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What is the worst thing you've been served and ate?

Love the chowhound stories. I started thinking about food moments and some of the flops I've eaten. Thought I'd see if others might share.

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  1. Guess it's only fair to start . . .

    My grandmother made her "famous" egg pudding. She rarely ever cooked. My aunt made the meal; Granny made the dessert. I was a kid, and I'd never had egg pudding.

    Granny proudly brought out a huge bowl and put it in front of me.

    I took a big bite. Ugh.

    My Mom saw my face and gave me the "look." Yikes. I tipped my brother off without saying anything. We were always real close. So, he asked for a very small bowl. Good on him.

    All the adults were still eating, but then Granny got a bowl of her famous egg pudding.

    "Ugh," she said. "I forgot to add the sugar. Why didn't anyone say something?"

    I'd finished mine by then. I've never again had egg pudding.

    1. Andouillette.

      Vile beyond belief.

      2 Replies
        1. Fruktsuppe (Norwegian fruit soup). I find it repulsive even when well-prepared due to the consistency of the soup and the textures of the fruit .It is a Norwegian specialty, meaning whenever guests from America show up, hosts feel compelled to make and serve this stuff. Just thinking about it activates my gag reflex.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jlhinwa

            it sounded appetizing, so I googled it. as long as it's not too sweet, from the pictures, it looks like I should visit a different norwegian family everyday for the rest of my life!

            1. re: kerosundae

              Oh my gosh--I would happily trade places with anyone to avoid eating that stuff. My dad was born in Norway and I have made a number of trips over the years to visit family. It is a given that fruktsuppe shows up frequently. I honestly am not sure how the flavors work together--I am stuck on the gelatinous consistency of the soup, often served with a splash of fresh cream.

              I am pretty sure I am a disappointment to some of my Norwegian relatives. I don't particularly care for lefse either. My Italian/German husband is happy to eat enough lefse for the both of us, and then some.

          2. i'll answer on behalf of my boyfriend... i received a slow-cooker for christmas this year, and thought i would try a turkey meatloaf (probably not the best choice to begin with...)

            he got home from work first, and let me know that it was looking a little mysterious. i opened the pot to see a congealed layer on top that was a light cream color. i scraped it off, and scooped out the "loaf," which when served, looked pretty much like regurgitated wet cat food. my boyfriend was a trooper (or starving) - he poured ketchup on it and took a few bites. needless to say, we ended up getting take-out.

            1. I had just come back from a trip to the south and fell in love with hush puppies. Often I would order them as an appetizer, and out would come a basket of about two dozen light, delicious, just crisp enough hush puppies. Heaven.

              Then I went to Cincinnati, and my friend raved about this terrific barbecue place. I'm not a huge fan of BBQ, but when he said that the hush puppies there were good, I gave it a go.

              We waited an extraordinarily long time for the hush puppies to arrive, and when they did, I was dismayed to see six - yes, six - hush puppies, cooked until they were charred on the outside, with an appalling texture on the inside. Sadly, my friend thought that was the way hush puppies were supposed to be.

              1 Reply
              1. re: AnnaBaptist

                Anna, I'm a lifelong Cincinnatian. Would the place have been the famous, highly popular (both for reasons that escape me) "Montgomery Inn"?

              2. My girlfriend and her German husband invited me for dinner. She was a notoriously bad cook, so I just hoped there would be lots of wine. Anyway, she decides, after I get there, that she wants to make beer soup. The recipe included dark beer, onions, bacon and pumpernickel bread. All she had was half an onion, no bacon, only hamburger buns, and.....Bud light. Needless to say, the resulting dish just tasted like a beer that had been left sitting out too long.

                6 Replies
                1. re: escondido123

                  That's hilarious! Honestly, it sounds like some of the Allrecipes recipe reviews I've read. "Well, I didn't want to use whipping cream because I'm watching my cholesterol, so I substituted fat free milk, but that was kind of runny, so I added a little more crisco..."

                  But I do think I'd like to try beer soup, the real thing with the bacon and pumpernickel.

                  1. re: Isolda

                    ooh i've had some real substitution disasters too... one example was when i was in college and i thought red wine could be a suitable substitute for red wine vinegar.

                    1. re: Isolda

                      Somewhere around the time I found Chowhound, I decided that perhaps Allrecipes wasn't the place for me anymore, although I have about 10 or so recipes I got from there that are fantastic. Takes a lot of sifting through.

                      1. re: melpy

                        I do use Allrecipes quite a lot, but you really have watch the reviews. My general rule is that if a reviewer from Canada says it's too sweet, reduce the sugar.

                        1. re: Isolda

                          are you under the impression that canadians like very sweet things?

                          1. re: kpaxonite

                            Nope, just the opposite. That's how I know I'll hate it if I make according to the recipe. If Canadians think it's too sweet, I will, too. Ditto for British reviewers. I love sweets, but they just can't be too sugary.

                  2. I can't say that this is the worst thing I've ever been served, but it's certainly in the top 20. I have a dear friend, who is good at many things. But not cooking. She invited a bunch of us over for seafood and pasta one night. She had bay scallops, jumbo shrimp, linguine and parsley. So she tossed a few handfuls of linguine into a big pot of boiling water, along with the scallops and the shrimp. About five minutes later, she decided that wasn't going to be enough pasta, and threw in another handful. Five minutes after that, she drained the whole shebang, threw parsley all over it, and served it up. Half the linguine was clumped together. The other half was crunchy. The scallops had the consistency of pencil erasers. The shrimp were sort of okay, though.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: small h

                      I'm sort of impressed that someone who isn't good at cooking would even think to prepare a seafood dish. Most of the really bad cooks I know never venture beyond chicken or beef, and every meal involves a box mix of some kind.

                      1. re: Isolda

                        She's a risk taker! And in the immortal (paraphrased) words of Donald Rumsfeld, this was a case of unknown unknowns. As in, she didn't know that she didn't know how to cook seafood. Or pasta. She has more money now and buys prepared foods when she entertains, so I can visit her without apprehension.

                    2. A bowl of rabbit soup that looked like it was full of blood clots transformed me into a vegetarian. Six and a half years and counting!

                      1. Some of the egg casseroles people bring to our church brunches are definitely up there. Seriously, it's like Russian roulette. I honestly don't know how it's possible to screw up an egg casserole--zero seasoning, maybe--but there was one in particular in which someone had apparently beaten a bunch of eggs, thrown in some whole uncooked mushrooms and then baked it, or maybe boiled it in the microwave. It was hard to tell. I did manage to swallow the bite I'd taken so that counts as eating, right?

                        1. My career shortly after college in 1974 as an opal merchant in the Sonoran desert in Mexico came to a crashing halt in less than a month, when as a result of poor planning I ran out of drinking water, and I paid a king's ransom for a jug of water outside Magdalena that had the color of iced tea, but wasn't. I was so dehydrated I had to have it. After my subsequent dysentery abated, I chose more practical professions. But I still have my best opal, a nice lloviznando.

                          1. Nasty fish or eels that looked like the jointed undersides of cockroaches in hot sauce at a company cafeteria in southern China.

                            I love hot food with taste. Habaneros, facing heavon peppers, yada yada. I've eaten fried scorpions in China. I'm chinese, traveled all over the world and willingly put away any food to be polite and try something new.

                            These things looked like horrid mutated shi'ar in a sauce that blasted my head off. Took three or four bites, then choked down the rice and veggies, which tasted as bad but didn't look quite as horrid. The only thing in my entire life I refused to continue to eat on looks alone. I tried to choke more down to be polite to my hosts, but the burn and the nasty sheet metal trays in a dark room blew me out.

                            Over ten years ago, and I still feel nasty thinking about that lunch. My fellow american buddy took it down without blinking an eye. Truly a low chowhounding day

                            1. Microwaved baby back ribs. It makes my stomach churn just thinking about it :(

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: Sydneyeats

                                Oh my. I do mine on a smoker. Didn't know they could be done in a microwave and won't test the theory. Who thought that up? Wow. Microwave and rib abuse - both.

                                1. re: CyndiA

                                  It was the mid 80's and my mother cooked the ribs. She had a double oven and the top oven also doubled as a microwave. Apparently she used the cookbook that came along with the oven. It took about 20 years until I would eat ribs again.

                                  1. re: Sydneyeats

                                    I hope she threw that cookbook away (-:

                                    1. re: Sydneyeats

                                      My mom would do some vile thing with ribs in the oven. It was years before I had them cooked the way they were supposed to be and not covered with Mrs. Dash.

                                      1. re: mtngirlnv

                                        My mother would smother the ribs in sauerkraut (which I hated as a kid), pour the juice from the jar over it, and bake them in the oven. The meat tasted just like a drier, chewier version of the sauerkraut. And when the sauerkraut was scraped off the ribs, you were met with the sight of a very unappetizing *gray* meat.

                                        1. re: onceadaylily

                                          My Grandmother made this when I was a kid, with the addition of potatoes. I loved it. But then, when she took me to the cafeteria she let me get two orders of the cooked spinach.. So what do I know?

                                          1. re: chileheadmike

                                            I have wondered if I would like it now, if the meat wasn't cooked to leather, and maybe had some crispy bits to it. But back then it's destiny was to be wrapped in a napkin and smuggled into my toy box. My judgement then was clearly as suspect as yours, if not more so. ;)

                                2. quite a few years ago I went to a highly rated restaurant, they had a special, soft shell crab with a lemon sauce, I love trying specials, as they often give me an opportunity to try something I have never tried before, and this was the case here, I had never had soft shell crab before so decided to try it.

                                  when the dish came out, the crab was swimming in the sauce and looked like a deflated balloon, the first bite reminded me of a lemon flavored kitchen sponge. I tried eating a few more bites but found it truly inedible, it was the first and only time I have ever asked the waiter to take a dish away and get me something else. I am not sure if it was actually intended to be that texture as I have never been brave enough to try softshell crab again, but they were very nice about it and seemed happy to replace it with something more to my liking.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: willdupre

                                    Sounds like terribly prepared and probably old softshells. Fresh and well prepared softshell crab is really one of the best things Ive ever eaten. Ive had some awful softshells as well though.

                                    1. re: twyst

                                      Yeah I'm sure its quite good, and one of these days I will work up the nerve to try it again, its just hard to get past remembering my first experience when I see it on the menu, and somehow anything else on the menu seems appetizing.

                                      OHH remember something else I found particularly nasty, a Norwegian friend invited me to a cultural festival, and I tried Lutefisk I don't know what is with me and unappetizing gelatinous seafood but that was another winner on my least likely to revisit list, though at least since that was a buffet I was able dispose of the remainder with no one any the wiser.

                                      1. re: willdupre

                                        Now that stuff scares me! I dont think I'd even attempt to get lutefisk down!

                                        1. re: twyst

                                          I've tried it with lots of melted butter which helped. It is not the worst thing I've eaten at all but not my favourite, either.

                                        2. re: willdupre

                                          That is another Norwegian national eating treasure that defies reason. Nasty, nasty stuff!

                                    2. Anything prepared by my mother-in-law.

                                      To be specific, her meatballs. Easter a few years ago, I had just gotten over a crohns attack and was looking forward to dinner. I probably put 6 meatballs and pasta on my plate and after the first bit I couldnt even choke them down. To make a long story short, i know how plain hamburger cooked for hours in a bland sauce tastes.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: joe777cool

                                        Thanksgiving turkey prepared by an (ex) sister-in-law. Sh had some good qualities, certainly... but cooking was not among them. The turkey was pink and actually a little crunchy with ice crystals on the inside. We were passing bits of turkey to the dog as best we could, but even then the marriage was crumbling and nobody wanted to be the one to provoke a conflict, so we all just kept smiling and nibbling on the outermost bits of undercooked bird. The zinger came after dinner, when she pulled the drawer out from the bottom of the stove and declared, "Oh, this must have been where the mouse was living! Now all the mouse turds are burned onto the metal!"
                                        It's a wonder we all didn't die of hantavirus or something...
                                        We still don't eat turkey.
                                        The runner up was when my well-meaning mother-in-law made me a HUGE mound of mashed potatoes with boiled fish mixed in. One of her specialties, it seems. I was about three months pregnant and I choked down about half of it to be polite. Tears were running down my face from gagging and I was trying desperately to hide them from her. I'm not much for fish, particularly when it has been rather casually skinned and then mixed into a sort of wallpaper-paste with mashed potatoes.

                                        1. re: tonifi

                                          I remember one Thanksgiving where, instead of making gravy, my aunt just poured the turkey juices straight into the gravy bowl. That 'look' from Mom someone mentioned? Was the only thing that kept me from saying what I thought of that.

                                        2. re: joe777cool

                                          try my mils's meatballs: turkey somehow burned and tasting like strange perfume.

                                          1. re: fara

                                            Im no meatball snob either, I have no issue eating frozen supermarket meatballs or even Subway meatballs. I much prefer something with more flavor and better texture than the latter, but Im not picky.

                                            My MIL often complains that something with garlic or even pepper in it is "too spicey," and wont touch anything that has alot of herb or spices in it. Makes for some interesting meals.....

                                        3. I was in Seoul and my host offered to take me and co-worker out to dinner at a famous seafood restaurant. The place specialized in abalone, and soon the plates came out with something that looked like a cross between a deflated tennis ball and a white tongue. I picked up my chopsticks, dipped the abalone in wasabi and carried on. The next day I thanked my host for the very fresh seafood. His response: of course it was fresh...it was still alive.

                                          The next dinner he treated us to squid...still moving in the bowl. Cover in pepper sauce, chew and don't let the suction cups choke you.

                                          1. The worst dish ever was my very own attempt at a tuna noodle casserole. You'd think a classic, old school dish like that would be easy enough to make, but it was hands down the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten. I consider myself a good cook, and it's been confirmed by many, but this casserole completely eluded me. I can't even live it down because I am constantly reminded by my friend who makes it a topic of conversation as often as possible. Not sure what went wrong, but we figured out that it looks the same coming up as going down. Needless to say... never again.

                                            1. Any meal at Waggamamas

                                              1. Sea cucumber sashimi in Korea. Nasty, period, exclamation.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: letsindulge

                                                  I have had that, too. It was in the running.

                                                2. ruben bundles, corned beef, swiss cheese, sauerkraut & russian dressing encased in a store bought pastry dough & baked

                                                  a drippy & disgusting hot mess.

                                                  1. Gazpachuelo from Malaga, Spain. Hot mayonaisse, fish and potato soup. I don't know how I finished it.

                                                    1. Almost forgot one: rappie pie up in Nova Scotia. Apparently, when made from scratch, it's very good, but because it's so difficult (you have to extract the starch from the potatoes), most restaurants use a mix. That's what I had. Tasted like salty chicken jello with molasses and butter poured over it.

                                                      I would like to try the real thing, though.

                                                      1. After touring a live Chinese poultry store, my husband and his parents and I all went to a Cantonese restaurant for some lunch. They ordered some roast duck. I popped a piece in my mouth and started to make a face as it tasted just like the live poultry house. I tried to swallow it but ended up spitting it out in a napkin. My in-laws told me I probably got the end piece where there probably is some waste remnants attached to it. My father-in-law said that most people don't eat it, but some like it for that "special taste." Ugh! Are there actually people who enjoy the taste of feces? I still refuse to eat Cantonese roast duck.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                          Oh my. That would have done me in, I am afraid. I get a little creeped out by the vein in shrimp and they are miniscule.

                                                        2. My mother in law's half thawed spinach pie, hot outside and slushy inside and mushy in the middle...What's worse is spinach pie without the crust...she'd say, i didn't have them in hand so i made it without it..
                                                          my husband and i always make faces but we try very hard to eat some...and when she is not looking, i spit it out in the napkin. She always has extra in her freezer and would always offer extra pies to take home. uhhrr...

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Monica

                                                            Take it home and throw it out! Do everybody a favor.

                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                              LOL, that's exactly what i do....same with her burnt potato pancakes.

                                                          2. It was before I was married, so... 17 years ago. I was invited to a friends house for dinner, his at the time girlfriend had found chocolate pasta somewhere and wanted to try it. So I was served al dente chocolate pasta topped with nestle unsweetened cocoa powder as an entree. Blech!

                                                            After they got married he bought her cooking classes at the local JC culinary school for Christmas.

                                                            1. Tuna casserole topped with canned biscuits - the tops of the biscuits bake, the undersides submerged in the casseroleness are raw.
                                                              Chicken-rice-mushroom soup casserole abomination.
                                                              Burrito with faux-soy-rubber-meat crumbles and hemp-whole wheat glue-flavored tortilla.

                                                              All of these were served to me by otherwise good cooks! What gives?

                                                              1. Steaks cooked by my MIL, in the oven, in a cooking bag, with A1 on top, cooked well well done. I like A1, use it frequently, but the smell over alone was too much to handle nevermind the leather like consistency and taste.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: joe777cool

                                                                  lol, i almost spit out my coffee. hahaha....

                                                                  sounds like my mother in law too...she would pour and pour teriyaki sauce over whatever protein she can grab...she think more sauce means more flavor..which is kinda true i suppose.