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Messiest Food to Cook

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So after spending the whole weekend making a ton of Duck Confit and Veal Stock, then spending several hours cleaning the mess I made, I was wondering what other messy masterpieces are out there. I usually only do this once (maybe twice, max) a year, and now I remember why.

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  1. The messiest things I make are breads. I always have the measuring cups, mixing bowls, pans it bakes in, rolling pin, towels to cover while it rises,the table, but then I alway have to sweep and mop the floor. It doesn't matter how careful I am.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotcookinmomma

      Two words ... digital scale, still have the floor and counter, but it eliminates many dishes, and that, IMO is the worst.

    2. Anytime you cook for a lot of people. Calling out you Holidays here! :)

      1. Chicken marsala. Don't know why it's such a mess, but when I make it, I triple it and freeze for two more meals. That makes it all worthwhile.

        3 Replies
        1. re: somervilleoldtimer

          I can cook chick Marsala with 2 pans, a knife plus 3 mise-en-place bowls. You should try making manicotti or lasagna with fresh pasta if you want to see a mess.

          1. re: Kelli2006

            How do you do it?

            1. re: somervilleoldtimer

              This is my basic recipe, but I use marsala and just a bit of chicken stock instead of sherry. I remove the chicken from the pan after searing while I construct the sauce and return it to the pan just before service.

              http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Chicken-...

        2. Hands down, fried chicken. Second place is homemade sausage.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Hungry Celeste

            Deep fried anything!

            1. re: KTinNYC

              Ditto, deep fried anything. Nothing's worse than trying to pour off a few quarts of oil from the dutch oven after frying. Hence why I never do it anymore, it's just not worth the hassle.

              1. re: KTinNYC

                The inevitable splatter and explosions of deep frying pork belly always make a mess far in excess of the 3 steps in the recipe.

                1. re: JungMann

                  Two words, splatter screen.

                  1. re: KTinNYC

                    Yes - makes a huge difference.

                    1. re: KTinNYC

                      A splatter screen does help immensely, but the force of the explosions from the frying pork skin still sends oil through the vent holes. And when I take the screen off to remove the finished pieces and add new ones, there is still splatter and some spillage.

                      1. re: JungMann

                        It's not fool proof but having one, as, you say, helps immensely.

                        1. re: KTinNYC

                          I have a De Longhi fryer. It is closed and has 2 filters. No spatters, no odor, easy clean up.

              2. I say ditto on the homemade sausage--always has my place in upheaval.

                1. eggplant parmasan with meatballs.... the breading, frying, and draining are just the tip of the iceberg...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: eLizard

                    with you on eggplant parm. Absolutely love it- will eat it for breakfast if it is in the hosue! But hate making it. Meatballs don't seem as messy to me. Made a batch of meatball this weekend, and was interrupted before I began to fry them, so I popped them into the simmering sauce, and let them cook that way. Had never done that, but the results were fine!

                    1. re: macca

                      i usually just cook the meatballs right in the sauce. it's not that they're too messy, but with the whole eggplant rigamarole and making the sauce, it's just another bowl and the another cutting board, if if baking or frying, yet another pan. but i agree, i can have eggplant sandwich for breakfast any day!

                      1. re: eLizard

                        I roll the meatballs in flour and 'roast' them at 425 or 450 until nice and brown (works best with convection--if no convection, place them towards the top of the oven to enhance even browning)--takes 10 to 25 minutes depending on size. They stay in one piece, much less labour intensive, and less spatter, etc. Use a silicone baking liner to simplify clean up--i generally scrape this into the sauce, if I am using tomato sauce anyway.

                        Agree that meatballs are fine if cooked directly in the sauce (or in broth), as long as you are gentle about it. But I would miss the flavour of the browned balls in my Italian-American spaghetti and meatballs...

                  2. Chiles rellenos! If you do them right... You beat egg yolks with some flour, then beat the whites with salt until they're well fluffed up, then fold them into the yolks. Then you put the filling - I do cheese - inside the peppers, roll each one in flour, dip it into the egg batter, then into hot oil to fry. Unless you have someone helping, by the time you're on the third or fourth one there's a glob of goopy flour the size of a golf ball on each fingertip... Okay, NOW pick up that spatula to turn them over!

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: Will Owen

                      Try the wet hand, dry hand techinique for dipping and you won't glob all up...

                      1. re: hankstramm

                        Or get one of these: http://www.cabelas.com/prod-1/0021238...
                        It's a cajun batter bowl. Put your seasoned flour in the bottom part, snap on the perforated layer, then put your food to be battered on top & cover with the lid. A few shakes, and everything is evenly coated. They're great if you ever have to crank out lots & lots of battered items.

                        1. re: Hungry Celeste

                          Oh my goodness! What a hoot! I never heard of it. It would never have occurred to me. It looks like something that would be sold on late-night television when you have insomnia. I have no place to store it, and not sure it would really work for fish fillets, which is probably when I'd most often use it, but do you actually have one and use it? It makes me happy just to know that such a thing exists.

                          1. re: JoanN

                            Hell yeah it works for fish fillets, and shrimp, and crawfish, and crab claws, and oysters, and chicken tenders, and onion rings, and just about anything else that won't fall apart if shaken (see WillO's chiles rellenos below for an example of what probably won't work in it). These are sold all over my region, standard stuff at WalMart, the hardware store, other places where you buy ordinary cooking implements.

                            I've seen it used in festival settings, where the items in question are resting in a batter then floured/coated just before cooking. Works like a charm, and keeps your hands clean.

                            1. re: JoanN

                              This sounds quite amazing, but isn't "batter bowl" a misnomer? What it sounds like is a "dusting with seasoned flour bowl". I am understanding correctly? It doesn't sound like the stuff you put in the bottom part is liquid. Do you dip the chicken in batter before you put it into the bowl? I gotta go look this one up.

                              1. re: oakjoan

                                I have the same question. Can you really put batter in it or just dry stuff like flour?

                                It looks fun to use.

                                1. re: karykat

                                  No, you can't use it for wet batter....it's just used to put a dry coating on items to be fried (whether battered, soaked, or just plain).

                                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                    But it's *called* a batter bowl. And the product description you linked to starts off with "Pour your batter in the bottom . . . ." In fact, I read a review of the gadget on some site and the reviewer said s/he owned two bowls, one for batter and one for flour so s/he didn't have to wash them out between layers.

                            2. re: Hungry Celeste

                              Only real problem with using such an implement for chiles rellenos is that you have to hold the pepper carefully to keep the chunk o' cheese from falling out while simultaneously flouring and then battering it. I guess what I REALLY ought to do is flour all of them and then batter, and perhaps I could use tongs in there, too...

                          2. re: Will Owen

                            haha!! Yer right!!!

                            1. re: Will Owen

                              Will Owen, do you not roast your poblanos and peel before stuffing, battering and frying? Adds a whole new level of messiness and flavor (Chiles Rellenos are one of my favorite foods!).

                            2. no matter what I do, when I make red sauce or chili, i find splotches of it hours or even days later ... I can't imagine how it gets to some of those places

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: aklein

                                Simmer in a larger stock pot uncovered at a low heat. I use a 5-quart cast iron Dutch oven without having a splatter problem. Cast iron evenly distributes heat better than other stock pots made of other metals.

                              2. I'm a pretty messy cook in general, but the kitchen really looks like a disaster zone after a stir fry or making caramel - globs of hot sticky liquid landing on the counter, floor, my shirt, the dog...
                                Phoo-D
                                http://www.phoo-d.com

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Phoo_d

                                  Yes to the caramel! I was transfering a plate with some caramel on it and it spilled off and landed on my dogs head. I couldn't get it out for weeks. It probably doesn't help that he's basically stuck to my side the whole time I'm cooking. He seemed to enjoy the tasty treat though.

                                  1. re: krisrishere

                                    My god, you're lucky it didn't burn your poor dog. Caramel is one of the most dangerous foodstuffs we cook. There is no burn worse than a candy burn, because it sticks to the skin.

                                    One of my cats is really, really horrible about staying underfoot when I'm at the stove. She's the most adorable and affectionate pet I've ever had, but I am constantly petrified I'm going to hurt her really badly some day. I suppose we've made it through 14 years together at this point, but I still just freak out every time I turn around with a pot of boiling pasta and almost step on her tail. I make triple-sure never to feed the cats near the stove, so they don't start to expect that as a source of food. Still doesn't stop them...

                                    1. re: dmd_kc

                                      Oh I know! Luckily he has very long fur and quickly realized that he needed to beat it out of there fast. No harm done other than a few droplets stuck in his fur for a few days. Usually he keeps his distance unless he hears the sound of a vegetable peeler...which must mean I'm rather messy when peeling too!

                                2. red velvet cake, the red splatters all over and stains.

                                  1. Pretty much a matter of how much I've had to drink.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                      Astonishing how that works!!

                                    2. Any time you are flouring a board with a child...as in the doggie treats I make with my daughter. PLUS: Thanksgiving turkey/trimmings.

                                      1. Anything that requires the use of a 3 bay breading stations and a deep fat fryer.

                                        1. Deep frying #1 ... and fresh homemade cannellioni. Between the homemade pasda, sauces and the filling ... It is a disaster in the kitchen always!

                                          1. Mole poblano from Rick Bayless' Authentic Mexican. Man, what a mess, but oh so worth it!

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: bear

                                              My thought exactly. 26 ingredients, many fried, lots of pureeing, sieving, etc. One time I noticed that I had somehow ven managed to get little orange spots of chile puree on the ceiling.

                                              1. re: bear

                                                That's my #1 mess. For the last batch, we were doing it for a huge group and ran out of time to get fresh lard, and had to use the stuff from the tubs. It's refined in a strange way that produces a film the dishwasher can't clean.

                                                All our various bowls filled with 26 fried ingredients each had to be washed by hand to get the lard film off. Lets not even talk about the food processor, the stove top, spoons, measuring cups, the act of transporting gallons of mole miles away, etc.

                                              2. Juicing beets. Turns my whole kitchen pink, and everything in it too.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: Emmmily

                                                  Beets were my first thought, too...no matter how I cook them or what I do with them, my kitchen ends up looking like a crime scene!

                                                  1. re: Jeri L

                                                    You just reminded me of a HUGE mess Mrs. O gets into annually: juicing pomegranates. Spreads lots of paper on the folding table out back, puts on ratty old clothes, gets the big butcher knife and the chinois and two big enamelled steel bowls and gets to work. None of this is safe to do indoors; the juice is possibly the most indelibly staining substance we know of. Delicious, though...

                                                    1. re: Jeri L

                                                      oh shoot! this just back my memory of the last time I made pomegrante juice and juiced about 50 of them!

                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                        OK, you win. Your kitchen must have looked like an abattoir after that!

                                                        I get the seeds out of pomegranates under water. It keeps the spray down and also helps get rid of some of the pith,

                                                        1. re: zamorski

                                                          yes I know... you told me your trick AFTER I had cleaned like 50 of them!!!
                                                          red hands, towels ruined, juice everywhere.

                                                          BUT no crying from me when I made Pomegranate martinis! OMG it's really delicious stuff, I'll do it again this next harvest, only this time, I'll use your method!

                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                            pitting cherries! Juice on the ceiling, even.

                                                  2. For me, working with chocolate results in chocolate almost everywhere. I try to cover all surfaces with a layer of parchment, but chocolate still manages to get on the floor, the stove, the edges of the work table, me...

                                                    1. I once attempted to roast a goose before I really knew how to cook. The pan filled up with so much grease that I had to dump it twice! Several hours, many burns, and one greasy kitchen later, we sat down to a meal of undercooked, fatty goose.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                        What (sincerely) do you do with goose now that you do know how to cook?

                                                        1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                          You dumped goose fat? Oh my god, I'm horrified! Goose fat keeps for months in the fridge and is wonderful for frying potatoes, making confit de canard, and lots of other things. It's one of the main reasons for cooking a goose, to get all that delicious fat!

                                                        2. Soups that require pureeing. You've got all the prep for the soup itself, then you've got to pour it into the blender, in batches, pour the blended soup into a holding container to make room for the next batch, etc, then transfer it all back to the pot.
                                                          I made a duo of roasted butternut squash and parsnip soups for Thanksgiving, and all my bitching resulted in a new ladle and immersion blender for Christmas :-)

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: ajs228

                                                            A stick blender is your friend :) So much easier to make soups with one...

                                                            1. re: aravenel

                                                              Bermuda Fish Chowder!

                                                              My husband starts with boiling the fish, then removing to allow to cool, strain the stock and then in the fridge OVERNIGHT. In the mean time…Pick all the meat off the fish bones...that's fun job...NOT, chop the onions, pepper, carrots and celery, fry the bacon… then the next day sauté the veggies and place all the ingredients in at the “right” time, as he says, now add spicy V-8, Portuguese hot peppers , other “stuff” he puts in…then a another few hours to simmer to let all the flavors come together. It takes 2 days and 4 days to clean !

                                                              See why we only make it at Christmas!

                                                              1. re: aravenel

                                                                But be careful that you don't let it get to close to the surface...see my post above about cooking with beets...beets+immersion blender=magenta polka-dot kitchen!

                                                            2. Any kind of baked good that requires rolling on a floured board. Pie doughs, non-drop cookies. Impossible to really contain the flour dust with all that activity going on.

                                                              1. No Knead Bread as published in the NYTimes more than a year ago. I quit trying to bake bread using that method.

                                                                1. Definitely veal and beef stocks - grease seems to be everywhere when I'm done (including on me - as if I had rolled in the oil myself). It starts with the roasting and ends 3 days later. I make them 2 times a year - at the beginning and end of winter (so I can use the 'outside' refrigerator).

                                                                  But so worth it!

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                    Yes, here is my experience with veal stock this time. Got 50 lbs of bones so needed a big enough pot for the job. Borrowed a flintstone sized lobster pot with an insert from a friend. Roasted 8-12 (can't remember) trays of bones (at one point my oven shut down from all the steam that was released), 2 full trays of onions, and a large tray each of celery and carrots. Simmered stock for 1.5 days, (it took almost a hour to just get the temp up on the water). at which point all of the sticky stuff is forming on the sides. Moved the monster pot outside to pull the insert out, at which point I dropped it back in, splattering hot stock all over me and the porch. Strained probably 5 gallons of stock through 3 packages of cheese cloth, and the chinois. Cleaning the pot took about an hour, as it did not fit in my sink. The insert was harder, b/c of all those small holes. Oh well, its only once a year (for a good reason). I then needed to make demi, but that's a whole other story. Thank god its all done.

                                                                    1. re: chefboyardee

                                                                      That's impressive. Wish I had space to store that much stock.

                                                                  2. Oh oh. You mean to say cooking isn't always messy?

                                                                    Okay. Here's what I do when I want the kitchen to stay clean when I cook:
                                                                    #1: Nuke foods out of the freezer, preferably stuff I made.
                                                                    #2. Someone else cleans up after. Hey, I did the cooking. It's only fair!

                                                                    1. sausage and stuffing various salumi,some fish,shellfish pate' and longggggg ingredient
                                                                      list white or green gazpacho - mis en place down a mile of counter top

                                                                      1. Any food that involves a egg bath & flour coating. Messy messy to the fingers and surrounding counter top/clothers (floor?).

                                                                        1. This question immediately brought to mind my first time making puff pastry, using Julia Child's recipe. The kitchen was COVERED in flour before I was done. Came out great, though.

                                                                          1. Have you seen the Bourdain episode where he sits with an Inuit family in Northern Quebec to prepare and eat a freshly caught seal?
                                                                            Having to spread out an 8x10 sheet of plastic on the kitchen floor should have been some kind of clue that it was going to be messy.

                                                                            As Tony says in The Nasty Bits,
                                                                            "Soon, everyone's faces and hands were smeared with blood. The room was filled with smiles and good cheer in spite of the Night of the Living Dead overtones and the blood (lots of it) running across the plastic."

                                                                            You can see it here
                                                                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d8Eym...
                                                                            The kitchen festivities start around 2 minutes in.

                                                                            Thats slightly messy.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: porker

                                                                              Definitely not for the squeamish. But for pure messiness,that one far outdoes anything else mentioned in this thread.

                                                                            2. hmmmmm. such a fun question. I would have to say, the messiest food I make is a toss up between spaetzle or tamales. The goopy dough that you force through the seive or whatever you use, is a mess. And then when you make tamales, I make both red and green, and I find that I can't make red sauce without having it splattered throughout my kitchen (I wipe for days). oh come to think of it. That sauce for the chicken paprikash, it also is found everywhere and ruins my towels!

                                                                              20 Replies
                                                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                I've never done spaetzle. But I can surely agree with you about the tamales.

                                                                                1. re: Sam D.

                                                                                  ???? Spaetzle is mess free.

                                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                    Are you kidding? Don't make me link a picture.

                                                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                      Always a mess for me, too. Sam is going to have to tell us his tricks.

                                                                                    2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                      I grew up in a very German home and speatzel was served once a week in the winter and I agree with you Sam that spaetzel isn't that much of a mess, unless you use a spaetzel maker to form the noodles. I usually form the noodles by forcing the batter through a large slotted spoon with a silicone spatula.

                                                                                      The spaetzel maker is a mess to clean, but even that can be minimized by soaking it in hot water while you dine.

                                                                                      1. re: Kelli2006

                                                                                        I use an old large metal colander with the right size holes. Just hold the colander over the water, pour in the batter, and sweep back and forth with a spatula and in it all goes. Sehr einfach und keine Verwirrung.

                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                          I might have to try that next time - I have a "spaetzle maker" and make a HUGE mess every time I make spaetzle - so much so that I think my husband says he doesn't want them just because of the mess!

                                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                            My husband complains about the mess as well, but he loves them way too much to be that final. They are so tender and delicious with the sauce.... omg., I could eat a huge bowl of spaetzle with the sauce and be sooooo happy.

                                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                              Me too - Sara Moulton had a nice recipe that incorporated some herbs with the batter, though I usually use the Balthazar recipe.

                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                Oh how lovely! I usually butter then saute quickly and toss with fresh Italian parsly. I don't know the Balthazar recipe, but adding herbs to the batter does sound divine. I love love spaetzle. It'll take more than a goopey mess to chase me away.ooooo that orange/red sauce is so calling to me right now.

                                                                                          2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                            I can't imagine what it would be like to try to handle a colander with over a steaming pot of water with that goopy batter. I can barely manage the large flat spoon, but I do like the way it puts out just enough batter to make a small amount at a time, turning out wonder tender spaetzle every time.
                                                                                            Geez all this talk, I have a chicken defrosting......

                                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                              One hand for the colander, batter in a pitcher in other hand, pour, put down pitcher, pick up spatula and gently scrape. The diameter of the pot must be > than the swept diameter of the holes.

                                                                                              of course, you're thinking, "Was weiß er? Er ist nicht deutsch."

                                                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                You know I think why I'm classifying spaetzle as one of the most messy etc., is that I make the spaetzle for the chicken paprikash. That whole meal makes a rather big mess, if you cook the way I do anyway. I brown the chicken, blah blah blah... I have to make it difficult you know. I like that it generates more time for me in the kitchen and although I come across as if I'm complaining, this is probably one of my favorite dinners to make. And it always turns out so blasted good, I don't think I've ever screwed it up.

                                                                                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                  We can cook together. You make the chicken. I'll make the spaetzle.

                                                                                                  Wir können zusammen kochen. Sie bilden das Huhn. Ich bilde das spaetzle.

                                                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                    Its a date.

                                                                                            2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                              hmmmm... I make my spaetzel by putting the batter of the bottom of a cake pan, then "cutting" it off with a straight blade spatula (the kind you use for frosting cakes) directly into the broth. It's a very old traditional method taught to me... well, never mind how many years ago. Clean up is a snap! Mix the spaetzel batter in a 1 quart measuring cup, put it on the back of a cake pan, scrape/cut it into the cooking liquid, then everything goes into the dishwasher, no spattered mess, no flour all over the counter, no mixing bowl and mixer blades. Easy! So now I'm wondering if I'm the last person on planet earth to make spaetzel this way?

                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                I've read about that method, but not tried it.

                                                                                            3. re: Kelli2006

                                                                                              I can't relate in the least to spaetzle batter not being messy, I've used a wide metal spoon for years and I use that spoon because the chef/cook a German woman at her restaurant who made them told me to use a wide spoon since she couldn't help me obtain such a wonder spaetzle maker as she had.
                                                                                              (she had receieved it from her grandmother and so on..) Anyway, she said that on evenings when she wasn't cooking, she took her spaetzle maker home with her, and that her cooks used a wide metal spoon in her absence.

                                                                                              I try not to cook too many at once also. The reason its messy isn't so much that anyway, its the goopy batter and me being a clutz!

                                                                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                The making of spaetzel was always a area of contention in my family, because my grandmother used a board and a knife and my mother used a big spoon and a spatula. I learned both ways and I bought a spaetzel maker at Lectors after I got married. I usually use the spoon but I will break out the gadget when I have more then 2-3 people, It is faster but it is a pain to clean and it requires a slightly different batter consistency to make it work then the previous method.

                                                                                                I am wondering what kind of sauce that either you or Ruth serve with these noodles? I typically serve them browned in butter w/ breadcrumbs and parsley, but they work well as a side for sauertbraten or paprikash as well.

                                                                                                1. re: Kelli2006

                                                                                                  Well first I butter them, then saute with fresh chopped Italian parsley.
                                                                                                  Then I serve with the most wonder Chicken Paprikash! Using the a combo of paprika, and white wine and a few other goodies, finally add sour cream. Okay keep this talk up, I'm seriously probably making this for dinner.

                                                                                      2. I was either blocking, or my brain was on "coast" when I answered the first time. But it has now come back to me with a jarring repulsion of the reality. The absolute messiest thing I ever do in my kitchen is decorating cakes or making those peek inside Easter eggs. Depending on how complicated the design is, it can mean weeks of total chaos in my kitchen. The table filled with drying gum paste flowers and/or piped royal icing decorations. Then the mess of making butter cream in massive amounts for both icing the cake, then piping on butter cream decorations in a rainbow of colors. And then the Herculean task of rescuing all of the piping tubes from cones of left over frosting.

                                                                                        I am ever so grateful that by the time my grandson will be of marriageable age I will be fast approaching my century mark, and who wants to eat wedding cake made by a drooling senile doddering senior citizen, right? Meanwhile, this year I think I'll get my decorated Easter eggs from See's. :-)

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                          Make piping tubes from rolled up parchment paper, if all you want is simple lines of frosting. If you have to have a tip, there's no getting around it.

                                                                                          You can probably find good instructions with visual aids online, but here's how to do it:
                                                                                          1 start with a square of parchment paper
                                                                                          2 cut in half diagonally into 2 triangles
                                                                                          3 Place a finger on the middle of the long edge, and using the other hand roll a cone with the pointy end where your finger started out.
                                                                                          4 give the cone a quick tightening up so the end of the cone is completely closed, and the open end of the cone is as wide as you want it, but with the layers of paper all snug together
                                                                                          5 fill the cone with whatever you're piping
                                                                                          6 seal the open end (fold, crimp, etc...whatever makes you happy)
                                                                                          7 cut the tip off with scissors
                                                                                          8 pipe until done
                                                                                          9 throw away with great satisfaction

                                                                                          1. re: SteveG

                                                                                            Thanks, Steve. Been there, done that. It's sooooooooo much easier to use ready-made disposable frosting bags. You can buy them directly from Wilton, or for larger bags, there are on-line bakers' supply houses that carry them up to really large sizes. When through with them, I just use scissors to clip the bag near the coupling, remove it and toss the bag. Using a bag gives so much more control, as well as allowing me to change piping tip sizes for any "embellishments" I might want to add. Altogether I think I have close to 100 piping tips, and I amaze myself at how many of them I can use on one project. If you've never tried the disposable decorating bags, do give them a try. So much easier than using parchment, or even cloth or plastic pastry bags.

                                                                                            My biggest mess comes from all of the specialized tools it takes, from mixer to drying racks for piped decorations and gum paste flowers. The sculpting tools, the decorating tubes, the paste food color, the powdered brush-on food colors, the brushes, the lazy susan decorating pedestal, the... well, the gazillion bits and pieces it takes to do a really good job on a large tiered cake.. After a big wedding cake, it can take a couple of days clearing, cleaning, putting away, reorganizing. It's a mess....!

                                                                                        2. I nominate the Zuni chicken. Not because it makes the kitchen a big mess when you prep it but because of the way it smokes up the kitchen. My guy was making this for us the other day and unfortunately he has been slowly getting over a cold. The smoke drove him from the kitchen and I was seriously worried about him being in there and breathing that smoke. It would help if I had a better exhaust system. We had all the windows open on a very cold winter night.

                                                                                          (But that chicken was as good as everyone said it would be!)

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: karykat

                                                                                            Each time I turn the chicken I pour out the fat in the pan. Practically no smoking at all, and I can now make the dish for company, which I just wouldn't do before.

                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                              Thanks for this tip. The end result was so good that we do want to do it again.

                                                                                          2. I spent 2 days and lots of time making Thomas Keller's pork trotters from the Bouchon cookbook with sauce Gribiche. A mess? Definitely. Would I make it again? yeahm but in a couple of years. i still have not recovered from the first time.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Candy

                                                                                              Do you happen to know off hand if that recipe is available on line? My husband would love it ....

                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                You need the book. While looking through it for the recipe I took another look at his tart au citron....hmmm I have some Meyer Lemons. That may be a project for tomorrow and won't be so involved.

                                                                                                CKG

                                                                                                1. re: Candy

                                                                                                  Thanks - I'll see if I can get it from the library - the dish would be a nice birthday gift for him.

                                                                                            2. Any food is the messiest food for me to cook. I am a cooking slob. Don't know what it is, but everything gets all over. Luckily for me, my fiance is the felix unger of the kitchen so he is always two steps behind me cleaning up my mess--at times it can get annoying and at other times just downright commical!

                                                                                              1. Another way to look at the OP's question:

                                                                                                Poutine: it mean's a mess in Quebecois French.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: bigfellow

                                                                                                  Poutine...h-m-m-m, this is one dish I think it is better NOT to know how to cook...it is better for both arteries and waist-line to pretend you can only buy it when visiting Quebec...and then live as far away as possible!

                                                                                                  I absolutely adore poutine, but it is lethal!

                                                                                                2. I'm going to have to say sushi. Whenever I make sushi at home I find sushi rice everywhere. The blasted stuff is stuck on my socks etc.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: salsailsa

                                                                                                    It's not you.Rice has teeth,only explanation for finding it around.NO MATTER how carefully
                                                                                                    you handle it.I chews it's way out of all sundry of containers and runs.The gospel according to a 7 year old 40years ago.
                                                                                                    The sushi mess is just practice and cold wet hands.

                                                                                                  2. I'm going to add chocolate to the list. Melted chocolate will find itself into any imaginable corner if you temper and then make little candies or truffles. Incredibly fun to get your hands messy with it, so its a pleasant messy.