom explained about the non-stick properties of Teflon, it didn't stick with grandma. A year later, my grandparents went for an extended visit with my aunt in Montreal. One night my aunt calls mom. Seems that Lola had scrubbed all the Teflon out of her pots and pans, too.

                                                                                                                                                                              Fast forward again to my first apartment. A piece of advice here, never broil fish if you live in an apartment building. I turned on the broiler, put in the fish (in this case it was mackerel) closed the broiler door. Closed the bedroom and bathroom doors, and opened the windows. Then I went downstairs to get the mail. Riding the elevator back up I could smell fish. Holy mackerel - it was mine! I opened the door to my apartment and the odor wafted down the hall. I quickly opened the fire escape door to vent the fish smell out but instead it drafted into the elevator shaft and the odor permeating all six floors and the lobby. Our building reeked of fish for days. One neighbor upstairs blamed someone down the hall, someone on the first floor blamed it on someone on the third floor, etc. No one ever guessed that it was me.

                                                                                                                                                                              As for my apartment, I toasted a handful of green tea leaves just until it started smoking (a trick I learned from mom) then walked from room to room with the pan. Fish? What fish? I didn't cook fish!!!

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AntarcticWidow

                                                                                                                                                                                And oh, yes, the time we put a raw turkey on top of the refrigerator, thinking of keeping the cat from getting at it. But we hadn't counted on his agility; he jumped up, got to the turkey and chewed a big hole in one of the legs.

                                                                                                                                                                                But we just washed it off, and roasted it, anyway. Nobody noticed the hole, and everyone thought it was delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. My brother and I were in our early teens when we attempted to make stovetop popcorn like our dad always made. We followed our father's ritual to a T, even the layer of paper towels he would put over the top of the pot to soak up the oil before putting the lid on. Well, when we placed the lid on the pot, the lid didn't secure the paper towels like we hoped and they fell into the pot with the oil and the popcorn kernels. In our failing efforts to fish out the oil-soaked paper towels, the kernels reached their popping point and started firing out from the pot at us. The image of my brother with the lid to the garbage can as his shield as he pressed his way forward to turn the stove off will never leave my mind. Golden.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Those electric stoves have eaten lots of pots, according to people here... maybe whole kitchens. The local appliance repair store has a whole wall covered with electric stovetop burners with various pots decoratively melted onto them. It's pretty entertaining.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Of course, I've managed to set off plenty of smoke alarms with my gas stove too.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. And then there was the time my mother asked my sister to drain the chicken soup (for a Passover Seder). Drain it she did .... put the colander in the sink and began to pour ... right down the drain. She hadn't put a pot under the colander!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: SLO

                                                                                                                                                                                      Done this (shamefully) more than once when stewing cranberries for their JUICE. Operative word: JUICE. Idiot that I can be when juggling things, I have poured several batches of JUICE down the drain without a bowl beneath. Now, I am prepared. Ah, the wisdom of many mishaps.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. These have just made my lunch!

                                                                                                                                                                                      First cooking memory: my cousin and I aged 6 camping w/ our mothers decide to treat them to breakfast. Clueless about measurements we DUMPED in the black pepper to the scrambled eggs. We have photos to capture the moment, but i don't need it to recall our mothers' faces when they bit into breakfast.

                                                                                                                                                                                      A few years later: mum was boiling hard boiled eggs. Went next door to find us kids, stopped in, glass of vino, bite to eat....four hours or so later, we come home to find very hard and burnt boiled eggs and THE most repulsive smell and blackest ever kitchen...

                                                                                                                                                                                      Mum was baking a cake, and me, ever the impatient taste-tester I grabbed a spoon and stuck it into what i thought was icing sugar (confectioners sugar)...turns out mum had inadvertently grabbed the cornstarch. I could barely talk! We laugh now (bc i couldn't then), it was literally like a mouth full of glue!

                                                                                                                                                                                      Boyfriend and i had a very bountiful year in the garden and were making sweet chilli sauce. He had a scratch that he just couldn't resist. Men! Oh, yes. We went thru numerous packets of peas and all sorts of frozen goods, wives tales of dunking in milk, slathering in yogurt, trying to ward off the burn. I can't eat frozen peas now.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: aussiewonder

                                                                                                                                                                                        Aussiewonder, your boyfriend cooks and scratches simultaneously? I think I would still be able to eat frozen peas, but I don't know about the chili sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe you shouldn't count this as a disaster. Maybe this experience has reformed him, thereby saving untold numbers of people he might feed in the future from hideous diseases.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I love all these stories and can relate to quite a few of them. One of the things I am most know for is putting my teapot on to boil and coming back an hour or two later to a blackened mess.
                                                                                                                                                                                        My best know blunder occurred when I was much younger. My parents had left me at home by myself when they went on vacation. I decided to welcome them home with a nice chicken and stuffing dinner. I spiced up the chichen and put it in the oven. It had been roasting for about 30 minutes when I rememberd that my mom always added some kind of alchohol to the pan. I opned up the oven and added a generous amout of Southern Comfort to the chicken and closed the door. I was across the kitchen, stirring something on the cooktop when the oven door blew open. I ran over to see what had happened and there were blue flames all over the inside of the oven. Thankfully, there was no permanent damage and the chicken was delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I tried to bake rice krispie squares.

                                                                                                                                                                                          (refrigerator, not oven!!)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Not mine, but my husbands. He attempted to use the Bread Machine to make cinnamon raisin bread and instead got this:

                                                                                                                                                                                            http://staticengine.com/ebay/freakybr...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: stolenchange

                                                                                                                                                                                              misadventures in the kitchen? Let me count the ways...

                                                                                                                                                                                              1) as a new bride opening my wedding gift, a food processor & reading the instructions "be careful, blade is very sharp"...oops, gash on my index finger (can still see mark after 20 yrs)

                                                                                                                                                                                              2) Fast forward may be a couple of months. I am cooking lentils in the pressure cooker & after a while I notice some black goo slowly oozing out of the weight knob on top. I panicked thinking this thing is going to explode & immediately called my mother. Good old mom, told me to turn of the stove & wait until pressure is released, then open. She figured I must have gorgotten to put WATER in with the lentils. Sure enough!

                                                                                                                                                                                              3) Fast forward 12 yrs. I am 6 months pregnant & am preparing to cut a whole watermelon for a pot luck picnic the next day. Hmm, I've never cut up a whole watermelon before, so what do I do? First, I take a chef's knife & try to cut into half. Well, the knife gets stuck 60% into the fruit (won't budge) so I place both hands on the handle & try to lift/take it off. Bam, the BACK of my Wustoff Classic goes straight to my forehead making a nice clean cut above my right eye. 23 stitches later, I was fine (and so was baby).

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Many years ago my husband and I lived in a huge apartment complex. One night, I decided to fry up some wontons in the kitchen. I heated up the oil and while I was waiting for it to reach the proper temperature for frying my wontons I became distracted by a t.v. program my husband was watching in the next room. Well, I glanced over my shoulder to see flames shooting 2 feet high from the frying pan. We both were running around the kitchen with frying pan in hand, like chickens without heads trying to decide how to extinguish the fire. We finally doused the flame, relieved that we had averted a near disaster...until we saw the smoke slowly making it's way to the smoke alarm in the dining area!! We then rushed around trying to find something to block the smoke from reaching the smoke alarm, climbing on top of the dining table with a bag, desperately trying to cover it to prevent the alarm from breathing it in.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Damn, our luck,the next thing we heard was a blaring alarm in the hallway. I quickly called the main office of our complex to tell them that it was a false alarm and to turn it off...only to be told that the alarm was connected directly to the fire department and it was too late, they were on their way. We went outside to see hundreds of people evacuating the building, panicked and running, some buttoning their blouses and shirts, pulling up pants....The fire engines arrived and I had to tell them what had happened while my husband hid from sight. They had to enter our apartment and inspect and I basically stood outside of the building, pretending like who were the fools in that apartment who pulled a false alarm?!!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Family legend--the day my Mom put vanilla in the beef stew instead of Gravymaster (both in small brown glass bottles), didn't tell anyone, and served it for dinner. This was back in the Sixties. Who knew adventurous chefs would be sloshing vanilla into all sorts of dishes a few decades later? Maybe she was just ahead of her time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Then there was our nanny from the Midwest who had never even heard of swordfish, and decided to handle the lovely piece in the fridge as she would any fish back home--bread it and fry it till brown and crispy, then serve the resulting hockey puck to my poor kids for dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Occasionally people ask me to bake something, say, for a dinner party or a bake sale. Then I get to tell of the time my mother tried to make a lovely caramel chocolate cake. As she was turning on the stove, the phone rang and somehow she didn't notice what she set it to.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    20 minutes later the black smoke started pouring out of the oven that she had accidentally set to "broil".
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Underneath the char, the uncooked cake batter was still kind of yummy to my 9 year old sensibilities.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Anyway, this curse runs in the family because I think that cake is still the most edible baked good ever produced my my mother or myself.