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Jul 2, 2011 11:08 AM

What Was Your MMM (Most Mortifying Moment) as a Cook/Chef When Cooking For Guests?

My MMM occurred when my fiance's friends came to visit all the way from Alaska. All they had heard from my fiance was what a fantastic chef/cook I was and he couldn't wait for me to cook for them. A little husband was living in an antebellum estate where the home had partially burned. He lived there as a favor to the owners, who were friends of the family. They made one section of the house into a make-shift apartment for him (so he could live on-site and guard precious family heirlooms) and furnished him with an ancient stove. It was a cold night, so I made a beef stew. I didn't realize that one eye of the stove had one setting...HIGH. Long story short, in the midst of our "visiting" with friends, I didn't notice that when I turned the eye down to simmer and left the room, that it stayed on High. The entire pot started burning, setting off smoke alarms, and we had to throw away a piece of my fiance's expensive cookware! We ended up ordered out for pizza. I've since then redeemed myself many times over, but I was truly mortified that I didn't live up to the expectations my fiance (now husband) had set.

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  1. Being asked to make seafood crepes, when crepes were something not in my repertoire. After having provided the list of ingredients to make the crepe batter, to arrive in the kitchen to come face to face with… a box of Aunt Jemima pancake mix. Because as they reasoned, pancakes, crepes, same concept and the box was premixed and cheaper than buying individual components.

    Oh - and no nonstick cookware of any type.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wattacetti

      Oh, my, I bet those were sweeet! Nothing like sugary pancakes with seafood filling.

    2. When I had the whole family over for grill-roasted leg of lamb, and while it was resting, my recently-adopted German Shepherd (who, as it turns out, was clearly a coyote or dingo in a previous life) grabbed it off the platter and ran for the back door. I ended up in the middle of the group wrestling this evil cow for the roast. I won, but she'd gotten a big chunk chewed off, which somehow I managed to also pry out of her mouth and threw it away (she was NOT gonna win that one). Had to rinse the lamb off and regrill it for a while to "cauterize" and I had to also cut around the big old bite mark. She did the same thing with half a meatloaf about a year later- in front of the same crowd.

      She turned out to be the best dog we ever had, but she never did stop stealing food, she was totally shameless about it. I have so many stories about her food-stealing. And she was big and had really long legs so we couldn't safely keep ANYTHING edible on the counter. I should have named her Dammit.

      7 Replies
      1. re: EWSflash

        a few years back my daughter had her about to be 16 year old friend visit who had just lost her mom to cancer. I really wanted to make something nice for her birthday and made her a birthday cake in the shape of a huge heart which I then spent ages frosting and decorating while the teens were out shopping.

        I put the decorated cake on the island in my kitchen and went to make some calls. A few minutes later I heard a bang and found our German shepherd pup who was now about 9 months old had managed to reach the cake and slide it down. I found both dogs standing in the ruins of cake having themselves quite a feast.

        1. re: smartie

          Another dog-related incident. We always have a party for New Year's Eve and I always make a big spread. I was about to put two pizzas in the oven but the doorbell rang so I left them on the kitchen table. When my friend and I walked in, the toppings were gone from half of each pizza (the half closest to the edge of the table) and a very guilty-looking dog was hiding under the table. Luckily, she didn't get sick -- and I was able to make some back-up food.

          1. re: piccola

            We had a dinner party. The guests were "city people" and thought coming to the suburbs for dinner was a step beneath them. We had a lovely dinner. We went into the living room to talk while my husband assembled the crepes suzette for dessert. He put the dessert on the table and then called us in to eat. We walked in and our dog was sitting at the table working his way through the plates. The guests took it well, they had two dogs.

        2. re: EWSflash

          Yup, mine relates to my beloved black labrador, Harvey. Being a typical greedy lab he felt quite taken aback that he wasn't invited to join the table for our dinner party. So he just decided to jump up on the dining table and help himself. I just about died with embarrassment, but thankfully my guests were well aquainted with joys of dogs themselves and were able to laugh it off. He was lucky he was so beautiful and charming. I would give happily give up functional dinner parties to have him back in my life.

          1. re: EWSflash

            I always joke that I should rename my dog Hoover, given the way he sucks down any and all food.

            1. re: Terrieltr

              that's a running joke around our house, too.

              1. re: Terrieltr

                Someone I worked with had a dog named Dustbuster. Their floors were spotless.

            2. Discovering that I was carving a turkey that was not fully cooked. It had to go back in the oven after I started attempting to serve T-day dinner. Learned to use instant read thermometers after that.

              1. I was making dinner for my boyfriends' family--beef stroganoff--and the pan slipped and I dumped it on the floor. It was all I had for dinner so I quietly scrapped it up and served it....I wonder if that was why we eventually split up. (I was alone in the ktichen so no one else saw it.)

                1. I had relocated after a divorce and was living in a modest apartment (which was cozy if we are being kind).

                  A fellow who had become a close friend had his best friend visiting. The best friend was a pretty well known chef, very well known within the South. My friend had convinced me to host dinner for them. I was still at that stage of cooking where sometimes your meal has courses 'cos your timing is less than perfect.

                  My apps were well received and the liqueur and conversation were both smooth and flowing. Salad had been enjoyed. We were seated at my dining room table which was in full view of the oven 3 feet away.

                  I had plated the sides and went to remove the fish from under the broiler. The rack stuck. And stuck. Then it became unstuck - resulting in the fish flying off the pan and onto the open oven door.

                  I was mortified. And stunned. And frozen with no idea what to do.

                  The chef kept talking, slipped out of his chair and picked up the spatula. He deftly lifted the (perfectly prepared) fish from the oven door, placed it on a platter and tried a bite. Gave me an enormous smile, finished the plating and brought the plates to the table.

                  He pulled out my chair, had me sit down and poured everyone more wine.
                  Then he said " 5 second rule!" gave a grin and a wink and started eating.

                  6 Replies
                    1. re: AnneMarieDear

                      +1! of course now i'm dying to know the identity of that charming & gracious well-known Southern chef...

                    2. re: meatn3

                      Good for the chef. Now THAT is a sign of someone with class.

                        1. re: meatn3

                          Great story! Made me smile and laugh out loud, thank you!

                          1. re: meatn3

                            That is an awesome story! what a great guy!!