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food prep tragedies

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So sad. The eggplants were roasted, the garlic was in the work bowl of the food processor, I had just finished scraping the eggplant off the skins into a bowl, and I was looking forward to a lovely lunch. Then my little daughter came barreling through the kitchen and knocked the bowl of eggplant off the counter.

Crash!

No baba ganouj for lunch.

Sometimes it's hard to let go. I briefly considered scraping the eggplant off the floor, rinsing it, and using it anyway. But common sense prevailed -- among other things, there were fragments of ceramic bowl all over the kitchen, some mixed in with the eggplant. Plus, rinsing the eggplant would have removed all the smoky flavors from the roasting process.

Anybody want to share food prep tragedies?

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  1. not one i did personally, but this may make you laugh. i bought my mom a new KA blender a few years ago, and one day she decided to make smoothies for herself & my dad. she blended everything the way i had taught her, but when she went to pour the finished product into glasses, for some ridiculous reason she didn't even try to lift the pitcher off the base. instead, she *assumed* you were supposed to unscrew the jar from the base...so she did. and sent a cascade of smoothie flowing out of the bottom of the jar and all over the counter & the floor. when she called to tell me the story i was ROFL, particularly because she's not the strongest woman around, and i could picture her cursing at the jar & struggling, trying to twist it off the base. she said for the life of her she couldn't understand why it was so tight - until she finally got it off :)

    what's even funnier is that apparently she *forgot* about the first fiasco, and did it AGAIN several weeks later.

    20 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      I had a smoothie issue once....I learned it's best to stop the blender before pushing down the unblended parts with a wooden spoon--unless you like splinters of wood in your smoothie.

      1. re: megmosa

        I didn't know this is a kitchen tragedy. *ALL* of my bamboo rice paddles have blender knicks in them. Hey, bamboo is an edible fiber! '-)

        1. re: megmosa

          I like to use a carrot for this reason :-)

          1. re: megmosa

            yep, i ruined quite a few kitchen spoons before i learned that a very slim rubber spatula and a quick hand are the best combo :)

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Oh man I hope you don't mean you stick your hand in there. Please don't do that.

              1. re: Kagey

                of course i do. gotta live on the edge ;)

                no, really, the spatula handle is sufficiently long that my hand doesn't get even close to the blade. i may be crazy, but i'm not stupid...most of the time.

                1. re: Kagey

                  My wife was mixing a batter and the mixer cord fell in the batter. Before I could do anything, she pulled the cord out of the batter and stuck it in her mouth to lick it off (She's a Lutheran.). She got zapped, not seriously, and I started to laugh uproarously at the absurdity and she started to beat me for laughing. Thirty five years ago and I still smile at the memory.

                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                    ROTFLMAO!!!

                    Oh, my sis pulled a blond moment, when she went to lick the beaters off, while her hand mixer was still plugged in. AND- her Blond butterfingers accidentally hits the switch!

                    Fortunately, the thing was so darn cheap, that it lacked power to do the "tongue twister" or cause any serous damage.

                    Now the priceless moment was listening to the mixers motor moaning and her humming in tune, along with her tongue stuck in the beaters.

                    Blond butterfingers strikes again, when the mixer also had a beater eject switch!

                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      Tee Haw... She's a Lutheran.

                      A giggle a day keeps the doctor away.

                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Yeah, but I've ended up with bits of rubber spatula in my food on more than on occasion.

                    Let's see -- I invited a friend whose family owned a restaurant over for dinner. I wanted to impress him, so I made duck, and when I went to carve it, it shot out from under my knife and onto the floor. I was wishing the floor would swallow me up as well, but he calmly picked it up, rinsed it off and told me it happens to everyone. He was less forgiving of the terrible coffee I served him (I don't drink it so I'd never made it, and I didn't realize that you need a fairly coarse grind for a French press -- he nearly choked on half coffee, half grounds).

                    Another time, I made a triple chocolate cake (chocolate cake with chocolate chips and chocolate icing) to take to my chocoholic boyfriend for his birthday. When I left for work, I somehow locked my chocoholic dog in the kitchen with the not-yet-frosted cake (the whole reason we had to put a lock on the kitchen door was because of that dog -- think she hiding in the kitchen on purpose!). When I came home she'd eaten most of it and left the rest in a hideous mess in the middle of the kitchen floor.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      The spatula thing happened to me too, and trying to shove it down a can to scrape up the remaining caused the sharp edge of the can to cut through my silicone spatulas, why couldn't I have just used a spoon!

                      Love your chocolate cake story. My sister once a piece of cling wrap running through the entire layer of cake over the frosting, she tried to cut the cake for guests and had to run back to the kitchen to remove it excusing herself for having some "technical difficulties" I believe she used the cling wrap to spread the ganache frosting and forgot to remove it earlier.

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Just for those who may not be aware, chocolate is poisonous to dogs in sufficient quantities.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          Ha! In the early 1970s a bunch of us were going to a rock concert, somebody brought over a pan of pot brownies that I set on the dining table and nobody got around to eating any before we left for the concert. Cut to much later that night, coming home I found the brownie pan empty on the kitchen floor and my Irish Setter as flat-out on the living rom floor as she could possibly be. The next morning there was a large brown spot on the living room floor where the dog had been. She wasn't the same for two weeks, what with the weed and chocolate, I didn't know at the time that chocolate was poisonous for dogs. But i"ll never forget how flat she was on the living room carpet that night.

                          1. re: EWSflash

                            I laughed so hard here that I just woke up my dog in the other room!

                            1. re: EWSflash

                              poooooor doggie!

                              and i'm guessing why y'all didn't get around to eating the pan of pot brownies before the concert. LOL

                        2. re: megmosa

                          In an early morning daze, I ground part of the plastic stopper cap inside my heavy-duty blender where I'd foolishly stored it.

                          1. re: megmosa

                            I really, really, really, stupidly did this years ago with a METAL spoon. I blew a hole right out the side of the glass pitcher. I froze in terror when it happened. I thought I had been shot!

                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            My blender blunder was trying to puree really hot soup and the lid flew off...i got burned and there were splatter marks all over the kitchen. I have one blender with a rubber lid and another with a plastic lid...the plastic lid doesn't do this. I felt reeeeeeeeeeally stupid.

                            1. re: iluvtennis

                              I did the same thing with crab bisque. I steamed the crabs, picked them for hours and then put it all in the blender at the end to make it creamier and one explosion later, I, my cat, and the entire kitchen were all covered in yummy crab bisque. I was cleaning for hours and still find remnants to this day. What a mess. Learned that lesson hard!

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              My first time blending in my college apartment, I did the same thing! Then my DH tried to put it back on and actually broke the blender. No more milkshakes for us!

                            3. Well, I don't buy the cornstarch that comes in the yellow boxes anymore. But it was my mom who grabbed the yellow box of baking soda instead of the yellow box of cornstarch when making turkey gravy once.

                              Which she didn't realize until we were at the table and she took a bite from her plate.

                              So I also learned to taste before the food hits the table.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: cyberroo

                                I did that once! God awful yucky gravy. I looked in the cabinet, wondering what the heck went wrong and then I realized. I now keep them very far apart!

                                I made this dinner that my family loved and were drooling waiting for it. As I took it to the table, it was a bit hotter than I thought, even though I have asbestos hands. Well this time my hands failed me. I dropped the bowl on the floor and the meal went up like a mushroom cloud! My ceiling was covered, the floor too and no way to salvage anything. Take out pizza that night.

                                1. re: danhole

                                  Your story reminds me of a July 4 party I catered some years back. It was for the Volunteer Firefighter's Association in the community center of the town we used to live in.

                                  I was done with food prep and was carrying food out to where the party was so I had already changed into a cocktail dress and sandals. In the kitchen was an eight-burner commercial range where I was heating water in the lower pan of several chafing dishes. One of the dishes had a large round of brie split in half so I would end up with two round halves. I topped with a cooked apple/pear/butter/brandy spiced mixture. It was melting beautifully into fruity, buttery, cheesy goodness. When it was done, I put the lid on top of the dish, took some potholders, grabbed the whole thing by the handles and started out of the kitchen. What I didn't realize was that someone had spilled water on the floor and hadn't mopped up. I took about three steps before I started to slip. I couldn't regain my footing and was beginning to slip backwards, so I let go and dropped the chafer in front of me. I can still see it happen in slow motion ~ the pan of water hit the floor ~ the dish of cheese bounced out ~ then the lid bounced off the dish. Boiling water splashed up to my knees. My husband (a volunteer firefighter at the time) picked me up, threw me into the industrial-sized sink and ran cold water over my legs.

                                  Hearing that I was incapacitated (I was in the sink!) a couple of firemen came back to see if they could help. I looked at the chafing dish on the floor and the melted brie and fruit were still intact. Someone rinsed off the lid, put it back on top of the dish. They grabbed another pot of water and set it out at the table. Someone else mopped the floor.

                                  In all the excitement, I forgot to remove my sandals which were now cold and wet. I unstrapped them and found I had burned the tops of my feet, shins and knees. My husband gave me a bag of ice to put over my feet and legs until the stinging had stopped. Before long, I was back to carting trays of other assorted apps I had, but stayed away from any heat sources the rest of the evening.

                                  1. re: AntarcticWidow

                                    Poor thing! That is a tragedy. Glad you had some really good helpers over that night.

                              2. My ex had a habit of using the wrong type of pan/pot/bowl in the oven or on the stove. One year on my birthday, he decided to surprise me with a new Jamie Oliver recipe for a roast tenderloin beef with wild mushrooms wrapped in prosciutto. The recipe called for cooking the wrapped roast in the oven for a while then adding red wine. He had placed the roast in a glass pan in a very hot oven. I walked in just from work just as he was adding the wine to the pan. He used wine left over from the night before, so it was cold from being refrigerated. The pan shattered into little pieces and all those expensive ingredients had to go into the trash. We went out to dinner.

                                Another time he was trying to make icing for a cake the way his mother used to. His mother always made it in a glass bowl on the stove, so that is what he did. Unfortunately, he failed to notice that her glass bowl was placed over a pot of simmering water. He placed the glass bowl directly on the burner and I had another mess to clean up.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: Springhaze2

                                  I was making creme brule or something and put my pyrex baking pan on the stove to pour hot water into it for the water bath. I apparantly had turned on the wrong burner - and as I waited for the tea kettle to whistle my pyrex baking pan EXPLODED. It was really loud and there were pieces of pyrex all over the kitchen. I had been facing it at the time and had some small cuts on my face from the glass (!) but luckily no major damage. Took me YEARS to use pyrex again.

                                  1. re: akq

                                    Similar - Had made lots and lots of lovely chicken stock. Strained it into my largest Pyrex bowl that was sitting on top of a dishtowel on my countertop. To get it out of the way, I used some oven mitts to pick up the bowl and put it into my sink - a stainless steel sink. That was cold because it was cold out. KaBOOM. Bowl exploded (up and out and onto the floor) and all of the stock went down the drain as well as onto me and the kitchen floor.

                                    Pissed me off more about the stock than the Pyrex bowl. Oh - and cleaning up slightly greasy stock from the floor (what the cats didn't lick up) was not fun either. Remained slippery for a day or two, so a couple of near-misses as I slid across the floor once or twice while making other things that weekend.

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      Wow! My story is less dramatic. During our kitchen remodel I decided to make stock. (Maybe not a great idea.) I put the pan in the fridge to cool, removed it to strain off the fat and --- dropped it. A greasy tide splashed across our three-day-old floor. My SO was furious and incredulous. ("What are you DOING?") I can only guess that our (comparatively) fancy new kitchen made me nervous. I'm not usually such a klutz.

                                      (Edit: Just realized this doesn't really go with the Pyrex thread. Oh, well, I've broken stuff, too.)

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        Well at least you didn't strain it without a bowl! I stood there watching while my partner strained his chicken stock right down the drain! We both looked at each other like "what the heck did you/I just do?!!!"

                                        1. re: cuccubear

                                          LOL! Yeah, I've heard of that happening as well. You can only laugh and say that you've had a "Lucy Moment". :-)

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            Exactly! I think we scrapped dinner all together and went out for a pizza!

                                      2. re: akq

                                        I had a pyrex shatter in the oven. It was holding a lasagna. I was not in the room. I only discovered it when the fire alarm started.

                                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                          Oy.

                                          1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                            bringing a bowl of turkey tetrazzini to a friend's for dinner, I had covered bottom with a kitchen towel but on the way out of thr car it fell out of the bottom of the plastic bag onto the pavement... could have been worse but we dined at the diner that night, needless to say!

                                      3. I may have shared this before, but... When my first husband and I moved to Mississippi, he was an AF student and we were poor, so our recreation was playing cards regularly with another couple. For "snacks" I would always bake four loaves of bread, 2 regular white bread and two raisin nut, which we all ate with a half pound of butter.

                                        I ran out of flour, he was heading for school on base, I asked him to pick up a 20 lb bag of flour and a box of yeast from the commissary on his way home. The next morning I whipped up a batch of yeast dough and knowing that it would take two huors to doulbe in volume, went to a girlfriend's house for coffee. When I came home, the dough had turned into the monster that ate my kitchen! The dough had risen out of the bowl, over the sides, all over the counter, into the sink, down on the floor. It was a mess!

                                        It was my first (and only) experience with self-rising flour. It just doesn't work well with yeast.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          That is so very "I Love Lucy"!

                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                            LOL this is so funny!!!
                                            Once I left my dough on the dryer in the laundry room and similar things happened, it went out of the bowl and was hanging halfway down the dryer all "crispy" and took forever to get it all off.
                                            Other times we'd let the dough rise in the oven (off) and then when we turned it on to cook/bake something else the dough would get all cooked/baked in there, can't remember how many times that happened!!

                                          2. Goodness, these are a real hoot to read! I have a couple, both involving chocolate chip cookies. My cousin was visiting from Europe and she wanted to make chocolate chip cookies with me, those cookies being so iconic with respect to American cuisine. First off, we creamed the butter, then for some reason we left the kitchen (not for long), came back only to find the cat (a kitten at the time) with his front paws in the bowl, his hind legs outside the bowl, happily eating away at the creamed butter. At least I had the foresight to get a camera instead of getting mad (especially since Mickey, the cat in question, has passed on).

                                            Number two was actually my mom's "tragedy". Okay, this woman does not like to cook, but she can bake some things quite well. This is shortly before Christmas and she's making chocolate chip cookies as part of the Christmas cookie arsenal. She makes the batter, puts it into the oven and pulls out the cookie sheet when the time is up. And stares at the finished cookies. With consternation and confusion. Something has gone wrong, very wrong. She has one big mass of stuff. After thinking for a minute or two, it dawns on her that she forgot to add the flour. So, she basically wound up with sweetend scrambled eggs with chocolate chips. I guess this is technically a food prep issue, since the mistake was made in the mixing of the dough.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: nofunlatte

                                              If we are bringing up parents' tragedies, I have got to bring up my mom's stint as a girl scout leader while in her late twenties. Her troup had made twelve dozen hamantashen for a nursing home. Five dozen prune, five dozen poppy seed and two dozen cherry in the center of the other ten were waiting and cooling on the kitchen table while the kids were being brought home. When my mom came home, her sheep dog Cher had climbed up on the table and eaten the two dozen cherry hamantashen and left the surrounding ten dozen. Even as I write this, I don't believe it but my parents swear by the story.

                                              1. re: nofunlatte

                                                I'm pretty sure I made a brownie once and forgot the flour, it was sugary crystally and more like a foamy hard candy than anything, it tasted good though but I just couldn't believe I made that mistake!

                                                Another time I forgot the tahini in my hummus dip, it looked glossy and yellow, creamy but something wasn't right. I later discovered my mistake but it was still delicious, just odd.

                                              2. Sorry to hear about that. I would have instituted the five second rule.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                  Ah! Just reread it and found out that there were bits of your pot in the food. I guess there really is no way to salvage it then. What a bummer.

                                                  Fortunately, I haven't had anything too terrible happen. For Thanksgiving, I once stuffed a turkey and forgot to remove the plastic bag with the giblets/neck, etc. The plastic expanded during cooking and started to ooze out of the stitches I made on the turkey. As I was a teenager and not as experienced with cooking, I thought it was a reaction with the stuffing and the chestnuts. I only discovered my mistake when I tried to remove the stuffing. The turkey was salvageable but I had to throw out the stuffing. And the stuffinng is the best part!

                                                2. My SO made a quiche in a pie pan with holes in the bottom. I guess the crust had holes in it, too -- or else the filling just seeped out. In any case, I told him I smelled smoke and he opened the oven to find the empty pie shell and a very messy oven. Such a sad look on his face...

                                                  1. Ha! Thank you all -- this is great!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: jlafler

                                                      My first Thanksgiving with new in-laws, baking with a new stove. I had created a gorgeous apple pie, complete with a decorative pastry "apple" on the top. It was in the oven, almost done, as we prepared to leave, I turned off the oven (or so I thought) and went into the bedroom for final primp/dressing activities. As Im reaching for my coat, I smelled something burning -- I had turned the oven to "broil" instead of "off" and completely blackened my gorgeous pie. Luckily there was a bakery near the house, open on Thanksgiving day. The next year, the inlaws asked me to bring.... the crudites.

                                                    2. My Ex & I had just returned from our honeymoon. We were living in Fl. and had turned off the air conditioner to save money during our 1 week August trip. We were very broke and I was cooking the only real food left in the house until payday. I stirred, simmered, tasted and decided to add a little spice. Sprinkled it in, stirred - but it wouldn't dissolve. Took a closer look and realized weevils had hatched due to the heat in the house.

                                                      In desperation I considered picking them out...but couldn't bring myself to withhold the truth. I came clean and my ex had stashed some money for a birthday dinner for me (two weeks away) so we went celebrated early!

                                                      I later went through all my seasonings. ALL of the spices with heat (paprika, chili powder, curry powder...) had weevils. It was rough replacing them at that point in time. I have always kept non-sweet spices in the fridge since then and have never had a problem.

                                                      1. As a newlywed with a brand new pressure cooker I thought I would make a soup. Turned up the heat, the doorbell rang and it was a neighbour. So we started chatting at the doorstep, the next thing we hear was a bang. My soup was all over the ceiling and brand new kitchen and a big dent in the ceiling from the little widget from the pressure cooker lid.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: smartie

                                                          Oh this reminds me of a friend. They had cooked potatoes in a pressure cooker, and after taking it off the stove, they put it on top of the dryer as a place to cool down and depressurize. Unfortunately, their poor parakeet lived in a cage just above it, and well, the cooker exploded. Poor parakeet. It had a funeral pyre made of potatoes instead of wood.

                                                          1. re: Cachetes

                                                            I know this thread is old but I can't stop laughing....sounds like something from Monty Python!!

                                                        2. Oops forgot this week's story. Found Homepride Chicken Korma sauce this week in our supermarket in the British section. At $6+ a jar but rare to find I bought it and some chicken and made a curry with bananas added in at the end and some expensive Greek yoghourt. I took my dogs out separately for a walk and came back with one to find the other one had eaten all the curry on the stove (German Shep mix so she is tall) with 3 large chicken breasts. She has now had the runs for 2 days and I have had to buy a ton of carpet cleaner. That curry became doubly expensive!

                                                          1. Ohmygod, until I read smarti's pressure cooker disaster, I was completely repressing my absolute worst food prep tragedy!

                                                            The kids' and step kids' (two of each) ages ran like stair steps, from four to seven. It was Good Friday, and for the very first time, one of the networks was running the Charlie Brown movie as a gift to the nation. West coast prime time runs from 8 to 11, so I told the kids if they wanted to watch, they'd all have to take a nap. So 'long about 3:30 they scurried off to dreamland.

                                                            About 5:30 I decided it was time to start dinner. What to fix? Why not tacos? So I made some picadillo, grated some cheese, prepped the veggies. Time to make the taco shells. So I put an inch or so of peanut oil in my 12" Le Creuset frying pan and cranked up the burner. Just as I remembered I was about two hours late taking an antibiotic my dentist had prescribed, so I dashed into the bedroom to get it and.... the phone rang.... and you just know a woman cannot ignore a ringing telephone.... so I answered the bedroom phone. It was my step-kid's mom, and talking to her -- especially when she was cheery -- always made me nervous! Could the step kids stay all Easter weekend because she and her bf wanted to take a trip to SF...

                                                            I have no idea why, but when I went in to get the medicine, I had pushed the bedroom door shut. When I opened it to go back to the kitchen, the hallway "ceiling" was even with the door lintel, pitch black, and had web-like "threads" of burnt plastic floating in it!

                                                            I ran to the kitchen! The frying pan was close to glowing, the ceramic was close to melting, it no longer had a wooden handle, and the oil was a thin coat of varnish around the inside edges of the pan. My stove had an oven (not microwave) above the cooktop, as well as below, with a glass control panel on the right that controlled everything. But most of the knobs -- particularly the one that controlled that burner -- had burned away and the "floating threads" were their only remains. I couldn't turn the stove off...! The wooden cabinet doors at each side of the oven were on fire at their bottom corners next to the oven. And the hot glass from the control panel had burst and spattered all over, melting itself into my new vinyl floor!

                                                            First things first. I dumped three boxes of baking soda on the pan and cook top. I grabbed my heat proof oven mitts and ran them down both sides of each burning cabinet door. Success! Put those fires out. Moved the hot frying pan into the bottom oven. Under control! With the frying pan off the burner, it quickly became "just another hot burner." Success!

                                                            Next I ran down the hallway closing all of the doors to the kids' bedrooms. Fortunately (and strangely, since our bedroom was at the end of the hall), the smoke in their rooms was minimal and they were all sleeping soundly. I felt confident the fire was safely out, so let them sleep!

                                                            Next I grabbed every sheet from the linen closet and went around the living room and family covering all upholstered furniture. No sheets left for the drapes! Then I opened all doors and windows. But the smoke would NOT leave my house...!

                                                            Okay, the firehouse was three doors and one cross street away. My son hung out with all the firemen. They were pals! So I called and asked for the fire chief by name, told him I'm John's mom, and explained what I'd done. Any chance they had a fan I could "borrow" for smoke control? "Sure! Glad to help!" "Okay, but the kids are still asleep. Promise not to come in your big engine, and NO sirens!" "Promise!"

                                                            In less than two minutes my house was surroundeed by a HUGE red ladder truck, a smoke control unit, and the fire chief's big red pick up, every one of them with lights flashing and sirens wailing. The inside of the house was instantly swarming with fifteen firemen, all with walky-talkies on their belts blaring at ten thousand decibels! They cut off the stove's power supply at the circuit breaker (I felt SO dumb!). They stripped drapes and adornment from windows. Even took some windows out. Set up six HUGE fans that blew with such force that standing in the family room was like standing in a wind tunnel! In nothing flat, the smoke was gone and the firemen were cleaning house, digging glass out of the kitchen floor, rehanging drapes. I was simply amazed.

                                                            As the firemen were taking the first fan out of the house, I was talking with the fire chief when the phone rang. It was my husband. He had ridden his bike to work that day, expecting to ride home before dark. He'd had a mass spectrometer get touchy on him and it was almost dark. Could I come pick him up? "Honey, I've set the kitchen on fire but I'll be there as soon as I can!" And I hung up. When I looked at the fire chief he was appalled! "What's wrong?" I asked. "How strong is your husband's heart? I think you just gave him a heart attack!" It dawned on me what I'd said. I grabbed the phone and called the university. He was GONE!

                                                            Okay, as soon as they got their equipment out of the house, I'd wake up the kids and go get him. Probably meet him about a third of the way home. Some heavy hills between Del Mar and UCSD. The firemen were taking the last equipment out, the firechief and I were standing in the driveway having a cigarette (what else do you do after a fire?) when my husband came sailing around the corner on his bike, sweat pouring from him! The FC and I were stunned. NOT possible for him to ride home that quick! He could cover the entire Tour de France route in two days! As he dismounted from his bike, he looked the house over. No smouldering holes in the roof. No smoke stains around doors or windows. Things looked okay. With a very calm voice he looked at me and said, "You mean you had all this heat and you didn't make popcorn for the movie?"

                                                            No tacos! Just McDonald's and a Charlie Brown movie. And four kids who were really really REALLY ticked I hadn't woke them up to watch the firemen! And those turned out to be tacos of good fortune. Our insurance adjuster waved our $100.00 deductable if I would wash all the wine glasses myself. Our insurance company painted the kitchen, family room, and living room, rebuilt the custom cabinets, installed a new kitchen floor, bought us a new stove, cleaned the carpets, cleaned the upholstery, and cleaned the smoke out of the cedar ceilings! But they wouldn't replace my Le Creuset frying pan. It was the "cause" of the fire, and therefore unrecoverable. Tacos that just kept on giving! And the very best of all is that no one even had a hair singed. :-)

                                                            9 Replies
                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                              What a story, told by a wonderful storyteller!

                                                              1. re: GretchenS

                                                                Thank you, Gretchen. Learned it from my grandfather. '-)

                                                              2. re: Caroline1

                                                                Wow--I think you win!

                                                                1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                  Not really. The rest of the story is my insurance agent came by the next morning. Said because of Easter, the claims adjuster wouldn't be there until Monday or Tuesday, and left. By the time the claims adjuster arrived, my kitchen counters were covered with my mother's counter top appliances so I could feed the family. Elecctric kettle. Electric frying pan. Electric roaster. The claims adjuster looked at it all and said, "What's this stuff for?" I told him I had to feed four kids and a hungry husband! "But didn't your agent tell you that your policy covers three meals a day in ANY restaurant of your choice?" Boy, did I have mean words for my insurance agent!! We could have had an Easter banquet at Hotel del Coronado instead of fried ham steaks and nuked sweet potatoes. Still, those tacos did give us a lot. '-)

                                                                2. re: Caroline1

                                                                  I can't stop laughing! You are so funny! I had to read it aloud to my 5 year old b/c she was wondering why I was laughing so hard.

                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                    Doesn't Le Creuset have a lifetime warranty? I wonder if you could have just brought it back claiming it was "defective". Hahahaha! I'm glad you lived to tell (and share) this great story!

                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                      OK, now that is one story the family will tell for generations, Caroline! I do have to say - the BEST line of the whole thing was your DH's asking about the popcorn. :-)

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        He had a very droll sense of humor. We were out sailing one day when I spotted a tern. "Look, a tern!" Just then the bird took 90 degrees and headed inland. His response: "Wrong. It's obviously a half tern."

                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                          at least it wasn't a tern for the worse.

                                                                    2. I feel that pain. There's that Nigella watermelon-feta-black olive salad. To make it, you have to marinate thinly sliced red onions in lime juice for at least 20 minutes or so.

                                                                      Upon returning home from work, I'm dreaming about my watermelon salad. I get started slicing the onion as paper-thin as I can. Put them in a little bowl, hand-squeeze the lime juice so it's all just right. Go away and do something else for a few minutes.

                                                                      Then I come back, start assembling the rest of the salad, and knock over the little bowl of marinated onion. It's happened to me twice. Absolutely heartbreaking. I could scrape up the onion, but it's the juice that really makes the salad.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Kagey

                                                                        THANKSGIVING more than 35 years ago,3 gallon pottery bowl 60% full of
                                                                        cranberry sauce,warm.Enter lilac point Siamese cat,landing in said bowl above the elbows.Had to toss it,no choice.There was no getting past the PINK cat.I don't know,otherwise perhaps it could have been boiled again.It was quite formidable,after a shampoo Boy Onion was pink for 2 or 3 weeks.
                                                                        Bake sale,brownies,lovely batter.Enter one pet Cockateel,a very blonde.Chloe
                                                                        saw? this as solid?landed dead center.She took a shower daily,still was a bit
                                                                        off colour a week later.Spouse and I baked and ate them,sent something else
                                                                        to the bake sale.Twin boys were mortified anyway and did not eat any !!!!
                                                                        I can't imagine a single person without an oven or stove top story.There are
                                                                        reasons I don't use a blender,preferring to mark it up to bad luck,not bad usage.

                                                                        1. re: lcool

                                                                          I had a half-siamese cat jump down from the top of a room divider ( where the catnip kitty den was) and land in a pumpkin pie. The look of horror and the subsequent paw-shaking (left front right front left rear right rear repeat ad infinitum) was worth a couple hundred pumpkin pies, and I don't take my pumpkin pies lightly!

                                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                                            All of the critters here,dog,cats,Mynahs are ruinous around pies.I never leave them out to cool without closing kitchen doors.Pastry crust is just too tasty.I bake all the scraps for treats.

                                                                      2. We invited some very good goyish friends to one of the very first Passover Seders that I attempted. I was going to share some real Jewish cooking with them. Soup was terrific. Eggs and gefilte fish -- perfect. I then went to the kitchen to bring out the roasted chickens and potato kugel. As my husband carved the birds, I went to plate up the kugel -- which had completely turned a lovely shade of kelly green. Learned a valuable lesson about aluminum cookware that day.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: bards4

                                                                          If Passover had been close to St. Patrick's day that year it could have been a cross cultural fusion thing!

                                                                          1. re: bards4

                                                                            I did that with an apple pie when I was younger. I can still remember trying to convince one of my husband's friends, "Really, I think it's fine to eat." I just so hated to toss my hard work.

                                                                          2. tell me someone else has pre-heated the same oven you are rising the bread dough in. basketball, anyone?

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: hyde

                                                                              Too many times !!

                                                                            2. One Christmas I was at my parent's and the oven timer buzzed to indicate the appetisers were ready. My mom asked me to turn it off and take the appetisers out.. which I did. It was a self basting turkey so we didn't need to check it for ages.. about 2 hours later when she finally did check the turkey mom found I'd turned the oven off competely. There were lots of jokes about going 'cold turkey' that year - we dined very late that Christmas.

                                                                              1. I was 17, spent over an hour cutting up vegetables, sauteeing stuff etc. for a Chinese recipe. The recipe called for corn starch. I didn't know then, what I do know now to mix the cornstarch in a different bowl with a little liquid... So --- I tried to pour in the tsp. of cornstarch, and the ENTIRE box fell into the pan! 20 years later this moment is clear as day to me. I spooned out as much as I could, my parents were kind enough to try to eat it, it tasted awful.

                                                                                1. We were redoing the basement area where the freezer to feed our growing family was located. At the time, in addition to a side of beef, lots of pork and a couple of dozen farm chickens, I was mad keen on frozen bread dough: man, that big old chest freezer sure was full!

                                                                                  Neeless to say, the renovation team didn't mean to leave the freezer unplugged when they hurried off for the long weekend. And we hadn't intended to be gone for a full 4 days at the cottage, either. But it was so hot that year...

                                                                                  From the time we opened the front door, the smell was bad enough to tell us something was terribly wrong. But, as we were drawn downstairs, the sight of all that semi-risen grey dough, bulging through the plastic bags and pushing open the door of the freezer, WOAH, that was the scariest sight I have ever seen!

                                                                                  1. Not really a food prep tragedy, but kind of funny...

                                                                                    When I was a little kid, we went to Florida to visit my grandparents for easter. My parents (a.k.a the Easter Bunnies) had brought everything with them for the easter baskets and cleverly hid all the candy in a cabinet above the refrigerator where my sister and I would never find it. On easter morning, they went to put together the baskets and where they had left the hollow chocolate easter bunnies, they found two blobs of chocolate each with two candy eyes floating on top.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: LabRat

                                                                                      On a similar note, this year I was still being the Easter Bunny for my 16 year old. He humors me and gets a kick out of it. I found this big chocolate bunny in the boxes with the clear plastic front called "da Bunny"- decked out as a rapper. Perfect! Went out at the crack of dawn to hide the goodies. When he got to "da Bunny" he said "Oh cool, oh no his ear broke off"......what?!?.....then we saw the chew marks. A little mouse (judging from the size of the evidence drops in the master bedroom closet) had eaten the entire ear!

                                                                                      As a kid 2 events stand out. First was getting up super early with my cousin at Grandma's house and deciding it would be a good idea to cook bacon. We were maybe 6 and 7 respectively. It smelled pretty good, but then the cast iron pan got too hot and it started to burn and smoke. We grabbed pot holders, ran to the kitchen window thinking to vent the smoke out the window. Instead we melted the thin nylon curtains, the bacon was ruined, and we temporarily ran away from home.

                                                                                      The second was my mom making her famous vegetable soup with chewy dumplings on Christmas eve using veggies from her garden. Well, the cauliflower was apparently infested with little bugs. At first we thought the little tiny black flecks were lots of pepper, but closer examination revealed appendages. She insisted we could fish them out. The soup literally looked like you had shaken loads of pepper over the surface. Poor thing!

                                                                                    2. I used to make home made fruitcakes with all organic ingredients- candied papya and mango, organic raisins, nuts etc. The fruits soaked in high quality bourbon, grape jelly and coffee for several days then were added to other ingredients. I made about a huge batch that had to be mixed with my hands. AS I was mixing a batch a tip came off my fingernail and got mixed in with the fruitcake mix. I couldn't find it of course and could not bear the thought of my family or people I gave the cakes to as gifts biting into a nail tip- so I had to throw the whole thing away. Very expensive.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: emilief

                                                                                        Call me Miss Piggy, but I'd have baked them all, wrapped them in foil and doused the regularly with bourbon as a preservative, and kept them ALL for me!

                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                          +1

                                                                                          1. re: emilyjh75

                                                                                            +2

                                                                                      2. One year, my bro and I volunteered to cook Thanksgiving dinner for the entire mishpocha. (Interesting that several of these anecdotes center around Thanksgiving, huh?)

                                                                                        The morning of, we prepped the stuffing for "Birdzilla", our 29lb turkey. When we realized 3 loaves of cubed cornmeal bread, a dozen eggs, a quart of home-made stock, 2 pounds of toasted pecans & dried cherries mixed with 6 lbs of sautéed andouille, onions & apples, were more than any one container could hold, we decided to do the mixing in the kitchen sink. PERFECT!

                                                                                        Up to our elbows in glop, it was time to add black pepper. My brother gave the container a gentle-shake and all 2 CUPS of "black plague" poured over everything. (In the spirit of cooperation, my sister-in-law had filled the industrial-sized pepper shaker the night before, failing only to screw on the top.)

                                                                                        D'oh!

                                                                                        Have you noticed, during times like this you go into a fugue-like-state which is your mind's way of coping with some terrible, horrible dream? Recovering, we scooped as much off the top as possible, then ran the tap in an effort to rinse the stuff but it was clearly going to be inedible.

                                                                                        It's 7:30 am, Thanksgiving morning, Berkley, California. The only place open is a 7-11 and they've been out of "traditional" ingredients for days. Desperate, we cleaned out the joint, snatching up hot dog buns, freeze-dried almonds, frozen onion rings, sun-dried apricots, Rice-A-Roni, cat litter . . . anything that might remotely work in a stuffing. We combined 1/3 of the original mixture with the new ingredients, (opting to SKIP the cat litter) closed our eyes, packed Birdzilla and slammed him into the oven. Our back-up plan involved pouring a LOT more wine.

                                                                                        Surprisingly, the meal was a success and everyone's favorite dish . . . you guessed it. The #*$%&! stuffing. As my people say, “A mentsh tracht und Gott lacht.” (A person plans and God laughs)

                                                                                        1. When my son was just over two years old, I was home one afternoon after my wife left for work, and I was making a rice salad, based on the one Mary Ann Esposito had done on "Ciao Italia" a couple weeks before. Nice salad -- celery, onion, sun dried tomato, bell peppers, herbs, olives, all mixed with rice, dressed with vinegar and olive oil. It's a dish we loved, and I'd made it before.

                                                                                          I'm in the home stretch, slivering the red bell peppers in preparation for dicing, when the knife slips on the waxy uneven surface of the pepper and THUNK -- I take a nice hunk out of the tip of my finger.

                                                                                          I begin to bleed profusely -- shades of Dan Aykroyd as Julia Child -- but not in the food, thank you very much. OK, I cook, I cut myself sometimes, I think; I can deal with this.

                                                                                          I try bandages. Nope. Cold compresses. Nope. No matter what I do, no amount of cleaning or bandaging or anything will stop the flow. I think to myself that I'd better go to the emergency room before it's "Save the liver! Bon Appetit!"

                                                                                          With my finger wrapped tightly in several thicknesses of cloth and the tip pressed hard into my palm, I telephone my wife's aunt and uncle; her aunt is working at the hospital, and Uncle Peter will call her and tell her to meet me there and take care of my son for me.

                                                                                          I'm almost home free. But there's one complication: My son, at this point in his life, is deathly afraid of the sight of blood.

                                                                                          Did you know it is possible to lock up the house, secure an almost-completed rice salad, put your toddler in shoes, grab the diaper bag, and get him in the carseat, back out of the driveway, and calmly head for the ER without getting a drop of blood on anything? And also without showing your beloved boy that your finger is bleeding like the Black Knight in "Monty Python & the Holy Grail"? Well you can.

                                                                                          Or so I thought. It's a 10 minute drive to the ER, and as I'm making one of the last turns, I hear the voice in the back seat.

                                                                                          "Uh, Daddy? Wha' you do your finger?"

                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: jmckee

                                                                                            I'm impressed. I cut off the tippy-tip of my thumb once, and I managed to keep the blood out of the food and off the floor. But I didn't have a toddler at the time, and my husband was home to help.

                                                                                            I cut the very same thumb a few days ago. Dashing to the bathroom to get a bandage, I hit the corner of a table with my right thigh, ricocheted in the opposite direction and whammed my left shoulder into the wall. So now, in addition to the cut (healing nicely) I have two big bruises. Sigh.

                                                                                            1. re: jlafler

                                                                                              I cut the tip of my thumb chopping vegetables once, and it was a significant chunk. I thought I was going to pass out and had to look to see if there was any bone sticking out. It grew back, but I don't think it is never going to be the same- there is no real sensation left there. It feels like my thumb is wearing a little hat.

                                                                                              Anyway, my point is: KEEP YOUR KNIVES SHARP, it may seem counterintuitive, but it means that you will not have to use so much force when chopping. I have also had some mandoline accidents as well- now I wear oven mitts if I am anywhere near it.

                                                                                              1. re: NCVeggie

                                                                                                Only problem with really sharp knives is that it take very little contact to cut the crap out of you. My most frequent cuts come from my finger just barely touching the heal of my knives. Just pops the skin open with a hairs touch. I know I could round them out and I have but really like the sharp heal.

                                                                                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                  Too true. I have a 30 year old Sabatier carbon steel utility knife. I had just sharpened it in anticipation of preparing a barbecue for 20 or so guests a few weeks ago. Like a razor. And managed to take a good 1/8" slice off the tip of my little finger without even feeling it while slicing an onion.

                                                                                                  Like jmckee I ended up in the emergency room because it just would not stop bleeding, while my wife continued the preparations. They managed to stop the bleeding using gelfoam and sent me home just in time for the start of the party. Fortunately I'd prepped the meat in advance (and already smoked my five-hour ribs) so all went off well. And the silver lining - I was exempt from cleanup!

                                                                                                  Of course, it's almost three weeks later and I just yesterday got through a day without needing to wear a bandage on it. I am getting the feeling back, though.

                                                                                                2. re: NCVeggie

                                                                                                  I lost the sensation in the fingertip. Until I had exactly the same mishap preparing exactly the same ingredient for exactly the same dish years later. This time, after the trip to the ER, I found that the sensation was returning!

                                                                                                  I'm not making that rice salad again. No sense tempting the fates.

                                                                                                  1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                    I have a left thumb that has a huge right-angle chunk out of it, courtesy of a Henckel's serrated knife. No sensation there either. Only time I ever passed out cold from a cut. Thank G-d I wasn't at work; that wouldn't have flown at all.
                                                                                                    Ha ha ha. "Out-cold cuts."

                                                                                              2. re: jmckee

                                                                                                I sliced the tip of my ring finger off in my brand-new, first-time-using-it mandoline. Yes, I had watched them being used properly on TV cooking shows many times. Yes, I had read through the instructions and knew that the little knob thingie with spines was for holding the item you're mandoline-ing. I was just so excited to give my new gadget a testeroo that in my enthusiasm, I grabbed that potato and off I went, slicing away for an au gratin recipe.

                                                                                                My spouse came to the rescue... getting my bleeding finger wrapped up, and like jmckee, I marveled at how hard it was to get that thing to stop bleeding. Hubster finished the potato dish while I wallowed in self-pity over my stupidity and my ouching finger. Bless his heart, he even had to pull the chunk of my fingertip from the underside of the mandoline blade while cleaning up after my mishap. That was almost one year ago. The "corner" or my ring fingertip grew back, though shaped a bit differently now. Nerve endings are still coming back... that spot on my fingertip is still a little numb.

                                                                                                My only other memorable blade mishap involved helping my Mom on Thanksgiving (apparently, from reading these posts, it's THE holiday to have some sort of misadventure) as a teenager. Mere SECONDS after she warned me to be careful with her chef's knife, it was very sharp, and my confident reply, "Don't worry, Mom, I'll be careful.", I sliced right down into my thumb, at about the bottom of the nail, stopping at the bone. I was promptly fired (for the day, anyway) as sous-chef. I still laugh thinking about the incredibly short amount of time between, "I'll be careful, Mom!" and the knife chunking into my thumb.

                                                                                                1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                  Ooooh--the tip of the finger; it's the WORST. Although I don't know which is more painful, the 30 minutes after you shave it off, or the three months of flaming pins and needles when the feeling is finally returning! And embarrassing--even the little manicurist who has seen every form of toenail fungus, bunion, and hammertoe known to man says "Ugly finger--I not do that one."

                                                                                                2. I turned a 4 course New Years dinner into a 3 courser when I accidentally used fish stock for chicken stock in my roasted garlic soup, rendering it inedible. I had to throw it out... I was so bummed, it was 1st attempt at cooking a multi-course holiday meal in our new home.

                                                                                                  1. My first attempt at carrot cake was a disaster, I puried the carrots instead of shredding them.

                                                                                                    1. Just this last 4th of July weekend, last party of the 3 day weekend. I was putting mustard on my burger and the top came off and the whole bottle came out all over my burger, bun, plate, and sides. And it was the last of the mustard. Happily, my hostess, like nofunlatte, immediately started laughing and called out "get a camera!". Several guests had cameras and snapped up a storm. Just got a picture from one of the guests: me with a stupidly surprised look on my face holding what appears to be an enormous plate of tastey mustard.

                                                                                                      1. Day One: I made homemade all purpose cleaner. Borax, vinegar...last step measured eucalyptus castile soup in my pyrex measuring cup. Cleaned up, went to bed.

                                                                                                        Day Two: I made a lovely bread pudding, carefully measuring my eggs and milk in my pyrex measuring cup. Put it in the oven. A half hour later, my apartment REEKS of eucalyptus. It was horrifying combined with the egg smell. I'm puzzled, but was apparently in an optimistic mood because I let the pudding finish baking. I take it out and am tickled-- it's the prettiest one I've ever made. I take a tiny bite-- oh yes, indeed, eucalyptus. Right into the trash. Apparently I forgot to rinse out my pyrex measuring cup the night before.

                                                                                                        My apartment stunk for a full three days.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: Vetter

                                                                                                          at least it was eucalytus and not the borax ;)

                                                                                                        2. We had just moved to Norway and to save money we used the old brown Coffee Mate jars from the teacher's lounge to store bulk food s & spices. I had just caught a beautiful cod and made sweet & sour fried fish. Only I grabbed the salt Coffee Mate jar instead of the sugar one. We had the most beautiful salt & sour fish dish. Inedible. How we laughed.

                                                                                                          1. Cooking Thanksgiving dinner at our house for all 32 relatives.
                                                                                                            My mom and I were very stressed as we were in charge of the turkey and most of the sides.
                                                                                                            We had a HUGE turkey. That 30-or-so pounder took almost two days to thaw out and just about as long to cook.
                                                                                                            When it finished the bird looked absolutely beautiful. Deep brown, crispy skin, tender and juicy on the inside. It was perfect.
                                                                                                            We set all the sides buffet-style along several tables, but mom wanted my dad to carve the turkey table side since it was so beautiful.
                                                                                                            Dinner that year was served outside on the patio since the weather in Florida was very pleasant.
                                                                                                            With everyone seated, Mom loaded the mammoth bird up on a huge platter and began walking from the kitchen onto the patio.
                                                                                                            Everyone was watching the majestic bird’s entrance when…
                                                                                                            Mom’s foot caught the door-stop leading out to the patio.

                                                                                                            That 30-pound bird took flight once again…this time without its wings…and SPLAT, hit the ground and then rolled, end-over-end, across the patio.
                                                                                                            Everyone was shocked into silence.
                                                                                                            Mom and I both knelt down to examine the bird.
                                                                                                            Covered in dirt.
                                                                                                            I was devastated, but mom, always quick on her feet, scooped the massive bird back onto the platter and announced:
                                                                                                            “Don’t worry everyone. I’ll just run inside and get the “other” turkey out of the oven. There will be plenty for everyone. Go ahead and help yourself to the sides.” Big and gracious smile on her face.

                                                                                                            I was so confused. Where was this “other” turkey? But I was so impressed, that’s my mom, always prepared for anything…

                                                                                                            I lost my admiration when upon entering the kitchen my mom started frantically wiping the dirty turkey off…
                                                                                                            But where is the other turkey, mom?

                                                                                                            To which she replied, “There IS NO OTHER turkey. Help me get this one cleaned up before anyone comes in here!”
                                                                                                            So we did. We got as much dirt off as we could and then had my dad come in the kitchen to carve it. We laid all the nice pieces on several large platters and walked them right back out and served them.

                                                                                                            I’m sure some of the guests were suspicious, but no one said anything.
                                                                                                            At the end of the day there was no turkey left. A little dirt never killed anyone…

                                                                                                            Moms: ready for anything!

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: kmills9408

                                                                                                              That is a GREAT story, well told.

                                                                                                              I once took a series of classes from a cookbook author and local food guru-her wisdom: never announce in advance what you are planning on serving. That way when your souffle falls, it becomes (with a quick dressing of liquored up jam) a custard with coulis and so forth.

                                                                                                              I think your mom is wise and cool-headed and would have got along just fine with my foodie...

                                                                                                              1. re: kmills9408

                                                                                                                BRAVO !!!.if not for a pink cat,I would have served the cranberry sauce.

                                                                                                              2. I wasn't home for this but it's still funny. We have a cat that will eat any food left out so we have to make sure anything taken out for defrosting or prep is hidden. The microwave or oven are typically where things are hidden. If I use the oven, I turn the light on as a reminder.

                                                                                                                One day, my husband took a bag of king crab legs out of the freezer, put them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven to defrost. Not more than 30 minutes later, he decides to bake something. Turns the oven on to 350 and returns to other tasks.

                                                                                                                Smells plastic a bit later and returns to the kitchen. The plastic bag melted and oozed all over the oven floor. Fortunately, no flames. The crab legs were ruined, as was the oven. He tried to clean it up but melted plastic will beat you every time.

                                                                                                                I got a new stove a few weeks later.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: Dee S

                                                                                                                  There are some great epics here -- fun to read if not to live :-).

                                                                                                                  In our house, homemade pizza is referred to as floor pie now. I made a gorgeous one, whipped it out of the oven with a flourish and somehow it ended up toppings down on the lino. Since it was a galley kitchen part of it even landed on the carpet. SO refused to eat it but I braved the non-furry slices :-).

                                                                                                                  Got him back though the time he accidentally used sushi rice to prep an Indonesian dish. Very odd texture.

                                                                                                                  And then there was my first Pavlova -- I misinterpreted the directions and made a circle of meringue on the baking sheet instead of building it up from the edges. Still tasted great but looked a bit sci-fi with the yellow lemony filling oozing out from under and lifting up the meringue...

                                                                                                                2. First time making Shepherds Pie. I was about 12 I think, had just started to get into food and loved The Frugal Gourmet on TV. I had watched my Mum make this hundreds of times so knew that I could make it, but The Frug (as I called him) added garlic to almost everything, so I thought I would to. So there I am with my mothers version of the meat for the pie and she never stocked fresh garlic, all she had was garlic powder (you see what's coming don't you?), so I add some garlic powder to the meat. Taste it, doesn't seem at all garlicky to me, add more, taste, add a little more, shake my head, topped it with potatoes and toss in the oven. What I DIDN'T know was that the powder needs to rehydrate, ie take in all the juices from whatever ti's in before it gets "garlicky".
                                                                                                                  Took the pan out of the oven, served to the family. Completly inedible, WAAAAY to much garlic. I have never put garlic in shepherds pie again, and I always stock fresh and I"m not afraid to use it. :)

                                                                                                                  1. Back when I was about 20 years old in my first apartment, one of my roommates announced he was gong to make us a very special meal, a citrus-glazed leg of lamb like his mother made. He used all of our meager household budget buying the ingredients, and spent an entire day prepping and marinating the meat. We were all really psyched for it.

                                                                                                                    Unfortunately he didn't actually have his mother's recipe, he just knew that she made it using a lot of orange and lemon zest. And he didn't realize that a citrus glaze involves a sweetening agent, he just roasted the zest-impregnated leg and basted it with pure lemon juice.

                                                                                                                    The end result was so bitter that - literally! - not even the dog would eat it. So sad.

                                                                                                                    1. Right out of college, my roommate and I got our first apartment and were so excited to finally have a kitchen so we could cook and have dinner parties, and several of my kitchen tragedies are from these days, when I was a very inexperienced cook, making food in a tiny NYC kitchen with less than "high quality" cookware.

                                                                                                                      The first incident was our first "Christmas" dinner -- we prepared a holiday meal for our friends right before Christmas. The turkey came out pretty good, as did the sides. The "piece de resistance" was a sour cream apple pie that I made from scratch from a recipe I'd found in Gourmet Magazine. Growing up, we always had store-bought pie for dessert at the holidays, and as such, I had zero experience with pastry and pies. Nevertheless, I trucked on, made the pastry from scratch and did my best to mimic the beautiful lattuce-work design on the magazine cover to top of the pie. I was very impressed with myself as I took the pie out of the oven, admiring it as I held it on both sides with pot holders. It looked beautiful -- for about ten seconds -- when the crappy cheap aluminum pie pan I bought at the market collapsed under the weight of the pie! Thankfully, it fell "face up" and I was still able to serve the dessert, only now I called it "apple crumble" :-)

                                                                                                                      The second disaster occurred in the same tiny kitchen. We bought 2 dozen soft-shell crabs on a Saturday morning from a vendor in Chinatown and brought them home to cook for a dinner party that evening. When taking the bag from the drawer in the refrigerator where they'd been stored, the bag (it was paper, d'oh!) tore and crabs flew everywhere! They were hardy little beasties, too, and several tried to scramble away. Since they hadn't been cooked yet, we figured they'd still be fine to eat, and gathered them up and cooked them anyway :-)

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                        Okay, now I'm thinking of the lobster scene from Annie Hall....

                                                                                                                        1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                          They were hardy little beasties, too, and several tried to scramble away. Since they hadn't been cooked yet, we figured they'd still be fine to eat, and gathered them up and cooked them anyway :-) ................DanaB
                                                                                                                          ......................................................................................

                                                                                                                          Not a fair game if they had rubber bands around their claws! '-)

                                                                                                                        2. it's a good thing none of my family members are chowhounds - they'd kill me for telling al their embarrassing stories.

                                                                                                                          my sister is about as far as a person can get from being a cook. she's even gotten phone calls from the gas company to make sure everything was working in her apartment because in the 11 years she's lived in that place, she has never once turned on her stove. but her classic kitchen faux pas occurred back when she was in college. she had invited a study group over to cram for an exam, and for some ridiculous reason, decided she should "prepare" a snack for everyone. her roommate had left a container of pillsbury cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator, so she decided to bake them [truth be told, i can't believe she even figured out how to turn on the oven]. apparently she popped the end off...and placed the intact canister on a cookie sheet & shoved it into the oven.

                                                                                                                          enough said.

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                            THAT is funny!

                                                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                              yes, my sister is always guaranteed to provide a laugh if she attempts anything more complicated in the kitchen than opening a store-bought container of yogurt. a number of years ago she decided she wanted hard-boiled eggs [*i* know, they're hard-cooked, but she calls them hard-boiled]. anyway, she got the insane notion to try to make them herself, went to the store, bought the eggs, and then called me to ask if i thought 30 minutes was long enough to cook them :) fortunately we lived around the corner from each other at the time - i was so afraid she might burn her apartment down that i ran over there [with my own pot] and did it for her.

                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                my sister was famous for putting a frozen pizza in the oven w/o taking it out of the box...(she was a kid but still!) also,as an adult she put dill weed into spaghetti sauce...yikes!

                                                                                                                          2. Reading all of these has been quite entertaining! Now I don't feel so bad about all the time I have opened a spice to sprinkle on a dish and have the top come off leaving a jar of spices on top of a small dish! Took me a few times to remember to check before sprinkling!

                                                                                                                            Now, I hardly ever make my DH breakfast, unless it is for supper, but one morning I thought he deserved a treat, so I started cooking. Bacon was made, toast was buttered, and I am scrambling the eggs. He likes the soft and mushy, so you have to stir a lot. I'm at the stove stirring and thinking about what I have to get done that day. I have a scraper/spatula I use and after a couple minutes I take the scraper out, and turn off the burner. Hey . . . what happened to my scraper? It was about 1/3 - 1/2 inch shorter! Oops! I looked at the eggs and it wasn't obvious they had plastic melted in, and the scraper was white after all. So do I fess up or not? I just added salt and pepper, served them, we both ate them, and I made sure the scraper went into the trash before he got a chance to see it. Went out later and bought those high heat scrapers! No more cheap ones for me!

                                                                                                                            1. It was my boyfriend's birthday and I wanted to make him a special cake. He went through my cookbooks, saw a picture of a cake, and asked if I would make it for him. It was a three layer cake w/buttermilk frosting and fresh strawberries. This was my first time preparing a three layer cake. Everything was going perfectly until the frosting. It didn't set up properly, but I didn't have time to stick it in the fridge before frosting the cake. My plan was to frost the cake anyway, put it in the refrigerator, and hope the frosting would then set....the only problem is I didn't get that far. I had just completed frosting the cake when right before my very eyes the middle layer shot out of the cake and landed on the floor and broke into many pieces. Into the trash it went, and my three layer cake became a two layer cake with no one any wiser. I wouldn't have been upset about it if the cake hadn't taken me all afternoon...luckily I am more experienced now.

                                                                                                                              My second story also involves a cake. I made a lemon blueberry bundt cake with some extra blueberries I had one day. It was good, and that night we went out with a friend. I left the cake on the kitchen counter pushed to the back with the bundt pan covering the cake acting as a lid. The three of us came back home and I found the bundt pan sitting neatly next to the cake plate, but the cake plate was empty! There were no crumbs, no blueberries, no dirty plates anywhere! We immediately blamed our friend, we had offered him a piece of cake while he was waiting for us to finish getting ready, but we never thought he would finish off half a cake. Well he insisted that it wasn't him, that he only had a small piece and there was still half a cake left when we left to go out. We jokingly accused him of lying, because if it wasn't him then who was it? His reply..."Bud." We looked over at our German Shepard, and realized he was right. Guess what gave him away....his blue tongue! The three of us still laugh about it to this day. I still want to know how he managed all of this, and without opposable thumbs. ;-)

                                                                                                                              1. Oh my yes. Hot new guy on his way over, and it was the first time I'd cooked for him, so I was looking to show off. While preparing dinner like a madwoman (trying to get the bulk of it completed before his arrival so I could look cool and collected when he got there), I got going on margarita preparation. Umpteen limes squeezed (since it must be authentic, after all), Cointreau, and then...well, the label on the Jose Cuervo bottle looks remarkably like that on the olive oil bottle, also sitting on the counter. Measure, dump in, aaaaarggh! So traumatized and rushed that I just dumped it all down the sink (a second later realizing that hey, lots of fresh lime juice, that could have been a great marinade for something! too late). No more limes, no margaritas.

                                                                                                                                1. Last night - steaks under the broiler, potatoes & vegetables are done and kept warm. I was making a pan sauce to go over the steaks, so I pull the steaks out, get the juice from the pan, put into a small skillet with some seasonings, a little white wine, some au jus, and brought it to a boil. Ready to collect the drippings from the steak after it has rested when I grab the handle of the skillet and boy was it hot! Gas stove, and with the oven broiler on, that metal handle could have branded a person. I sort of twist the skillet and release, so it is now sticking out towards the front of the stove. I grab one of those heavy duty silicone handle covers and stick it on the handle. Good grief! There was not enough liquid in the skillet, the silicone thingie was too heavy, the skillet too small, and BAM, a floor covered with my pan gravy! Aargh! Oh well. Steaks were still good and moist, so not a biggie, but I do love my pan sauces. So did the dog!

                                                                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                                    I'm glad no one was hurt!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: michele cindy

                                                                                                                                      I once went to the Emergency room with that one. The Caphalon out line did go away.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                                                                                                                                        Hubby baked two beautiful loaves of bread and put it on the counter to cool. We took the dogs out for a walk, came back in and as we were taking our shoes off, heard snarfing sounds coming from the kitchen. Our bloodhound had grabbed one of the loaves and was chowing down, with her brother vacuuming up the crumbs. When she saw us, she took off with the loaf, canine vacuum close behind her. We managed to salvage one loaf.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: foodslut

                                                                                                                                          Reminds me of a cat we used to have. His name was Elvis, and he truly thought he WAS the King! You could not leave anything on the counter and leave the room. Raw steaks, chicken, pork, whatever, he would jump up there, snatch it and take off. One time I was making beef jerky in the oven, which required a very low heat and leaving the door ajar. That darn cat opened to oven door and ate half of it before I even knew it. He didn't get hurt by the temp in the oven, but boy I was tempted to give him a pop! I didn't, because he was big enough that he would have popped me back!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                                            That's cute! Our cat Iggy jumped up on the table and started chowing down on leftover suckling pig. My Mom just cut the piece off and we finished it off. I couldn't blame him--it was yummy!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                                              My cat is the same; will eat anything and everything. You brought back memories of thawing frozen raw shrimp. Hubby had placed the shrimp in a colander in the sink to thaw and went elsewhere. Cat caught a whiff of the lovelies and decided to eat them. Having learned from a prior experience, he did not eat them on the counter but selected one at a time and created a little stash under the kitchen table before being caught.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: foodslut

                                                                                                                                              You just brought to mind a disaster on my wife's uncle's birthday many years ago.

                                                                                                                                              Big outdoor party. Big standing prime rib roast of beef finished and resting on the counter. Big German Shepherd. You can connect the dots.

                                                                                                                                              That would be bad enough. But apparently they didn't learn from the entree. Because Heidi ate the Big Sheet Cake too.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                                                When my Dh was a teen he had a dog named Cinnamon. One Thanksgiving they let Cinnamon out and he comes back dragging a roasted turkey with him. It seems one of the neighbors set the turkey out to cool after it was roasted (as was common in the 1960's and 1970's) and Cinnamon thought he'd bring it home.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                  That's hysterical! Did your DH's family ever figure out whose turkey the dog had stolen?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                    They never did find out where the turkey came from. But Dh said Cinnamon was so proud of himself.......LOL

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                    aw thats kind of sad! can you imagine if you roasted this beautiful bird only to discover it had disappeared. I imagine they guessed fairly quickly what was the bird's fate, but I'd personally be very annoyed at myself...

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: asiansensation007

                                                                                                                                                      It's the tragedy of human existance. The comedy is that the dog stole the turkey, the tragedy is that a family lost their's. As people we have to find the median between, and see the sorrow and humor in both.

                                                                                                                                        2. Similar experience. First time making Eggplant Parmesan. Beautiful oven crusted eggplant, my best marinara, cheese waiting to top it off. Hot sauce and room temperature glass casserole dish. It was like a bomb went off in my white kitchen. The Sig Other laughing hysterically in the background while I struggled to clean up and not get cut. I have never made it again and all glass casseroles that were left were sold at a yardsale. Color me bitter!

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: dcdavis

                                                                                                                                            and divorced? ;-D

                                                                                                                                            dcdavis, was the glass pyrex? hot sauce in room temp pyrex "shouldn't" shatter. problem with clean up is, when you cut your finger, you don't know where the sauce ends and the blood begins. (eeeuuw, i can't believe i typed that, but i've been there with the broken glass, too!)

                                                                                                                                          2. This wasn't really a food "prep" tragedy, but still a tragedy although funny now.

                                                                                                                                            It was a Sunday morning and I pulled out a roast from the freezer to thaw (I was really young, 20, so hadn't thought to put it in the fridge a couple of days early). Anyway, I put it on the counter then decided to run some errands with my husband, leaving my cat and mini daschaund (weiner dog) at home. Upon arriving home a few hours later, no roast on the counter but did find it on the living room floor, well chewed. I think it was a caper put together by the two of them. The cat must have knocked it off the counter and the dog drug it into the living room. Oh well, dinner out that night!

                                                                                                                                            1. This is more a general "prep" story.. luckily, I have not had any recipes go disastrous on me (yet)!

                                                                                                                                              I was planning on making a large dinner that I needed most of my pots/pans for, and I am dreadfully lazy when it comes to doing dishes. So I filled up the dishwasher but realized I was out of dishwasher tablets.

                                                                                                                                              Looked under the sink and there was plenty of dishwashing soap, so I filled the dishwasher with a couple tablespoons of the stuff and went out to do my grocery shopping. Came home to a kitchen with bubbles up to the counters, and a really angry boyfriend who had walked in moments before me. ...The floor was absolutely sparkling, though!

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: NovoCuisine

                                                                                                                                                count me in for that, novocuisine. it didn't reach to the counters, but did seem to be a billowing cloud that i absolutely could not stop.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: NovoCuisine

                                                                                                                                                  I have a very similar story that was not my fault at all. It was my first apartment and my roommate had pre-washed some dishes. I got home from work and put everything into the dishwasher and started it. Little did I know she had never done any sort of dishes before. She had drenched everything in standard liquid dish soap. Enough that it was still coating the dishes in the dishwasher when I started it. Bubble bath anyone?
                                                                                                                                                  Until last summer I thought I was alone in the attempt to one stop the bubbles and clean out the dishwasher and two knowing someone that ditzy. Nope. Out shopping with a friend when her boyfriend and roommates husband call her frantically. The apartment kitchen is full of bubbles. This time though they were out of dishwasher detergent and had substituted liquid dish soap. ROFL... Until I go with her to see the damage. They didn't turn the machine off but let it run its full cycle. Whole apartment wet and bubbly, three very pissed off cats and girls. Disaster of epic proportions.

                                                                                                                                                2. Reminds of the time when we were having our annual "obligatory" dinner together with my sister and her husband Tom (I refuse to call him brother-in-law).
                                                                                                                                                  I always cook something new when they come over because if it does not turn out, NOT MY FAULT!..... I have never made it before!
                                                                                                                                                  My son was doing homework at the table and I was attempting to stuff onions. Boy they get slippery when blanched! Anyway, one of the buggers slips out of my hand, on to the floor and don't I step on it! My son seeing this expected to hear a BOLT of swearing come from my mouth, instead, I picked up the onion, put a wee sprig of parsley on it and said "That one is for uncle Tom"! And did we laugh when Tom asked for the recipe!!!!

                                                                                                                                                  1. I was having a fancy dinner party with an elaborate buffet. I had made a gelatin mold in a ring shape, full of expensive ingredients. As I unmolded it over the sink, it broke in half and fell into the sink. Don't tell, but I was planning to pick it up, stick it back together somehow, and serve it anyway. Then, just as if it was alive, it slithered down the garbage disposal.

                                                                                                                                                    1. I was just putting the finishing touches on a beautiful pot of chicken noodle soup. I hear a small "click" from behind me, and turn around just in time to see the glass globe from the kitchen light fall to the floor and smash into a million pieces. I covered my face with my hands as this was happening, felt glass bounce up against the backs of my hands, and heard "tink tink". Yep, glass made it into the pot, and the sink, and the cat food....Spent the next two or three hours cleaning the entire kitchen top to bottom.

                                                                                                                                                      1. I made pasta..had it out to dry. Found my cat licking all of the pasta. Had to start over...and put the cat out.

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: melly

                                                                                                                                                          At least it sounds like you busted the cat fairly early on in the process. It probably took ten times of hearing an odd rattling sound in the kitchen before I finally realized that it always happened a) right after I'd taken corn muffins out of the oven and left the muffin pan to cool a little on ther stovetop and b) was caused by the senior cat deciding to hop up onto the stove because it was tasty to lick the oil/fat off the top of the muffins.

                                                                                                                                                          Our baked goods are now cooled in a slightly less cat-accessable location.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: beachmouse

                                                                                                                                                            I always had to be careful leaving butter out to soften to room temperature, especially unwrapped. Had a cat that liked to lick it. She also once licked the cream cheese frosting off some pumpkin bars I had made.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Many of these are accidents, and often funny, at least after the fact, but this one is anything but.

                                                                                                                                                          I was staying temporarily at my parents' place, and brought along, among other essentials, a nice, half-pound slab of artesanal butter that I managed to sneak across the border into Canada. Got to have good butter with my bread, one of life's biggest simple pleasures. Housed it carefully in a tupperware to protect it from the parental fridge's strong, invading odours, too.

                                                                                                                                                          My much younger sister was staying over for a few days too, and while I was out, she decided to make some cookies, and sure enough she picked my butter instead of the regular butter or the magarine. She used most of it, my precious, imported butter.

                                                                                                                                                          So, to look on the bright side, I'll at least enjoy good cookies made with really good butter, right?

                                                                                                                                                          Knowing the deed is already done by the time I got back, I offered my good vanilla essence and home-made orange peel needed for the recipe. Sadly, it turns out my father had asked my sister to HALF the amount of butter in the recipe, because he's watching his weight and cholesterol. He "assured" her the cookies would still turn out fine, and unfortunately, my sister was not experienced enough to realise the problem, and I didn't know about the special order until the cookies came out of the oven. With the same amount of sugar, flour etc. but only half the fat, the "butter" cookies were of course super-sweet and tough!

                                                                                                                                                          So. To look on the bright side, at least we have cute-looking cookies that are very tough and sweet, but at least if I nibble it a little at a time or have it alongside my coffee, I should still be able savour the nice, buttery flavour, right? After all, my sister did spend some effort making pretty flower shapes of them, and iced them at the centres with orange-flavoured icing.

                                                                                                                                                          Wrong again. The moment I saw my sister out of the door after the weekend, I heard some plop, plop, plop sounds from the kitchen -- my parents just finished dumping those darn cookies into the compost bin, saying they're inedible!! So matter-of-factly, no apologies. Had it been a cleaner compost bin, I would have rescued those poor cookies.

                                                                                                                                                          So, several months later, it's still on my mind, and I'd just like to share and vent (Grrrr...!)

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for reading!

                                                                                                                                                          1. I had planned a Thanksgiving Dinner at my (new) boyfriend's house. He had lived in that house with his ex-wife and it never occurred to me that his ovens did not work at all. The turkey never cooked. I had invited my entire family over for this event. Disaster. That was years ago. And, no, the relationship didn't last too much longer.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bite Me

                                                                                                                                                              In college, so very careful with the pennies as they did not go very far at all. BF at the time, passed a major exam and brought some ribeyes over to my dorm room to celebrate. Limited to only an even at the time, we set it to broil and walked down the hall.

                                                                                                                                                              Short time later we went back into the community kitchen to check on the steaks and saw that they were on fire!

                                                                                                                                                              In my panic, I pulled the fire extinguisher and put the fire out. We looked at the steaks that didn't seem to be so bad with the exception of the powdery residue from the CO2 (completly covering the steaks).

                                                                                                                                                              We decided that they probably were ok, so scraped the powder off and proceeded to eat the steaks and then commenced to burping all night!

                                                                                                                                                            2. I was 9 or ten. My mom had bought a frozen pie crust, but I was making the lemon filling and meringue from scratch for the first time. I zested and juiced the lemons. I patiently waited for the cornstarch to turn the filling into gel, and I was very careful not to let it burn. The filling was very pretty when the pie came out. I then made the meringue, using two extra egg whites. I made the most beautiful peaks I had ever made. I opened the oven door, and started to move the pie to the oven for its final bake.

                                                                                                                                                              And the cheap, tin pie plate folded under the weight, and the pie slipped from my hand and landed face down on the linoleum. I kind of screamed when it happened. My grandfather was a couple of feet away from me doing dishes, and after he failed to catch it, I ran to my room crying. Even though my grandfather gave me a glass pie plate the next day, I have never baked a lemon meringue pie again.

                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: miss_bennet

                                                                                                                                                                That is so sad. Bake one now, please!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: miss_bennet

                                                                                                                                                                  Up this same thread I recounted a similar experience with a sour cream apple pie, beautifully constructed, with a homemade lattice-work topping, in a store-bought aluminum tin pie pan. Man, did I learn my lesson young with pies! I never thought it sad though, just chalked it up to experience (i.e. fallen pie makes a good cobbler ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                2. In chronological order, here are a few that come to mind:
                                                                                                                                                                  1. This didn't happen to me, but it fits here. Thanksgiving, my neighbor had a turkey waiting to go in the oven. She remembered she still needed something at the store. The store was not even a block away. She comes back, there is Skipper, the German Shepherd having an early Thanksgiving dinner.
                                                                                                                                                                  2. In my new kitchen with my new Henkels knives and Calphalon stock pot. French onion soup is on its way. The onions were in the pot and I decided to add another. My phone rang and in a moment's distraction, I sliced away part of my fingertip. Couldn't finish the soup, but my house smelled of those onions for a long time as a reminder of the soup that never was.
                                                                                                                                                                  3. Mixing cake batter for boyfriend's birthday cake, got my fingers caught in the moving beaters. OUCH! (This happened again, years later. Stripped the threads of the mixer.)
                                                                                                                                                                  4. Father's Day making special dinner for Daddy with my brother. Forgot that brother had just taken the pan out of the oven, grabbed handle. Pulled back a paper-white thumb. According to the Grossman Burn Center, 3rd degree burn.
                                                                                                                                                                  5. Thought I should boil some eggs for lunch the next day. Went in the other room to watch TV. Forgot about the eggs until the eggsplosion. Sorry, there is no other way to put it. It had been a wierd week for me and eggs. Broke eggs in all kind of ways!???
                                                                                                                                                                  6. Put a couple of caramels in the microwave to melt. Didn't notice the instructions said to add water. When I went to take them out of the microwave, they had gone way past the liquid state of matter and were vaporized. The smoke came flying out--I don't get how such a small microwave can hold so much smoke.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. I have a couple that come to mind.

                                                                                                                                                                    My boyfriend, his parents and I were on an mountaintop outing and came across some wild blueberry bushes. It took the four of us about two hours to get a coffee can full of the little suckers. Once home, I decided to make a blueberry pie. Made the crust from scratch, mixed sugar and cornstarch into the berries, put the top crust on and it went into the oven. An hour later, I go to pull the pie out, and find I had seriously underestimated the juiciness of the berries. The filling was completely liquid underneath the crust, and as I go to pull the pie out the entire pie sloshed out of the pan and onto the floor of the oven. I cried...my boyfriend said he'd scrape it out with a spatula and still eat it.

                                                                                                                                                                    And the other involves a removable bottom tart pan. Honestly, I can't remember if I had put the tart pan directly on the oven rack by itself, or on another baking sheet. But anyhow the story ends with me with my right hand under the removable bottom and the burning hot outer ring of the tart pan twirling down my right arm like a hula hoop. Had some strange looking burn marks. But I didn't drop the quiche. :)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Restaurant story: a guy was staging, given about 30 whole chickens, told to debone them and make stock. What's the worst that could happen?Unfortunately he was so nervous he threw out the meat.

                                                                                                                                                                      Romatic Dinner Story: a friend prepped a very romantic dinner at his girlfriend's house--shrimp were placed on ice in a bowl in the sink, beef left to marinate in a pan on the counter, a pound of butter and a pound of chocolate on a side table ready to make some dessert. Rose petals were strewn from the front door into the dining room. Candles were lined up, ready to light.

                                                                                                                                                                      When he went to go pick up the girl, he forgot to lock the dog door. By the time they got back, all that was left was a bowl of ice in the sink, an upturned pan licked clean of marinade, one wrapper from one stick of butter (no box, no evidence of chocolate or wrapper anywhere), and a black lab licking her chops waiting at the front door.

                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Non Cognomina

                                                                                                                                                                        That "romantic" story is the best one yet. I'm hoping the girl liked dogs, and that the couple got a good laugh out of it while ordering pizza!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                                          The dog was hers. And not only did they have a great laugh, they are now married with two kids.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. My family and I a made all the food for my wedding. I made a HUGE bowl of Macaroni salad. I picked it up to carry it to the fridge, the bowl was slippery and the whole thing dropped to the floor. What a mess. I think it was the first time my MIL heard me say the f-word (way more than one time, too) I couldn't even save any of it. So there I am the night before my wedding, re-making the damn salad. Like I didn't have enough stress. lol

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Not really a tragedy... but back in university days my flatmate and I decided to make congee. Neither of us had ever made it before, but figured "what could go wrong?". It is just rice and a lot of water, after all. So taking our biggest pot, we fill it up with water and THREE cups of rice. Soon enough it becomes apparent that our rice to water ratio is sadly mistaken, and every burner on the stove is occupied with 3 pots and a wok full of bubbling congee. We had no exhaust so the smoke detector kept going off. It was a very hectic afternoon. Flatmate's brother came by, and happily was in the process of moving house, so we sent him away with a large potful of congee too.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. When i was a kid, i wanted to make some homemade brownies. My mom kept things like flour, sugar, and cornmeal in unmarked containers. I used cornmeal instead of flour. Cornbread brownies are not very good.

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: iluvtennis

                                                                                                                                                                              When I was junior high age, my best friend and I loved getting together and cooking. At her house, the family always put the Bisquick in a big plastic tub to keep bugs out(marked with a strip of masking tape with BISQUIK written on it . I decided to make a maple nut Bisquick bundt cake, whipped it up, took it out of the oven when the timer dinged....

                                                                                                                                                                              And it hadn't risen one iota. So hard and rubbery, it could have been used as a hemorrhoid ring. Turns out, they stopped getting Bisquick and now just kept plain flour in there. We couldn't even feed the leftovers to the ducks at the lake because it would sink them!

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Jus before Kid 1 was born, I did a lot of cook and freeze. Among other things, I made a quadruple recipe of Moosewood's Cuban Beans. The recipe calls for cooking red beans with a number of spices. Nowadays, with more money and less time I cheat and add the spices to canned beans, but back then the prep work included soaking the beans overnight. There's a fair bit of chopping up and sauteeing of vegetables for this version, which took up a few saute pans on the cooktop. Especially not easy when the cook is 8 months pregnant! Finally, the beans were done, the sauce mixed up with the vegetables, everything ladled into several tupperware containers.

                                                                                                                                                                              Which is when I turned and knocked the entire kit and kaboodle onto the kitchen floor.

                                                                                                                                                                              There were no broken shards of ceramic bowl, and the floor was relatively clean, and we were going to be the only ones to eat the beans, so yes, we scooped up what we could back into the tupperware. But first, because the spilled beans looked like someone had been violently ill, we took a photo of my husband leaning over the mess with an open mouth. Still makes me laugh.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. I believe that my biggest tragedy was with “smoked brisket.” I’d just gotten my big shiny gas grill. I’d taken it for a shakedown and each dish had come out fine. I’d mapped the hot spots, and the cold spots. I had calculated the difference in cooking time for burgers and filet. I’d used the rotisserie for a pork loin with the basting pan, indirect heat and my smoking chips. Things were looking good.

                                                                                                                                                                                I gathered all of our grilling cookbooks and went looking for a recipe for a “smoked brisket.” I found a few dozen and began contemplating them. I interpolated the differences between the author’s apparatus and mine. I transcribed one, and added a few elements of the others. I shaved a bunch of hickory chips from our fireplace cord, added some alderwood chips from the grilling store, and then some dried applewood, that I had around from pruning our apple tree. These, I soaked overnight to get them ready.

                                                                                                                                                                                We shopped for the perfect brisket, and I began the process of rubs and preparation for the basting. I placed the brisket on the rotisserie and began the process at 2:00AM for our dinner with friends at 7:00PM. I set my alarm in 30 min. intervals, so I could baste the brisket. This went on until about 10:00AM, when a client called. I needed to get to a brief meeting on a project I was working on. OK, so how long can this take. I should not miss more than 2 bastings and I went. The meeting took a little longer, than anticipated, but I had only missed 3 bastings, so I kept it up all day.

                                                                                                                                                                                My wife did the prep on the rest of the meal, and our friends arrived. We had various appetizers and the welcome wine flowed. I kept breaking away to baste.

                                                                                                                                                                                At last, the brisket was ready. I took it off the rotisserie and entered the house, to carve this splendid brisket. My wife served up the sides and went back outside with out guests. I began carving the brisket. No go. My carving knife wouldn’t begin to cut it. Hey, no problem, maybe just a tad crisp on the outside. I dug for the electric carving knife. I put it together, plugged it in and began anew. No go. The knife just vibrated in my hand. I began to panic. My wife came in and asked how it was going. “Uh, not so well. Can you run up to the BBQ joint on Havana St?” I asked. “They’re closed tonight. What’s wrong?” she replied.

                                                                                                                                                                                Well, it appears that my indirect heat was much higher (even on the lowest setting), than was the device used by any of the authors. Also, missing those 3 bastings seemed to have contributed to a very dry, charred, un-cutable brisket.

                                                                                                                                                                                I finally used a serrated bread knife to cut through the crust. Luckily, the interior was perfect, but the crust was like granite! My wife served more wine and kept our friends out of the kitchen, while I used a rock-climbing axe (well, almost) to chip away the crust to get to the good meat inside. Finally, I had the crust removed, and served up the interior portions. I had just enough to get a decent portion onto each plate. We dined.

                                                                                                                                                                                Unfortunately, the couple’s teenage son was a guest. He asked for seconds on the brisket. “Uh, sorry, that’s all there is. Care for some more broccoli?” His father commented, “when you took that brisket off the grill, it certainly looked larger than that.” “Yeah, I’ve got to get better lighting on the deck, because I thought the same thing,” was my reply. I poured even more wine. Finally, in a moment of weakness (induced no doubt by Zinfandel), and because they were great friends, I admitted the problem. Meanwhile, their son was buried in my refrigerator eating whatever.

                                                                                                                                                                                It took me a full year, before I would try another brisket. With many changes, the second was fine, though not as good as the interior meat from the incinerated first try. Still, I could at least carve it without a chainsaw.

                                                                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                  bill, this one is very funny: "Yeah, I’ve got to get better lighting on the deck, because I thought the same thing,”

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Last night: My morrocan feast for a couple people. I was making a yoghurt mint sauce and since it was for more than just me decided to throw it in the blender so I didn't have to chop all that mint and gr. onion, toss it all in with some lemon, blitz it up, it's gorgeous, bright green, yummy sauce. Lift the blender off to pour it in to a bowl. The bottom part with the blades wasn't attached to the glass jar. bright green sauce all over the counter, sad sad sad.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Luchily after I had cleaned it all up I had enough mint to make a new batch.

                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: starlady

                                                                                                                                                                                    I observed similar. My cousin was staying with us, between university and a job with an apartment. She had a habit of twisting the bowl on the blender off of the base. A full load of strawberry smoothie did the same. At least it was not bright green. This finally taught her what I had been telling her for months - "lift. Do not twist!"

                                                                                                                                                                                    Been there...

                                                                                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: starlady

                                                                                                                                                                                      That happened to me, too. I had roasted root vegetables, made home made chicken stock and put it together in the blender. When I lifted it up, it went all over the counter--hot soup so I burned myself, too. Hours of work down the drain.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: starlady

                                                                                                                                                                                        Another blender story, this time from my wife, Vickie.

                                                                                                                                                                                        In the summer, after she's worked the night before (she's a nurse), Vickie likes a smoothie for breakfast. Yogurt, OJ, frozen fruit all whizzed together. I like them too; although I'm the cook in the family, she's Queen of Smoothies.

                                                                                                                                                                                        On the summer morning in question, she had just done the preliminary blending of her Raspberry Smoothie and was ready to stir to ensure even blending when the phone rang. She took the call, which was several minutes. She returned to her smoothie and turned on the blender.

                                                                                                                                                                                        However, she had not removed the spoon from the blender jar. It clattered around and before she could hit the off switch it broke the blender jar and pink viscous liquid splattered everywhere. It looked like the St. Valentine's Day Massacre done by Klingons.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                                                                                          Ouch!

                                                                                                                                                                                          My cousin lived with us, while she sorted out getting an apartment. Not sure if she'd ever used a disposal, but whenever she'd let a fork, or spoon go down into the disposal, she'd just hit at it with a wooden spoon. We lost a quarter of our flatware, and all of our wooden spoons. Not a food-prep disaster, but similar to the spoon in the blender.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. We had just finished our complete kitchen remodel around Halloween a few years ago and decided to have a some families over for dinner to celebrate prior to taking the little ones around the neighborhood for trick or treating.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I have a great recipe (I think from the Moosewood) for pumpkin soup where you hollow out the pumpkin, put the ingredients inside and then bake the whole thing in the oven. You then scrape chunks of pumpkin while spooning the soup into individual bowls. Yummy.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I painstakingly took the complete measurements of the my brand new oven cavity, shopped the farmers market for all the best organic ingredients and found the perfect pumpkin to fit the size of the oven and the mouths we had to feed.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The kids were excited and anxiously awaiting their opportunity to go grub the neighbors for candy. Everyone began to sit down for soup and homemade cornbread. My husband leans over to remove the pumpkin from the oven and for some strange reason, chose to leave the vessel that was supporting it in the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yup.............you got it............as he lifted the pumpkin by holding the sides, the softened bottom completely fell out spilling all the contents............ hot steamy liquid, finely chopped vegetables of every kind, cheese and pumpkin bits............ into every nook and cranny of the oven, the floor and all the surrounding cabinets! There was such an impact in the collapse, that we even found splashes of soup on the freshly painted ceiling. I spent the next 3 days detailing every crevice of our new kitchen with a toothpick and toothbrush.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Needless to say..........the kids figured out that chocolate and candy could fill you up for a meal if you really had to. You just don't feel so great in the morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                        That was one way to "christen" a new kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. When I was younger, I thought I'd save a lot of prep time for fried potatoes by freezing them. I chopped a whole bag of potatoes and ziplocked them away in the freezer. Great idea? No, it wasn't. I was left with a hard block of brownish-grey, inedible vegetable matter. Lesson learned the hard way!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. When my mother was young and dating, she decided to treat a boyfriend by baking him a cinnamon cake. She took out the cookbook and carefully followed the instructions. The cake turned out beautifully. The boyfriend was proudly served a slice... which he promptly spat out after which he ran to the kitchen tap to drink lots of water.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Turns out my mother had grabbed the cayenne powder and not the cinnamon. My grandmother never labeled anything...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TheSnowpea

                                                                                                                                                                                              Along those lines, we were up in a ski area for a race. We'd arrived very early, and I'd been busy doing a final waxing on our skis for the big race. Just before the lifts opened, we finally got to hit the cafeteria. Lines were long, but I got my pancakes and bacon and found a seat. I had looked all around for some syrup, but found none. Hey, right there on the table was a little stainless pot. I looked inside. It looked like syrup - nice and brown. OK, that's the syrup, I thought. No, it was soy sauce! Who would put soy sauce into a little pot on a breakfast table? Ate the danged pancakes with soy sauce and just made do. Turns out that I had missed on my wax and it was a horrible day for half of our team too. At least they didn't have to eat pancakes with soy sauce!

                                                                                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Just last night, I swept a jar of olives to it’s death from the cupboard to the floor. Then as I was cleaning it up, I spilled a whole box of dog biscuits into the mix. Just this morning, I nearly spilled a bag of potato chips on to the floor.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I am all butterfingers lately, so I’m eating out tonight!

                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                                                                                                Please look both ways before you cross any streets!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Stephanie Wong

                                                                                                                                                                                                  HA! I made it back in one piece, although because of a last minute meeting, I only had time for junky fast food. ;-(

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tonight, onward and upward!

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. How many times have I said "Oh I will just put a little crisp on the top of this.... under the broiler you go!" And then I get to setting the table... and ... what's that smell?

                                                                                                                                                                                                My dog knocked over the turkey fryer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                My husband set down a giant bag of Costco flour and it busted sending flour EVERYWHERE.

                                                                                                                                                                                                And so many many more. These are just immediately available in my memory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I will not even get into the restaurant kitchen tragedies to which I have bore witness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                  sal, i sure hope that turkey fryer was far out in the back yard!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                    How's the dog?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've run out of fingers and toes to count how many times the "broiler situation" has happened. Now, I force myself to set the timer, *even* if it's just for a minute and *even* if I'm standing in the kitchen and am *sure* (ha!) that I will remember.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pinkprimp

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm so bad that even when I set the timer (thinking this is silly, I'll remember) and even if it's only for one minute, one minute later when it goes off, half the time I think "what's that timer for?" Yes early onset dementia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                                                                          depending on what you are making (garlic bread) instead of putting the oven rack up high put it in the middle of the oven. it gives you a little bit more leeway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I will admit I don't understand how something can go from barely defrosted to charcoal in less time than it takes me to dash from one end of my small kitchen to the other.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. My first boyfriend's mother was in college, and her roommate and her decided to make Thanksgiving dinner together. Everything turned out fine until they checked the turkey in the oven. Although beautifully browned, it had blown up to almost twice its original size. Apparently the roommate, who was studying to be a doctor, had used a surgical suture stitch when closing the bird, and NO moisure, steam, or ANYTHING could escape! So they stood back and poked it with a metal skewer and the bird EXPLODED. They did still have turkey that night, and now the oven door, which one could only be opened by placing one foot against the wall and PULLING with both hands, now could be opened and closed using one finger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Michelly

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for the morning laugh! I wonder if sealing in the juices like that make for a juicier bird?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. My mom lives in a peach-growing area, and during the summer when I visit, I bring back a few bushels of straight-from-the-tree peaches for myself and friends. Well, one year when I got home, most of my pals were out of town and couldn't come get peaches, so I was having to use them up every way I could think of. I remembered the old basic dump cake recipe and the grocery store was having a sale on cake mix for $1/box, and so I grabbed up an armload to make dump cakes for freezer stashing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Well, I thought I was getting spice cake mixes, but not all of them were. A couple of boxes were red velvet cake. Red velvet and peaches.....tasted pretty but looked like roadkill. I only served it on movie nights with lots of ice cream in a dark room so no one could actually see it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I think this now may be a qualifier for this topic! Unless someone can answer the question if I can eat it or not - -Last night I used my yogurt maker for the 2nd time. I have a yogurt maker that has 7 little jars you pour the milk into. The instructions say to put the lids on AFTER the process. I made a mistake a put them on BEFORE after I poured the yogurt into the jars to incubate. Did I make a deadly concoction I should just toss, or is it safe to eat? It's been in the machine with the jars tops on for 12 hours. It looks ok, but am I taking a chance? Thanks

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: michele cindy

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Absolutely perfectly OK. I make my yogurt in tubs covered during the whole process.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Not mine, but my friend this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            She prides herself on elaborate cakes for her son's birthday, not just the decorations, but the shapes. Over the years, she's done some amazing ones: she did a snake one year from some Disney movie, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            This year, she did one that was a portrait of their English bulldog. She worked hard to get the icing colors right, the shape, the expression, etc. Then she left it on the counter and ... no, it wasn't the bulldog. She turned the undercounter washer on, and when it got to the spin cycle, the shaking caused her cake to slump apart. According to her, she had a total meltdown and threw the whole mess in the sink. Eventually, she calmed down and made cupcakes for the party.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                              >>...the shaking caused her cake to slump apart.<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I kind of feel for those people that live in California... How about some 5.2 cake? Perhaps- a mixed drink would be in order!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RShea78

                                                                                                                                                                                                                As James Bond would say: "Shaken, not stirred."

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. When I was a kid, microwaves were invented. I was hunting around the house for something to eat and finally tried to make a "grilled cheese sandwich" in said microwave. That didn't go particularly well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. This is a great thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've had similar misfortune to many of the stories given already. Here are a few:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. One afternoon when I was young, we fancied chocolate chip cookies, and we always made a double batch to share with neighbours. So we decided to leave two sticks of butter out on the counter to soften while we finished cleaning upstairs. An hour or so later, we returned to find nothing there. No butter, no wrapper, nothing. Then we noticed our Gordon Setter, Ollie, licking her lips. She climbed onto a 3 ft high counter, reached back a further 2 ft to the edge of the counter, unwrapped them (we found the pristine wrappers, with very few teeth marks, in her bed later), and licked the wrappers clean. She was sick for weeks, and her digestive tract really was never the same again. Neither were we - we sure as hell NEVER left anything on counters unless it was under lock and key!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. With our current stove, the knobs to turn it on are on the back of the stove, but are so low that even our tea pot completely blocks the small writing meant to inform you of which you're turning on. Needless to say, we've made some mistakes. We have broken two plates, ruined a sheet pan and a round cake pan, burned two potholders to the point that they are no longer usable (we actually managed to get both sides of a single potholder in two separate instances), broken a glass pie plate, and nearly burned down the house with several paper towels left near the burner. The potholder incidents (all three) were particularly nasty - have you ever smelled them when they're burning? It's not just burning fabric...it has silicone or some other toxic chemical in it. I was very nearly sick...and I feel sick now just remembering that acrid smell...shudder...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. I have dropped two full boxes of Orzo pasta, two full boxes of couscous, several ramekins of salt (totally full, of course), and a beautiful plate of roast dinner, complete with gravy and all the trimmings. That one took me three hours to prepare...thank God my husband cleaned it up and got me some of the leftovers waiting in the kitchen. I really should be used to dropping things by now (I have a degenerative nerve disease that has weakened my hands to the point that they can't grip effectively), but it never stops being heartbreaking. However, the number of times I anticipate it and am able to catch it dramatically at the last minute ALMOST makes it ok.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Almost. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: guster4lovers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was having some people over for dinner and left the butter out to come to room temperature, and my dog got it as well. And then she threw it up right in the middle of the kitchen right in the middle of my dinner party.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Made pizza dough and tossed one ball into a stainless bowl. The other went into a tupperware bowl and each was covered with a grocery bag and stashed in the oven with the light on to proof. On checking the dough I turned off the light since it was getting pretty hot in there. Wifey calls and says, I'll be home in a few. I run by the oven and crank it to 550 to get it smoking hot. Forgot the dough was in there proofing. Smoking it was. It wasn't pretty

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Well, the first time I used an immersion blender, I put it in already turned on. Minestrone city, baby. All over my kitchen. And my mother the uncook exploded a pressure cooker. But the one that took the total cake was doing a private gig dinner party, and turning the oven on when I first got into the house. I should've checked. i didn't know it was possible for that much alcohol (spirits and wine) to be stored in one little oven. When the explosions started, I knew it was going to bad. And it was. Thank goodness for chemical fire extinguishers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      a friend was visiting and cleaned up the kitchen. apparently he had no idea that an oven was not the best place to put away things he couldn't figure out where else to put, having never used his own oven. I still don't know why he felt that it was wrong to keep the toaster and the blender on the kitchen counter, and he did offer to replace them, but it gave me such a good laugh i decided it was worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I'll add one more that wasn't a real tragedy but a mistake I made once and hopefully never again. This was before I was making stock in a pressure cooker. I had a big pot of stock that had been simmering on the store for HOURS. Went to strain it out and forgot to put a pot under the strainer which was in the sink. Half the stock was down the drain before I could react.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. A few weeks ago I found beautiful roma tomatoes at the grocery store for just 39 cents / lb. Brought home 3 lbs, cut them in half and spent a whle day babysitting an oven that I turned on and off at 180 degres to make the most gorgeous oven roasted dried tomatoes. I decided that before the week was over I had to make another batch that I would freeze so I could have some of this deliciousness later in the year when tomatoes are just not worth buying. I came home with 10 lbs this time and half were cut up,drizzled with olive oil and seasalt and placed in the oven at 180 degrees. The way I make these is to keep alternating the oven on at 180 for 15 minutes, then turning it off and letting the residual heat continue to dry out the tomatoes with the door propped open. It can take up to 24 hours this way but the results are worth it so I trudged on. Late in the day before heading to bed I went into the kitchen to check on the tomatoes one last time and turn the oven on one last time before letting them continue drying out overnight. Opened the oven and instead of the fragrant red bits of tomato I expected to find were charred black lumps of coal neatly lined up on my cookie sheet. Thats when I noticed the oven was HOT. It took me a whle to realize what had happened. A couple of hours earlier when I was loading the dishwasher I got impatient with the tomatoes and instead of turning the oven to 180, cranked it up to 300, thinking if I let it heat up more the residual heat would last longer through the night and finish drying the tomatoes up overnight. Once I was done loading the dishwasher, I glanced over at the oven, saw that I'd turned it off and headed down the hallway to the bedroom. Unfortunatly, the knob for the oven controls are such that when it is set at 300 degrees F, it is turned exactly 180 degrees from where it sits when turned off. So when I glanced at the oven and thought it was off, I didn't notice the little red dot on the knob was pointing to 300, I just saw that the knob was 'vertical' and assumed it was off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It hurt me to throw those bits of charcoal away. The remaining tomatoes were designated for something else so now I'm left with half a ziplock baggie of tomatoes from the first batch in my freezer. I've been hoarding them, only using one at a time to make them last as long as possible. And I'm still a bit bitter about that disaster. The week following that temperatures hit 100 here which means that the oven is off limits until it cools down again. So my hopes of another batch if I manage to find tomatoes cheaply again are pretty much over.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JasFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Dear family friend had us over during the christmas holidays and knowing we always had plum pudding for christmas bought a beautiful one from Macy's and then went to make the hard sauce, and somehow managed to substitute corn startch for the confectioner's sugar... to this day we still laugh about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Ten minutes ago, I dropped a brand new, unopened 1.5 l. bottle of Mondavi wine on the tile kitchen floor. How many more years in Hell is it for me?????

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I believe that would be 7 minus indulgences. Surely YOU'LL be more careful next time, sir. :), and I'll see you there. With the rest of our buddies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yep. I'm certainly there. I recently had a bottle of Jameson's slip out of the bag and crash on my front steps. The Irish guilt surely made that 7 x 70 :( (And the smell of good Irish whiskey does not disappear with a hosing down.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We thought 7 at firsttoo, but then thought who really cares about a mirror? Ten minimum. Ms. Keg got another bottle while I was at open house, being Mr. Nice. Salud!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the same as for me after a 1.75 bottle of scotch to the wood kitchen floor,Sunday past

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                still saying blessings to the "bowling alley" finish

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not kitchen, but my dog jumped out of the back seat of the car after a trip down to the store for a 1.5 L some years ago. When she jumped, she hooked the plastic bag in which the bottle of wine (in another paper bag) was nestled. It flew out behind her but she hit the grass, it hit the front walk. Luckily it was not expensive but a WTF moment for sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. My sister was going to make a big, long sub for a Superbowl party. She had actually found some halfway decent tomatoes to put on it. They were on a tray on the counter. The morning of the party, she woke up to find half of them on the floor, half still on the counter, and all of them were mangled and chewed beyond saving. Apparently the cat thought they were pretty good too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Ex had been buying expensive free range/organic whole chickens for 6+ months and saving the carcasses in the freezer to make a huge amount of stock to freeze. Finally had enough carcasses...commence 1 day+ stock making operation, vegetable prep, procuring of huge stockpot etc. Had it simmering. almost done, while his cleaner was cleaning. She thought it was waste and poured it down the sink. The boyfriend actually cried a little.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My Dad also dropped a very expensive bottle of single malt I had bought him for his birthday. Onto a concrete floor. It hadnt even been opened. SOB.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. When my now-husband and I were dating, we decided to make a carrot cake from scratch, from a Cook's Illustrated tome he'd received for Christmas. We shredded the carrots, sifted the flour, put everything together, etc. Just before it went into the oven, I licked some batter off the spatula and remarked that it tasted disgusting. His response was a very condescending, "It's raw cake batter! Of course it tastes bad!" I dismissed my hesitation and into the oven it went.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When it came out and was cooling, I had another nagging feeling since the batter had tasted so incredibly awful. What I didn't want to say at the time, since we'd only been dating a couple of months and thought it might put him off, was that it tasted like blood. I looked at all of the ingredients we'd put in. Sure enough, the 2 cups of sugar or so that had gone into the cake were SALT. His ex-GF had put all of her baking bulk items into unlabelled jars and that was what we had put into the cake. We had a good laugh and he earned the nickname "Saltycakes" as a result.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A more unfortunate thing that happened was when I was living in Santiago, Chile. While in my nightie, on my day off, I decided to make a cabbage and mushroom stir fry. Slicing off the root of the cabbage, I swung the extremely sharp cleaver directly into my right forefinger (I'm a leftie). I held it up and thought, "Oh, good, no blood - just white!" The white, of course, was my bone, and the blood began to gush all over the floor. I wrapped a bath towel around my hand and threw on my pants with one hand, frantic to get to the office since my husband (BF then - yep, same guy!) was there and we had no phone in our apartment. On the way I nearly passed out from blood loss, and happened to pass the friendly/creepy buskers who frequently shouted "hermooooosa! rubiaaaaa!" my way. On this day, however, I was having none of it and screamed something at them about, um, their mothers and a wild dog.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Finally made it to the office, the finger now nearly completely opened up from fingertip to palm. My boss took me to the hospital (private, having learned my lesson about Chile's public hospitals after a nasty fall from a horse a few months earlier) and my husband went back to the apartment, on my instructions, to ensure I'd turned off the burner in my rush. (I had!) Ten or eleven stitches later, my finger was healed. My editor at the time remarked that she was impressed that I'd had the wherewithal to grab my ID, keys, and cigarettes on my way out the door. I'm surprised I made the ten-minute dash to the office in the first place!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The funniest thing about it is that when my husband met me at the hospital, he had brought my purse for me... in a plastic grocery bag, so as not to carry my dainty suede purse through ultra-macho Santiago Centro. :) I still have a nasty scar, five years later, and regained the feeling about a year ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Latest disaster a couple of months ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I can best sum this up with a special cooking tip: When you are making a sauce, and accidentally drop your immersion blender, don't instinctively reach down to stop its fall with your left hand. Unllike with a chainsaw, that blade doesn't stop turning right away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ouch!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ouch indeed. i sure hope that it is not a serious injury.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            it is hard to stop the grabbing instinct. i have to work on letting dropped items just fall as i jump back. i'm not a big "dropper," though, thank goodness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ring finger on left hand had a chunk taken out of the pad, but it's OK now. Index fingertip is a small fraction of an inch shorter, and I'm still regaining feeling. Doesn't help that I impaled it again on a shard of turkey vertebra when pulling meat off the neck on Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I used to have 30-40 people for Thanksgiving, inlaws, outlaws, etc. One year, when my Mom was still alive, she didn't think the appetizers were coming out fast enough and, just as she started yelling at me, the oven caught on fire because the spinach cheese squares cooked over. I told her that more food would be out as soon as I put the fire out. She replied "that's not even f ing funny." I put the fire out and served more appetizers. Then, when the turkey was done, I asked my friend to get it out of the oven. He did and dropped it on the floor. He asked what to do and I told him to pick it up before anyone saw it. Everyone loved the turkey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Floridagirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LOL -- happy thanksgiving!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I just had one. I remembered reading this a few days ago and about tem minutes ago I had one and decided to post here. Tonight I prepared a lovely brisket(to be served tomorrow night) in a browning bag like I usually do. It finished cooking and I took it out of the oven to cool a bit before I poured the juices into a separate container to be refrigerated overnight. I put the container in the sink to minimize any mess and I cut the top of the bag off and was going to pour the juices(gravy) into a container to refrigerate. Well something slipped and all the gravy ended up going down the drain. I just stood there and stared at it for a minute. Usually I would take the fat off the brisket before refrigerating it. But tonight I couldn't deal with it and put it in the fridge until tomorrow. I feel so sad. :-( I'm sure I'll get over it! But such a waste!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rheta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ah...the old "stock down the drain" trick. you are not alone. and yes, one does just stand there in disbelief and grief and self-reproach. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "one does just stand there in disbelief and grief and self-reproach."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh yeah!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeh! So sad to see all those lovely red wine infused, oniony juices go down the drain:-( I'm making faux gravy right now:-o

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rheta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Did it once and caught myself at the half way point as I was straining stock into a colander in the sink. Hope to never do it again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          'zactly!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Where to start?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Teenage catering job for several hundred. I helped prep food and was supposed to drive the truck and with a couple of assistants deliver and serve. The food teriyaki chicken, rice, salad, strawberries were all in large steam table pans in tall rolling racks. The manager said to just roll them in the truck and go. I did ask "that's all?" because I wondered about them moving around. Apparently he forgot to disclose the bungee cord step. So off I drove with two younger women in back of truck up the steep hills where the kitchen was. Almost immediately there was crashing znd screaming from the back as they struggled to keep the racks from completely tipping over. Luckily the drippy chicken was on the bottom and everything was salvaged. We were able to reach the manager by phone (decades before cell phones) and he told us where to get the bungee cords. He apologized as he thought we had delivered previously.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Another time I catered a conference for 1,000 and there were several meals over two days. The first day was a middle eastern/Mediterranean buffet with spanakopita, humus, baba ganoush, salad, pitas and falafel. I had spent hours making and frying the falafels and when I arrived on site I wanted to warm them as they had been in the frig. Found the kitchen in another building, turned the oven on warm, put in the several full size sheet pans and left for 20 minutes to completes the set up with my helpers. I was utterly exhausted having worked almost 40 hours straight - just sitting down for 1/2 hour and not even sleeping. Returned for the felafel only to find them briquets. Wanting to be helpful the custodian who unlocked the building for me had turned the pizza ovens to broil because he wanted to be sure " my stuff got done." he was nice enough and I was so beyond exhausted I couldn't even rouse any anger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Another time I was making manicotti for 1,000 and the cook supervising me told me to multiply the recipe on the back of the box by100 or something - I don't remember exactly. I did all the math very carefully and wanted to double check with her because 2.5 cups of nutmegs seemed like a lot. She was busy in a meeting and waved me away - "just do the math" she said. So I mixed it up and, of course, it was inedible because you just can't multiply spices when making huge quantities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There was another time that I was making tostada salads (it was the 80's) and I had oil from a day or two before in my wok that I had covered so I could reuse it a couple of times. For some reason I was in a hurry - everything else was ready. I put the first tortilla inthe frying basket and dropping it into the bubbling oil. It was browning nicely and I was relaxing into knowing that dinner was going to be good. Just as I was pulling it out I noticed a few dark specks. I didn't think I had burned anything last time. I looked more closely - flies. There was one moment when I considered picking them off. Just a moment. Carefully dumped that hot oil into another pot washed and dried the wok and started over.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              With my wife at the time prepared a fancy multi- course Japanese dinner for friends. We even moved the furniture out of the living roomso we could sit inthe floor and low tables we constructed. The meal was a great success. The friends offered to help move the furniture back and a small woman on the other end of the loveseat from my over zealous wife was run over by the loveseat and had her toe nail peeled off in the process.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. One more. A Cuban friend loved making the dessert Leche Condensada. Basically carmelized condensed milk. The old school and dangerous way to make it is to placed the unopened can in a pot of water and simmer for a long time. Of course she forgot about it and the can exploded carmelized condensed milk all over her kitchen. Shd pointed out the speckles on the ceiling with almost a maniacal pride. Luckily no one was in the kit hen when it blew - carmelized sugar sticks to skin and the burns aren't pretty (former baker). I don't know how hard she tried to clean the walls but I imagine you'd almost have to sand it off after it has cooled. The bizarre thing was about a year after she moved I became lovers with someone who happened to live in the same apartment and had always wondered what had happened there. At least I was able to tell her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I was taking some culinary arts classes at a community college and we made ravioli. It was really involved, making the pasta one night and then roling it out and stuffing them the next night. I took the completed ravioli home, prepared a kick-ass sauce and put the water on to boil while setting the table for nice dinner with my husband. While fussing over the table I heard a crash in the kitchen, I ran in and found my beloved Rottweiler polishing off my prescious raviolis. She got every last one. (I once tried to pry a turkey carcass out of her jaw and have the scars to prove it - I didn't dare get between her and cheese stuffed pasta pillows!) Husband and I had boxed spaghetti that night and I never attempted homemade pasta again!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Years ago, my parents were away on holidays and it was just myself and my brother who is nine years older than me. Being the "woman" in the house, I figured that it was my job to make sure he was fed. I told him that I would make a nice potato salad for us. I overcooked the potatoes and couldn't salvage them. I ended up saying ..... remember that potato salad that we were going to have? Well, there's been a change of plans, we're having potato soup instead. He just shook his head at me like I was nuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Another memorable moment was when I was making banana muffins and forgot the baking powder. We had banana "pancakes" instead!