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Mar 27, 2012 05:26 PM

The "Bad Food" Joust!

Okay, mamachef threw down the gauntlet over bad food in another thread, and that popped this idea into my fuzzy little head...

What is the worst thought-out food you've ever had, either that you made yourself or that you had in a restaurant or that a friend has made for you...???

I'll kick things off with TWO...!

#1 When my kids were junior high-ish, we would go to Swenson's Ice Cream Parlor in El Paso. Swenson's was originally a California single ice cream parlor that grew to be a chain and even reached Texas! We began going there years before when we still lived in California and the kids were just starting school because they have a GIANT sundae called an "Earthquake" that has eight different flavors of ice cream and eight different flavors of toppings, and when my two kids got good grades, they were allowed to invite one friend each and each kid got to choose two flavors of ice cream and two toppings. You also have to know that each Swenson's shop makes their own ice cream on the premises and is allowed to create original flavors if they like. Well, this one year they were offering Dill Pickle Ice Cream as a tribute to expectant mothers! Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! They did give out a few sample spoonfuls, but when I asked some time later, the SCOOP that one of my passel of four kids ordered in the Earthquake was the ONLY scoop they sold out of the entire five gallons of dill pickle flavored ice cream that they made! It tasted TERRIBLE! Maybe because they used real dill pickle juice from their kitchen to make it?

#2 Many years ago a recently divorced male friend invited us to his new condo for dinner. It was back when we lived off the earth, mostly for free, eating abalone four times a week from the friend's and my husband's scuba dives. So he invited us for dinner and picked up a crock pot and a bunch of "interesting sounding ingredients" and started them cooking that morning before he went to work. It was sort of a stew that might have been good if only he had not added large whole un-trimmed entire stalk ASPARAGUS! The damned asparagus turned to rope and overwhelmed the flavors of everything else in the dish and was totally unchewable. It was sort of like eating a bowl of ramen that was made out of wool ramen. Somehow my husband and I managed to eat most of it, but it was difficult, and we smiled and thanked him. I didn't want to discourage him over his very first ever cooking effort! That, plus it was his sailboat they scuba dove from! Don't bite the hand that feeds you! But remember.... Do NOT use WHOLE stalks of asparagus in a crock pot recipe! EVER!!!

So what's your worst Bad Food Tale? Come on. You can tell me. I won't tell anybody else! '-)

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  1. I'm in!! Aside from the, ahem, aforementioned fast-food tacos, I have this sublime story:
    As a young married, we were friendly with another couple. Shari was not particulary inclined towards balancing her menus, especially at the beginning of her cooking career. One meal in particular stands out:
    Fettucine Alfredo
    Macaroni and cheese ("for the starch.")
    Mashed and gravy ("for a vegetable.")

    3 Replies
    1. re: mamachef

      lol! love the thought process behind it

      1. re: mamachef

        This should be done like a KFC bowl and served in one dish!

        1. re: mamachef

          Sounds like she was going for color...hmm, let's eat from the neutral palette tonight...beige ought to taste pretty good.

        2. Swensons! Now there's a name from the past - that chain even made it to Montreal in the late 80s and yes, they had dill pickle ice cream for a very short while. Friends of mine did eat the Earthquake until about the time he got stopped coming out on suspicion of being a p*dophile (note - if you're over 6 feet, try not to date girls who are several inches south of 5 feet with heels on unless they're carrying ID).

          The worst thought-out meal I've made was the seafood crêpes right about the time of the Swensen's incident. Not my particular idea but the then-GF wanted to invite friends for a sit-down dinner and though this would be sophisticated dish to serve. So, rather than get the requisite flour, butter and eggs she decided to save me some time and gave me a box of Aunt Jemima pancake mix. It was ugly.

          1. I love my in-laws, some of them have a really hard-core sweet tooth. We were something like 26 of us on a houseboat at Lake Powell one year. The fishing was freakish good, due to the fact that there was a cyclic food shortage and the striped bass were starving. If you could lower your foot down 60 feet a striper would bite on it. So the fishermen ended up catching a ton of stripers, and cooked them up for the group one morning- warm freshwater fish tastes like mud, I haven't had an experience that makes me think otherwise. And these big-ass stipers were as muddy tasting as the Wabash river catfish that my uncle used to force upon us. Then the morning after the muddy fish breakfast, either my MIL or her daughter made breakfast, it was a five-gallon bucket of Krusteez blueberry pancake mix, and they made overly-sweet semi-blueberry tasting pancakes to a fare-thee-well, of course with fake maple syrup, which goes just swell on a damn houseboat- you can't get rid of the sticky spots or the gross fake-syrup smell.
            From muddy freshwater fish to pancakes sweet enough to embarrass a cake- cripes. To this day I dread depending on a large part of that family for a meal. Fortunately, they're a really entertaining group otherwise.

            1 Reply
            1. re: EWSflash

              LOL, EWSflash. And sometimes, that's the only saving grace. I've literally sat at bad family meals grinning and hosing and smiling and jiving, thinking, "well, at least it's a fun group." And moving food around on my plate to make it look like I was actually eating.

            2. Once my mom made Hamburger pie--which was from the Bisquick box. It had layers of meat, but she decided it should have every layer a burger has.. so cooked into it was also a layer of lettuce and a layer of cheese and a layer of pickles and a layer of ketchup and a layer of onions and a layer of mustard.. and then more biquick on top.

              2 Replies
              1. re: GraceW

                Haha! I'm guilty of making the exact same thing for my college buddies!! Only I just added pickles. Of course, we were all used to dining hall grub, so hamburger pie tasted like filet mignon to us back then! I made it again a few months ago in an attempt to get my son to eat ground beef. Awful - no wonder the poor kid didn't eat it - never again!

                1. re: Sra. Swanky

                  I am now a vegetarian.. so I think it is wise to be careful what meats you serve him.. it might turn him off from meat forever...

              2. Two words: Pork Sashimi