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Have you ever had a recipe disaster?

Or one that just bombed beautifully? And it affected your dinner plans?

Was it because you had never had the dish and being brave tried it out?
Or was it inexperience relying on a recipe for the correct spice and ingredient proportions only realizing later that the error was in the recipe, and not you?

Yes I have. I (and others) consider myself to be a fairly good cook. I can and do cook many cuisines pretty well. But my disastrous recipe, was a peanut sauce that was horrible to put it mildly and it ended up in the trash, ruining mine and everyone else's appetite.

It wa so bad the kids still talk about that sauce and have made me swear that I would not make that peanut sauce for them ever again. I can' t remember where I got the recipe, I just know it was way off, because I love peanut sauce (Thai anyway).

Well after all, I said that I would not make "that peanut sauce" again, and I am not a quitter.So needless to say, I have an ongoing search for that perfect peanut sauce recipe.
And now I think I know that I would know better...

So what is your recipe that went bad? And have you fixed it yet?

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  1. Olive Loaf substituting cornmeal for most of the wheat flour. Bricklike.
    And my ex-h makes it really well.
    I will also never eat pigeon because of the time ex-h followed a recipe that said, "Simply sauté the pigeons five minutes on each side and then serve." It was 100% caoutchouc (rubber) and we had guests!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Amanita

      Avgolemono - Greek lemon egg soup. It sounded great, but bleeech!!!!

      1. re: sheilal

        oh my and I have a Greek cookbook that has a recipe for that. Pass.

    2. I made a Mexican Chocolate Cake (Rick Bayless). Except, on my first attempt, I thought I would just go ahead and make recipe changes! I reduced the butter, sub'd prune puree for some of the butter, used half whole wheat etc, etc. Needless to say, the result was not great: dry, flavorless, we couldn't eat it. I was told not to make it again by the SO. I won't try it again, because the orig. recipe has too much fat and I'm very traumatized by the horribly bad result, which was my fault of course! Even worse for me, it made a large cake!
      some of the cake did go to the bin...

      chef chicklet, how about you, what wouldn't you make again?

      3 Replies
      1. re: morebubbles

        Sounds like you like to keep an eye on the fat in your recipes. If you're going to cut the butter, you have to sub another fat. Prunes are fat free because they're just dried plums. Maybe experiment with healthier fats like oleo, olive oil, etc. Mario Batali has some recipes where he uses olive oil in his baking.

        1. re: sgwood415

          a lot of people use milled flaxseed to replace some fats. i haven't tried it but i think they say it lends a nuttier flavor, which might be good.

          1. re: luniz

            I usually throw in some freshly ground flaxseeds into my muffin mixes. Haven't tried replacing fat with it though.
            sqwood415, I have made an olive oil cake which turned out delicious!
            Usually I try to find lower fat recipes, or cut back a little bit...this wasn't my best experiment to say the least.

      2. Probably quite a few things, I wouldn't make again but the funniest attempt was at a pie crust. Tried to follow Joy of Cooking recipe-keeping butter cold etc.-but couldn't form the crust into a ball-so I called my neighbor who was "the" pie crust expert. After an hour of trying to get the dough into a ball-we threw the mess away. Undaunted, I tried again but wound up with a tough,fall apart not flaky mind you crust, which was too salty and dry. No, I have not attempted to make a crust again thanks to ready made crusts. Too much frustation and a dirty kitchen to clean up to making matters worse.

        1. A recipe for Green Beans with Red Onion-Vinaigrette.
          The Red Onion-Vinaigrette was so vinegar-y that it completely overpowered the green beans.

          1. Last year, on a vegan kick I made quite a few "Magic Loaf" recipes, using this site:


            One loaf involving Gimme Lean sausage and oatmeal, among other things, tasted okay to me, but when my then boyfriend tried it, he immediately spit it out, pronouncing that it tasted "worse than vomit."

            I haven't been able to bring myself to make a magic loaf since.

            2 Replies
            1. re: operagirl

              wow what a jerk thing to say to somebody who cooked for you!

              anyway I made fish tacos once using the packet of seasonings...I forget the brand but it's at health food places, also has fajita and taco seasoning packets. Anyway I'm pretty sure I followed the directions correctly but it was terrible and the fish wasn't cooked enough anyway.

              So I made them last night basically going by a made up recipe and they were freaking killer, good enough to serve to other people. So I guess I'll throw away that last packet I have and just go by my own recipe from now on.

              1. re: operagirl

                I too once had someone spit out my food in front of me ... in this case it was a coworker (well, kind of my boss) and the food was authentic springerle made with anise oil (the traditional flavoring). I didn't like the flavor either as I've always hated licorice ... but I couldn't believe he spit it out. They're so beautiful, but it's a challenge to make them taste good. I usually do gingerbread with my cookie molds now ...

                My major disaster was just a couple months ago ... I was upset & unfocused while baking and left a cup of flour out of my cookies. When I tried to remove them from the cookie sheet with a spatula, they disintegrated ... not pretty. They were for a potluck, so instead of showing up with milk and cookies, I showed up with ... milk. All the more annoying because I took the afternoon off to bake fresh cookies and had nothing to show for it ...

              2. Last year, I made a tiramisu frozen cake....it was actually very very good, but it took SO many steps and so much time to make it that I don't think I'd do that again. It was just too much work for a dessert that was good, but not knock-it-out-of-the-park amazing.

                Frozen Hazelnut Tangerine Tiramisu - http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                1. Orange-leek soup. It replicated the taste of bile almost perfectly. I tasted one spoonful. The rest went down the drain. That will teach me to make a recipe that I thought "This sounds so weird - can it be good?" about.

                  1. My first (and only) attempt at blackened redfish stunk up my apartment for a week. That was OK, but cleaning up after the fire sprinkler actuated was a real headache. And I never got to try the fish.

                    1. I will probably never make croissants again, because I'm too lazy and impatient. I can buy really good ones anyway. I also remember that I made a recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook in high school and wrote "gross" in pen at the top of the page, so that I'd never make it again. I'll have to see if I still have that copy, and which recipe it was. There was a recipe for cornbread baked in an iron skillet where the instructions said to pour a cup of buttermilk over the batter before baking. It made decidedly weird textured cornbread, and I won't be doing that again. I want to say it was a Deborah Madison recipe, but I'm unsure.

                      Luckily, I tend to forget the disasters.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: amyzan

                        amyzan that is funny! I write a remark, like "gag" or "Just don't" followed with a frowning face.

                      2. Turkey loaf from the "The 12 Best Foods" cookbook. It had gotten good reviews, but when I made it, even the cat wouldn't eat it, although the cat does have good taste.

                        1. Anything that has to do with heating canned tuna, yuck....

                          1. Hard to limit it to just one so----- a piecrust made with oil instead of shortening or butter, that slipped down the sides of the pan and made an interesting corduroy surface on the bottom when baked; some bread recipe that you mixed in a gallon freezer bag and then manipulated every day for a couple weeks (tasted like wallpaper paste--no that would have had some flavor), and a toffee recipe that never solidified, was just a greasy blob of fat and sugar.

                            1. Shirley Corrihor's recipe for "Pate a Choux" from COOKWISE uses a cool oven and bread flour to produce the worst puffs that I've ever tasted. Followed the recipe exactly and made tough little nuggests that didn't rise well. Of course, DH protested "they're fine" which is the kiss of death for me. (I could probably serve him Alpo on an old sock and he'd make nice noises.)

                              1. The one time I tried to make Pho, it was so nasty it went down the sink. Many years ago there was the lemon meringue pie with the filling that never thickened, despite the continuous additions of more cornstarch. I'm sure there were many more, but those stick out.

                                1. falafel from scratch... such a disappointment. i followed the recipe to a T, yet the balls proceeded to completely fall apart into a big pile of smush in the pan. they just would not hold together. i have no desire to try again, so i just use the box mix. pitiful.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: missfunkysoul

                                    Since I just got off the phone with a friends husband that is a really good cook, it reminded me of the time they called and asked that I come over to help with his corn tortilla recipe. They had balls of masa that they made from scratch, big as a baseball. He was practically jumping on the tortilla press without any luck and me and my bestfriend, his wife, laughed ourselves silly! Ah cooking is SO much fun!!! I think he bent the press. Well it too went into the garbage along with the masa...

                                    1. re: missfunkysoul

                                      I had no idea that falafel could even be made by hand or "scratch".
                                      Good call on your part, I say anyway!

                                    2. I had a disaster of a Bearnaise sauce that broke and I didn't know how to fix it. It was to accompany a beef tenderloin for a New Years Eve dinner.

                                      1. Many years ago there was a weekly column in the New York Times (this may have even been before there was an official Food section) that featured quick dishes (maybe it was "60 minute gourmet"--before Rachel Ray one hour was considered quick). One Friday there was a moussaka recipe. I loved Greek food, and was intrigued by the idea of pulling off this rather complicated dish in an hour. A friend at work agreed it sounded interesting. We were having friends for dinner on Saturday, so I hurried to the store on the way home and bought the ingredients, which, included, oddly enough, feta cheese. Well, needless to say, it was wretched, and thank goodness our friends were more amused than horrified. Monday I came into the office and met up with the work friend. Before I had a chance to open my mouth, she said "Don't make the moussaka!" She, too, had ruined her Saturday night dinner. I've always wondered how that recipe ever made it into print.