HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Rookie Mistake

I'm the grillmaster at my house, even though I'm a girl. I'm also the one with the sports gene and missing the chocolate gene.
I've been grilling for years (thanks Dad!) and I will fire up the charcols for one burger if the mood hits. Well, tonight I pulled a rookie mistake and dropped a rib from the grill. Not just any rib but a large beef rib bone. THE SHAME!
Fess up experienced Cowhounds. What rookie moves have you pulled recently?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Where did the rib land and who was present to see it? It's been my experience, that if nobody else is present, no grilled food actually hits the ground no matter where it lands. (If no one else sees the situation, I wash off the grilled food and place it back on the grill. If somebody sees it happen, I wash off the grilled food, place it back on the grill and keep moving all the food around until nobody knows which is the offending piece).

    4 Replies
    1. re: John E.

      Been there, done that. Geez, she really is a rookie!

      1. re: DPGood

        Well of course I rinsed and re-sauced! Everyone is happy to leave me alone while I'm grilling. Buried the rib in the pile. None the wiser.

    2. 5 second rule applies..
      if not then u move on to the 10 second rule......

      10 Replies
      1. re: srsone

        5 Second Rule=You can feed it to someone else

        10 Second Rule= You have to eat it

        1. re: PotatoHouse

          "10 Second Rule= You have to eat it"

          This is almost a reason to "accidentally" drop the biggest/best of any kind of food!

            1. re: Muchlove

              Finally, a clear explanation of the infield fly rule!

          1. re: srsone

            There is no x amount of seconds rule in my house at all. If the dog hasn't licked it, it's all good!

            1. re: alliegator

              If the dog hasn't licked it??????????????????
              You mean your dog lets you have your own rib, mine makes us share

              1. re: bagelman01

                Fortunately, she allows me to bite most of the meat off before I give it to her.

                1. re: mucho gordo

                  unfortunately, Mrs. B doesn't think dogs should have 'real' bones, so the dogs get most of the meat and I gnaw on the bones. Then again, as grandmother taught me 50+ years ago: "the nearer the bone, the sweeter the meat"

                  1. re: bagelman01

                    Mrs G is the same with bones. She says they're not good for the dog just so she doesn't have to share.

          2. Not a recent one, but I once lost my balance handling a plate with 2 trays of Stauffer's spinach soufle while removing them from the oven, and both slipped off the plate and down a 3 inch space between the oven and the wall. I had timed the cooking to coincide with kickoff of the Monday night football game. I had no other food in the apartment, and I was starved. I could barely see the spinach down in that space, but it sure smelled good. Howard Cosell and Dandy Don would have ridiculed my fumble.

            Rookie mistake #2: in my Boston days, I once left a new half-gallon of vodka on my kitchen counter. My cats Ralph and Buffa, having very little else to do that afternoon, decided to play a game of "let's see if we can move this heavy foreign object". So instead of kicking back with a vodka tonic at happy hour, I was cleaning up copious amounts of vodka and broken glass, and then had to re-wax the floor the following day.

            30 years more recently, I was boiling 8 or so eggs for deviled eggs, and I signed on to Chowhound. Half an hour later later, I began hearing explosions in the kitchen. You can deduce the rest. Eggs really do make quite a pop, which may have been a good thing.

            That's enough for now.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Veggo

              You just brought back a memory of when I was a cook at a summer camp many, many years ago, and I dropped a gallon of cooking oil on the kitchen floor. Fortunately, the camp also employed a janitor, though it was a group effort to get it cleaned up in time to get dinner on for the kids.

              1. re: Veggo

                Oh my ... you just reminded me of something that happened many years ago. I was carrying a hot take-out container of lasagna across carpet using oven mitts. It slipped off the mitts and landed upside down, where the tomatoey cheese immediately bonded (and I mean that quite literally) with the synthetic carpet. I was down on hands and knees for weeks afterwards with scissors, snipping it out. Today I have hardwood and tile floors, no carpet.

                My parents' big mistake was making cider vinegar in the basement with the lid tightened. One day while I was at school the whole thing blew, spewing across the entire contents of the basement. I came home to what smelled like a brewery.

              2. That's not a rookie mistake, it's a law of averages mistake(misteak?). If you grill enough you WILL drop something, No one saw it rule applies, unless someone does see it, then you wash it off and put it back on the grill. Ever heard 'everyone eats a peck of dirt before they die'?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Nanzi

                  I'd never heard that expression in 33 years til last week. We were at the beach and my four month old got some sand near her mouth. Twice in one week.

                  I, to annoy my mom, twisted it into, "Everyone eats a dirty pe....". She was sufficiently annoyed, definitely.

                2. My first time making play dough. I was at the supermarket trying to find cream of tartar. I spent forever walking up and down the isle looking for it, mind you I had no idea what it was. Anyway kept walking past the Tatar sauce and after 15 mins I figured that's what the recipe was asking for and it must be a typo on their behalf. 
                  And hour later I had a batch of play dough with chunky lumps in it which smelled awful. I now know to look for cream of tartar next to the baking soda. 

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: snax

                    Easier still: look for Play-Doh next to the Lego's, different store...:)

                    1. re: snax

                      reminded of spending some time up and down spice racks in the supermarket looking for lemon zest.

                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                        Spice Islands sells it--not that that's a good thing ;)

                    2. Wet towel, hot pan. I haven't done that in twenty years, but it was a difficult weekend.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: mamachef

                        Lost me here - could a midwife have helped?

                        1. re: Veggo

                          A hot pan will cause a wet towel to instantly steam and can quickly burn you.

                          1. re: Veggo

                            Veggo! Question answered below, but your question was great. No, a tube of Burn Cream and a cot for four fingers saved the day.

                          2. re: mamachef

                            Ouch! Been there, done that . . .have the scars to prove it.

                          3. Not mine, my cousin's: The first time she made a roast duck, the directions said to preheat the oven and place the duck on a rack for such and such a time. So she put it on a rack in the oven. No pan, just one of the oven racks. Followed by an oven full of burning duck fat.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: therealdoctorlew

                              My son did something like that in his first apartment. He loves duck but it was his first time making them at home and he had no idea how much fat can render off a roasting duck . He roasted FIVE at once, with only a cookie sheet underneath. Set the oven on fire. No permanent injuries, fortunately.

                            2. when I was a teen back in the 50's I had short-lived summer job as a busboy at the Banner Lodge in Moodus, CT. While washing dishes and silverware I failed to notice that the butter knife I was washing had a serrated edge. Sliced my forefinger down to the bone.

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: mucho gordo

                                Yeah, but how many of us can say we were the inspiration for a George Thorogood song, mucho? You have always been b-b-bad to the bone!

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  Cute. I see you haven't lost your sense of humor, Veggo.

                                  1. re: Veggo

                                    I have seen all too often that I'm bad to the bone ;)

                                  2. re: mucho gordo

                                    why are you, veggo and me the only ones old enough active here to have been at Banner Lodge in the 50s?

                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                      The best revenge, bagelman. We outlived the others.

                                      1. re: Veggo

                                        Unfortunately, we have also outlived Banner Lodge and all the Catskill resorfts wherfe I bussed and waited tables while going through school.

                                        How sad that youn Chers never get to go to an all inclusive American Plan resort that makes up for the deprivations of the depression and WWII with good food aplenty. Guests were not embarrassed to eat until full and then some, You could order as much as you'd like, try all kinds of offerings and expand your food horizons. And let's not forget the ordering of the extra item 'for the table'. This way no one would be looked upon as a pig, the waiter set the dish in the center of the table and everyone got to try some.

                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                          Indeed, we enjoyed thick slices, during a slender slice of time. We had good fortune.

                                          1. re: Veggo

                                            Veggo, what a lovely phrase, "slender slice of time."

                                          2. re: bagelman01

                                            Family vacations at Grossinger's resort were so much fun, and the food was so good too. What a blast from the past.

                                        2. re: mucho gordo

                                          Moodus, CT? I grew up about 10 minutes from there! Guess the Banner Lodge is no longer there, since it doesn't sound familiar at all. My ex made a huge rookie mistake of deciding to "play" with the brand new ceramic knife he got me for Christmas to see how sharp it is. He learned quite quickly that it is VERY sharp, and sliced off the tip of his finger while helping me cut potatoes for the Christmas Dinner

                                          1. re: kubasd

                                            Moodus was quite the resort area back then with Banner Lodge being the most popular, IIRC. If they're long gone, I'm sure most of the others are too.

                                        3. Well you boil eggs by placing them in a pan on the stovetop and bringing the water to a boil.

                                          So, why not place an egg in a pyrex measuring cup and boit it in the microwave?

                                          The egg exploded 45 seconds later and I was finding small pieces of egg shell in the microwave for days. ;-)

                                          18 Replies
                                          1. re: Antilope

                                            Years ago, while visiting my Mom on a break from college, I decided to be a "good son" and clean up in the kitchen. Um-m-m-m-m.................... what I now know was a stock pot just looked like some leftover boiling liquid from 'whatever' she'd been making earlier in the day. WRONG!!!!!!!
                                            I heard that story over and over until she passed away at 89.

                                            Edit: Sorry. Thought I hit 'reply to original post'.

                                            1. re: Midlife

                                              My otherwise savvy husband did that with a bowl of stock I had cooling. Thought it was dirty water...

                                                1. re: Midlife

                                                  Many years ago, It was around the time Seinfeld ended (my then 69 year old mother was a fan of the show) I made a kettle of crab bisque that was a copy of the Soup Nazi crab bisque to share with my mother since she was also a fan of crab (and none of my family would eat it, neither would my father, just mom and me). Anyway, the leftover crab bisque was in their basement refrigerator and my dad threw it out not knowing for sure what it was. All he knew is that it looked bad and smelled bad to him. It had about $25 worth of crab in it. He felt really bad when he found out what he had done, of course we gave him a pass.

                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                    No soup for him!
                                                    (or anyone else - bawh..)

                                                2. re: Antilope

                                                  Made that same mistake myself; however, on mine, the pressure built up enough to blow open the microwave door and spew the contents throughout the kitchen. Great fun, that cleanup.

                                                  1. re: Antilope

                                                    If you take two eggs, wrap them in aluminum foil and put each in a coffee mug with water to cover and then microwave on high for 6 minutes, you will have two perfectly runny soft-boiled eggs. I wish I knew about this trick when my mother was still alive. She came to really enjoy soft-boiled eggs with the toast 'soldiers' after she and my father went to Germany many years ago and they were part of the classic German breakfast.

                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                      Wow, that's a great idea. The foil keeps the microwaves out of the egg, but the microwave oven still heats the water to cook the eggs. I'll have to try it.

                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                        Is foil ok in the microwave, I always thought it wasn't?

                                                        BTW this is a genuine if stupid question so please be nice!

                                                        1. re: Muchlove

                                                          In general it's a bad idea - you certainly don't want any exposed foil in there - but in this case it appears the water prevents the foil from sparking. Still, it's hard to imagine who first came up with this idea. It must have been either someone who knows a lot about the physics of microwave ovens, or someone who knows absolutely nothing and really lucked out!

                                                          1. re: Muchlove

                                                            Its fine to put foil in the microwave in this case because it is under water. The foil does turn gray after it is used this way. The whole no metal in the microwave is overblown. The oroblem with it is if it arcs against itself, such as a twistie tie wire. A spoon in a pyrex measuring cup full of water and then microwaved will get hot but it breaks the surface tension of the water so the water does not explode.into steam when jostled when removing it from the microwave. Our microwave has a metal rack so two plates of food can be reheated at the same time although we do not use it since it gets in the way.

                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                              Thanks to both of you for clarifying. I am not an egg eater or microwave owner myself but by brother is and does so I was going to tell him this tip. However, he is such a nightmare when it comes to paying attention/doing something safely that I may hold off this time - I can sense a disaster would happen!

                                                              1. re: Muchlove

                                                                Ah but then he'd have something to post in this thread ;)

                                                              2. re: John E.

                                                                Several of my friends work in the Biomedical Devices dept. at work (hospital). They're all at least BMET 3s and know about electronics. We were talking about microwaves, and I asked why my microwave had a metal shelf. One guy asked "are there arc marks on the wall behind it?" I said yes, he said "because they don't care. The sooner the magnetron burn sup, the better for new sales." Another piped in calling it "Kleenex technology".

                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                  By definition an arc has to be a connection between two metal points. is the interior of your microwave metal?

                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                    Actually, two metal parts that touch will not arc. There must be a gap for the electrons to jump to create an arc. Touching parts just make a short or a circuit.

                                                                    1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                                      I guess I was a little vague. My point was that the arc makes the connection between to metal points.

                                                          2. re: Antilope

                                                            Oooh - my dad set a potato on fire once in the microwave. He cooked it for 10 minutes. It was pretty spectacular. Never realized burning potato could smell SO bad.

                                                          3. Not me and not recently, but a friend who doesn't cook much was given a free turkey by her employer one Thanksgiving. She knew about removing the package of giblets, but wasn't sure which cavity it was in, for some reason she reached into the neck cavity and shoved her hand all the way through into the body. The bird was still partly frozen, and her hand was stuck and starting to swell. She lived in NY City at the time - wrapped a towel over the bird, called a cab, and was taken to the ER where they sawed it off. She never did tell me if she got the turkey back.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: judybird

                                                              Somehow I have more sympathy for the turkey.

                                                            2. It was Christmastime and I was decorating the house for the first time in my married life. I thought it would be a good idea to put some cinnamon in a pot of water so the house would smell nice. I proceeded to dump an entire jar of powdered cinnamon in a 4 quart pan on low and went back to decorating.

                                                              I was in the attic when I started thinking, " Boy, the house sure smells nice".. I decided to check on the water level in the pot..as I rounded the corner all I saw was brown stuff dripping from my kitchen walls. The water never boiled, the steam and the great idea to use pwdered cinnamon was the reason that my kitchen looked like it was a prop for a horror film.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Robinez

                                                                I love that one Robinez.

                                                                I was renting a house and it was about 2 weeks before the lease was up so I decided to give the oven a good clean. Some previously burned on food just wouldn't come off so after doing my best I got a sheet of aluminum foil and put a layer on the bottom of the oven.

                                                                Couple days later I turned on the oven to heat something and there was smoke billowing out and an awful smell. I opened the oven to find the foil baking itself to the base of the range not realizing this range heated from the bottom so the foil was being cooked on to a nice crisp. Bits of foil came flying out of the oven (very pretty btw). I scraped best I could without ruining the range's metal but I never managed to get it all off. I'm guessing the landlord didn't notice.

                                                              2. Fresh out of college, first real paycheck, so bought steaks and wine. Couldn't find a wine opener, so held the bottle in my left hand and stabbed the cork with a steak knife. Except that I missed the cork and stabbed the webbing between my index finger and thumb. Yelled for Mr. Pine, who wrapped my gushing hand in a kitchen towel and instead of steak, we headed to the hospital. ER doc, grandfatherly type, said only 3 words when I explained what happened, "Oh, how gauche." Then he stitched the wound. Scar is still there, oh these many years later.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: pine time

                                                                  bob the builder has a song about using the right tool for the job.......

                                                                  (i know this cuz my 3 yo watches him)

                                                                2. First job in a restaurant, doing pastry prep. My chef always encouraged me to taste everything I made while I got used to the menu. I was making caramel, took it off the heat and decided to stick my pinky in the pot for a little taste. BAD idea!!! I screamed like a banshee while my finger blistered up like a balloon...

                                                                  A few years later, I was making guacamole for a party, something I've done many, many times. I was pitting a bunch of avocados with a paring knife (rookie mistake #1) and the pit half in my left hand (rookie mistake #2). Needless to say, on or about the 4th or 5th avocado the knife slipped and went straight through my left thumb. One ER trip ("you did what?!") and four stitches later, and I still have the scar. Friends and family still make fun of me for that one...

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: morningbun

                                                                    Hey, wonder if we ended up at the same hospital (see above post)!

                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                      Yes, your post is actually what reminded me of my story! Mine was in Boston.

                                                                    2. re: morningbun

                                                                      I too have a knife scar ... and looking for it just now I discovered it's on my right (dominant) hand--good Lord, no wonder. I was probably about 8 and I was doing something with a paring knife--green beans come to mind, but it's been a long time. Sliced off the tip of my knuckle. No hospital trip, but if you've ever had a significant injury in a location like that, you know what a pain it is to heal unless you use a splint (and no one did). People go on about knife skills ... in my world, it's a matter of getting exclusively the food cut in more or less the manner desired, and not oneself ;)

                                                                    3. This wasn't recently, but it was at a point where I most assuredly knew better.
                                                                      I was blind baking a pie crust, and needed something for weights to keep it from shrinking. My choice ended up being a box of beans and rice (and didn't realize also CAJUN SEASONED), which probably wouldn't have been so bad, if I had put foil down before dumping the contents on there. I meticulously picked all the beans and rice from the parbaked shell, but wondered later what that "extra flavor" was in my apple pie.

                                                                      1. A tip to all you home-canners out there: do NOT process tomatoes shirtless (hey, it was hot) and on a crowded range. You will definitely end up with burns. I'm frankly lucky to have only gotten two.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: gilintx

                                                                          You shouldn't cook shirtless at all.

                                                                        2. One actual rookie mistake and one almost.

                                                                          The almost was when my wife and I first stated cooking, and a recipe called for mincing a clove of garlic. I turned to my wife and asked whether she thought when it called for "a clove," did she think they were talking about one of the little parts that snap off or the whole thing of garlic (this was in the days before Google).

                                                                          We went back-and-forth on that for a while before we decided to start with the (actual) clove and then add in the rest if the recipe didn't taste right. Whew! Almost!

                                                                          The actual rookie mistake was that growing up, the only time we had spinach at home was when my Mom would prepare a Japanese version that involved steaming the spinach, cooling them, and then taking the leaves and rolling them with a sushi roller into a sushi roll looking round and then cutting them so that you would get what was essentially a sushi-size, cylindrical piece of pressed, cooled, steamed spinach, which you would eat with soy sauce.

                                                                          Being the son of a traditional Japanese woman, I had never been in the kitchen during the preparation of dinner (for example, I found out to my amazement at some point in elementary school that my classmates actually made their own lunches, which was such a novel idea that the next day I tried to make my own, to which my mother responded with tears and the accusation that I must think she was a bad mother who would not make her own son's lunch), so I had no idea that she made this dish; I assumed that spinach came this way.

                                                                          Flash forward to one day away at college. I had a hankering for "spinach" and went to the supermarket and asked for spinach. When the grocery guy pointed to the spinach leaves, I then asked if they had Japanese spinach, and I explained what I was looking for. The poor guy tried to explain that I was probably talking about a dish made with the spinach leaves, but since they looked nothing like what I was thinking of, I refused to believe him.

                                                                          I later complained to my mother that the local grocery store didn't carry Japanese spinach and explained what happened. I thought she was going to die laughing.

                                                                          I still hear about that.

                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: KS1

                                                                            This is a great story, thanks for sharing :)

                                                                            1. re: KS1

                                                                              What is it with guys and garlic? My ex and I were making sauerbraten and the recipe called for a clove of garlic. He insisted that that meant the full head. I finally gave in and put it all in to the marinade. Sauerbraten has to marinate for three days. After day 1, I came down with the flu but heaved myself up and cooked it on day 3. The stuff was nothing but garlic. Even he wouldn't eat it!

                                                                              My other big rookie mistake was not glancing into the container of bread crumbs. So I found out that it was full of weevils after I sprinkled them on the top of the macaroni and cheese.

                                                                              1. re: 512window

                                                                                I have done the weevils thing not only eating them in a bowl of cereal, but deciding it was a good idea to rearrange my kitchen so I moved all the food from one side to the other and all the flatware and plates to the weevil side. Of course I didn't realize I had transferred weevils to the other side now so when I found wiggly things on both sides of my kitchen I had to remove everything, throw out all packaged food and sanitize the WHOLE kitchen.

                                                                              2. re: KS1

                                                                                That made me laugh out loud. And it reminded me of a story of a friend who dropped by one day while my husband was cooking calamari. She asked what it was, then looked at it quizzically for a moment and then said, "Oh, that's weird, I thought calamari were shaped like little rings."

                                                                                My husband and I still joke that the ocean must be full of little calamari rings swimming around with little pots of red dipping sauce right behind them.

                                                                                1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                  And the happy little chickens of the sea...

                                                                                2. re: KS1

                                                                                  My mom and sister once called me, asking the same question about garlic. I was really tempted to tell them to put the whole thing in (esp since they sent me a picture and it was an absolutely massive head of garlic). I am too nice.

                                                                                3. The first Thanksgiving I was married, I baked three pumpkin pies from scratch for the family, whole pumpkin and all, and forgot the sugar. But that's not the fail part - the fail part is the next year, for Thanksgiving, again for the in-law family, I made three pumpkin pies from scratch...and forgot the sugar AGAIN. I have no idea what that was all about, since I've never forgotten the sugar before or since, but no one ever let me live that down. Even now, my teen still "reminds" me not to forget the sugar every time I make a pumpkin pie. >.<

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: emilyjh75

                                                                                    I can't sleep and am reading threads that I've missed.
                                                                                    I laughed out loud when I read your "and forgot the sugar AGAIN." It's funny because I've done it too, with more than pies. I don't use sugar much (splenda) and I'm trying my best at with baking, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

                                                                                  2. Embarrassed to say, this happened fairly recently. I was rushing to get dinner ready, and in an effort to save time, I decided to use a mandolin to slice the potatoes. I thought I was being so careful; They can be dangerous, and I know it.

                                                                                    Big mistake. I ended up slicing off the side of my thumb. There was blood everywhere, and it HURT! Whenever I see those chefs on Chopped pull out the mandolin, I have to turn away.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                                                      Me, too! I've probably sliced more skin than any vegetable matter.

                                                                                      1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                                                        You really put yourself into your cooking!

                                                                                        1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                                                          Believe me, it's a challenge to staunch the bleeding, bandage the sizeable wound, and then have to toss the contaminated food product. I keep mega-size first aid products in the kitchen, and I'm an experienced (just klutzy) cook!

                                                                                      2. Parchment paper and wax paper...not the same thing.

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Bananna85

                                                                                          Especially when baking is involved?

                                                                                          1. re: gaffk


                                                                                            My mom never used parchment when she baked so when I moved out and something said to use parchment paper, I assumed it was the same as wax paper. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why my oven was smoking. Not my brightest moment, but I've had a handful of friends do the same thing!

                                                                                            1. re: Bananna85

                                                                                              That's hysterical. I was only guessing on that one.

                                                                                          2. re: Bananna85


                                                                                            I never keep wax paper in the house but recently I bought some...I put it on top of the parchment paper in the cubbard and then thought better of it - I saw the catastrophie before it happened, so I went back and put it somewhere else!!

                                                                                          3. I do the same dumbass thing every time I make lasagna. I put too much ricotta on the bottom layer and then run out or have to spread it way thin for the rest of it. I hate when I do that which, did I mention, is every stinking time!