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Jul 15, 2008 01:28 PM

food prep tragedies

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.


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 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


                    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

                                            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

                                            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.