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Cringeworthy dishes by people who think they are terrific cooks...

Does anyone have a friend who thinks they are an amazing cook?

I live in a real gastronomic paradise - there are so many amazing restaurants around me I will never get around to trying them all. Yet a friend of mine recently told me he doesn't eat out anymore because he's recently realised he can cook so much better than any restaurant. No irony.

Last week he cooked a 'lasagne' which was layers of tomato sauce, cheese, cream of celery soup and leftover onion dip between sheets of pasta.

Anyone else been served something hilarious by someone who thinks they are the next Julia Child?

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  1. I have a few times it was really hard for me not to show my emotion on my face.

    1. I try not to discourage anyone starting to cook at home, I figure with that confidence they will eventually learn more and improve. Giving them cookbooks and quality ingredients for holiday presents helps. :)

      21 Replies
      1. re: weezieduzzit

        Oh, this guy's not a beginner. ;) Most of the people I know who think they're accomplished in the kitchen (there are a few) have been cooking for decades - they've just never been told how awful it is!

        1. re: Elster

          I guess I'm just not in the habit of making fun of my friends, especially on internet message boards.

          If the food suits your friend and makes him happy I think that's great! If you don't like his food you should decline further invitations. Problem solved.

          1. re: weezieduzzit

            I think you're right W.
            it's all a question of intent. Now maybe i'm getting soft in my old age or I'm becoming a hippie (and many people who know me and consider a v. cynical person will be surprised at this). But if a person's second name is hubris and they just want to show off fair enough. If they are taking love and care to cook for friends then it should be accepted as such.

            If I may I will bore you further. The Xmas just gone the starter was made by a v. accomplished cook who made sous vide rabbit leg topped with a pea mousse, pickled vegetables and a foie gras sauce.It was restaurant standard.The host panicked and said the main event couldn't possibly match this. I simply said did you make it with love. She said yes. I replied well it will be great then.

            1. re: Paprikaboy

              Lovely way to be a good friend to the host. I will also venture that many of the guests were relieved by whatever she served, so long as it was NOT rabbit leg (not a crowd pleaser).

              1. re: Paprikaboy

                My mom used to throw big family parties every summer. There could be 70 people in our backyard. We would cook and freeze food to serve. The people would be gathering around the tables as we brought out the food. No kidding -- we had to say "excuse me," "excuse me," "excuse me," just to get the food to the buffet table. My mom finally stopped doing it because she got tired of it. People would come up to her and compliment her food and then tell her why they wouldn't invite my parents over -- because they couldn't cook like she did. My mother's reply -- a hot dog would do. But that was the end of it for her.

                    1. re: Gastronomos

                      wonder if that is why people come to our house but we never get invited to anybody elses house..are people have parties and just not inviting us? :(

                    2. re: Disneyfreak

                      Happens to my parents all the time. For Christmas Eve we used to host sit down dinner for 32 ish folks and the house just could handle it. The compromise is now that my parents bring the food to someone else's house.

                    3. re: Paprikaboy

                      "sous vide rabbit leg topped with a pea mousse, pickled vegetables and a foie gras sauce"

                      Sounds hideous, I hope the main course was real food.

                      1. re: ratbuddy

                        I think that some people get so wrapped up in their foodie-ness that they forget to be approachable with their food.

                          1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                            We don't do fancy but we do thinks people don't normally cook, filet, crown roast, stuffed shrimp. Plus they season food. Half the people admit to not being able to cook though.

                      2. re: weezieduzzit

                        I don't think that the OP is "making fun" of his/her friend. That would involve looking at and/or tasting the dish, rolling your eyes, and saying something like "You made this? What were you thinking?"
                        IMHO the OP was just pointing out there are some who think that opening a can and heating its contents is "cooking". This can be a bit...I don't know...trying? annoying? insulting? disconcerting? amusing?... to those of us who wash, pare and chop fresh veggies, mix flour, sugar, and eggs together and knead and proof the resulting dough, personally grind meat, etc.
                        I have a neighbor like this- all frozen veggies and store-bought cakes- I just bring something handmade that's not too over-the-top and for the rest of the meal, I just concentrate on the spirit in which the food is provided...
                        ....and I eat before I go there! :)

                        1. re: Michelly

                          <This can be a bit...I don't know...trying? annoying? insulting? disconcerting? >

                          That sounds like something from Christopher Hitchens would have said.

                          I also don't think the original poster meant to make fun of his/her friend -- at least that wasn't the goal. It is more about "Do you know people who think they a great cook but they really are not?" Basically, people who are disconnected from reality. You have thousands of people who think they can professionally sing, but they really cannot.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Thanks C-k, that's exactly what I was getting at. I don't want to be mean to or about anyone here, but I was referring to people who are arrogantly proud of their cooking skill and yet serve up truly scary food! It was just for fun - lord knows I'm not a perfect cook myself, but I have nonetheless been given some eye-watering meals by other self-professed kitchen geniuses...

                            1. re: Elster

                              The question is who determines genius, if someone loves what he/she makes? Just look at the variety of suggestions on Home Cooking. Those of us who participate think we have something to offer, enough so to take the time to post and I'm sure there are others who read some and cringe. I always look back years when I thought I was a decent cook/baker and see how far I've come. I'm sure there were those who thought the dishes/cookies/whatever were (or still are!) eye watering but they've been kind enough not to judge. And, I'm hoping, in the future, I look back to where I am now and think about how far I've come.

                              1. re: chowser

                                I've been cooking for years, friends and family love my cooking. I don't cook gourmet dishes, just typical tried and true American fare. I too feel I've come a long way, but for me there is still so much to learn.

                              2. re: Elster

                                My MIL is like that. All of her country kin think she is an amazing cook, and I can't stomach her food. My husband can't either. He won't anything she makes. He used to, but I have spoiled him with fresh and healthy food that is seasoned with things other than salt and pepper and his tastes have changed. He is more finicky about food quality than I am these days. I don't think my husband had ever eaten fresh green beans when I met him, and everything had cream soup of some kind in it.

                                1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                  "...food that is seasoned with things other than salt and pepper and his tastes have changed."

                                  yep

                          2. re: weezieduzzit

                            Seriously? It's the perfect place to make fun of bad cooks - we all need to vent like total b**ches sometimes and no one will ever know who we're talking about.

                      3. A friend of mine is a very basic level cook. Last time she had me over for dinner (a while ago), she served roast chicken. Quite edible, although the potatoes she cooked it on were a bit tough and the pan sauce was off balance. Well, she sent out an email to several friends including me sharing her "acclaimed" roast chicken recipe. I'm not sure if someone requested it or not, but I got a bit of a chuckle out of it. I think most people who can cook can roast a chicken...

                        I have another friend who once had me over and served a chicken salad that she, her husband, and all their family love. It had poached chicken, mayo, and grapes, with maybe a couple other ingredients. It was horrible. I chalk that one up to cultural differences, though. She's from the northern Minnesota and I'm a gulf coast cajun, about as culinarily different as two white Americans can get.

                        That lasagna sounds nasty.

                        15 Replies
                        1. re: tandooritaco

                          I will say, when I was a new cook and roasted a chicken and had it turn out well for the first time, I pretty much thought I was the best cook ever. :)

                          1. re: juliejulez

                            I kind of feel like a simple roasted chicken with a sauce is the first thing omnivore cooks should master. Not only is it amazingly yummy, but you can make something else with the leftovers and simmer the carcass for broth. You could make that once a week and not get tired of it. It is also one of those things you could take to someone who just had a baby, or a potluck, etc...

                          2. re: tandooritaco

                            Don't be so sure about the chicken. I've had lots of people be amazed by what I considered to be a plain old baked chicken like I had every Sunday growing up. Many swear their Mom's never made any such thing. I actually had friends call from Thailand to double-check my instructions (no recipe) before they baked one. When they called back to tell me it was terrible, I realized I had left out one obvious detail...I had told them to wash it, and puts some herbs inside, but I didn't think to specify "take out the guts". They baked it with the innards still in the cavity! Oh, what a yucky mess that must have been! Glad I wasn't there for it.

                            1. re: tandooritaco

                              I make chicken salad or more of a Waldorf salad with chicken, mayo/yogurt, grapes, apples, celery or celery seed, raisins and walnuts. Perhaps we should file this thread under the "Don't yuck someone's yum"?

                              1. re: melpy

                                There's been a lot of yucking other people's yums lately, what's up with that?

                                1. re: melpy

                                  Oh, I understand, I know lots of people enjoy that kind of stuff. If anything, it gives me the perspective needed to not be so judgy when people dislike things I cook because they aren't used to the flavors. Nothing wrong with liking what you like, but the chicken salad you describe is downright alien to my culinary upbringing!

                                2. re: tandooritaco

                                  I'm 66 y.o. and only when I discovered Zuni chicken had I ever felt that I'd roasted a really good chicken.

                                  My chicken salad is chicken, mayo, a dot of mustard, maybe a squeeze of lemon juice, s&p. You wouldn't like it )

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    Ah yes, a good roast chicken is easy, but a perfect roast chicken is a work of art. I've gotten some great ones with Thomas Keller's recipe, but none has been perfect (I should try the Zuni method).

                                    1. re: caseyjo

                                      Even Chef Keller says the Zuni method is the best. I ran into him when we were both looking over cookbooks in same section of the store. He recommended the Zuni Cafe cookbook specifically for the Chicken recipe.

                                    2. re: c oliver

                                      Wow--Thanks for the memory. It's been four years since my only visit to San Francisco, and the beauty of eating the Cafe Zuni chicken for lunch shines out among the best things I've ever eaten (even the panzanella that came with it knocked my socks off). Off to order the cookbook...

                                    3. re: tandooritaco

                                      It's funny, because I usually make roast chicken as my go-to, don't have to think about it meal when entertaining. I'm always surprised by how impressed people are! I always tell that all there is to it is cooking the chicken until it's done. I mean, I usually do additional stuff, like tempering the meat and making sure the skin is really dry, then salting (heavily), trussing, rubbing on sticks of butter after roast, and resting. However, I don't think it has to be that complicated. It's pretty much the easiest dish I can think of (and the one I would teach a 12 year old, if asked to give them a "recipe" to get them excited about cooking).

                                      1. re: caseyjo

                                        What do you mean by "tempering the meat?" I temper egg yolks, but don't think I've ever tempered meat.

                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                          Letting it come up to room temperature (or as close to it as you can) before putting it in the oven. I usually just leave the whole chicken on the counter for an hour before putting it in the oven. By doing this, the meat cooks more evenly.

                                          1. re: caseyjo

                                            Okay, I do that; just never have seen it called tempering before.

                                      2. re: tandooritaco

                                        No not everyone can roast a chicken. It's easy if you're experienced, if not the chicken can be ruined quite easily.

                                      3. Sometimes I worry I'm the one who gets described this way. TBH, many of my friends don't cook and appear to be impressed with the (simple) things I make. But who knows what they're saying when I'm not around!

                                        7 Replies
                                          1. re: tcamp

                                            Same here. My future in-laws, in particular. They are always very courteous when they come over for dinner, but we come from very different backgrounds and have vastly differing tastes.... I'm never sure if they like it or are just saying so.

                                            1. re: Kontxesi

                                              My parents hate it when I cook meat. I'm a medium rare girl. They are charred hockey puck people..... I'm not saying either one of us is right or wrong... we just have different tastes. I try to respect their tastes when i cook now

                                              1. re: Firegoat

                                                I wouldn't say either of you is right or wrong, but you're definitely right! Hockey pucks, cringe.

                                                1. re: Firegoat

                                                  Yep, I have the same issue with the previously-mentioned in-laws! We had them over for steak one night, and they complained about theirs being tough.... I didn't say anything, but I was thinking "Well, if you didn't have him cook it to death, it might have been edible!"

                                              2. re: tcamp

                                                Same here. I can prepare simple things that have gotten rave reviews, but I don't grind my own meat, make my own dough, and I don't know how to temper an egg yolk or what tempering an egg yolk even entails

                                                1. re: Sparkina

                                                  "...and I don't know how to temper an egg yolk or what tempering an egg yolk even entails."

                                                  Very slowly incorporating a hot component (usually melted butter) into the egg yolks in order to raise the temperature without causing them to cook,

                                              3. Cringeworthy, that's a great word. Anything with a cream of is usually a quick comfort dish. I aspire to be a good cook using cookbooks by the likes of Julia Child but in her league far from it.

                                                14 Replies
                                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                                  If I do not feel free to tell a story on myself, how can I possibly tell one on somebody else?

                                                  First Thanksgiving dinner for about 8, including passionate girlfriend. With many calls to my Grandmother 1700 miles away, everything turned out great. Thanks, Nana.

                                                  Couple days later, we decide to have another mass production, and since I did so well the first time, I get picked again. Over the licensed cook from the cafeteria. So I decide beef stew would be perfect. Unfortunately, got involved with girl friend and lost track of time. Using Joy of Cooking recipe, took every short cut I could. Like flouring frozen meat and starting immediately with water and white wine. Making it a one pot meal resulted in a greasy gray solid lump of flour glue with suspect veggies and raw potatoes.

                                                  Roommate from the cafeteria took me under his wing when we rented a house together later. Without girlfriend.

                                                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                    Hmm, one should not mix business with pleasure especially when a novice!

                                                    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                      Last time my fiance and I "got involved" during food prep, the smoke alarm was involved and we had to toss out a perfectly good pot. Bad news.

                                                      1. re: Kontxesi

                                                        No one dare bother me when I'm cooking!

                                                      2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                        Was this the JoC Gaston Stew? My mom made it several times a year, as do I now because I think it's delicious. The first time I made it myself, though, I decided the cooking time was "negotiable." I'll just say that was a big mistake, and leave it there. Wish I'd had your distraction, rather than just my stupidity!

                                                      3. re: Ruthie789

                                                        We have a community cookbook that features submitted favorite recipes from members. Chicken Francaise uses canned cream of mushroom soup. Chicken Italiano uses canned cream of tomato soup. And Chicken Allemande uses canned cream of celery soup.

                                                        My favorite of all is Chicken International Dateline. Uses a mix of all three canned soups.

                                                        1. re: Steve

                                                          LOL....very funny, Steve. I hope not to eat it (or any of them for that matter). Heh.

                                                          1. re: Steve

                                                            To me the canned cream concoctions are comfort food and usually are done in fast preparations. I'm all for comfort and joy!

                                                            1. re: Ruthie789

                                                              I like everything from scratch mostly, but about once a month, my family loves this hamburger stroganoff I make. It's cooked ground hamburger with 1 lb sauteed mushrooms, 2 cans cream of mushroom, white wine, heavy cream, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, garlic, herbes de Provence, and sour cream. We serve it over egg noodles

                                                              1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                                That sounds like the kind of comfort food my other half would absolutely swoon over on a chilly, rainy evening...thanks for a great idea to keep in the back of my mind.

                                                                Personally, I will fess up to liking the "Cream of..." soups in certain cases!

                                                                1. re: ItalGreyHound

                                                                  Hey, I was a Campbell Kid! Never ate that much of it, but my Dad worked for the company for many decades, very much an ethical company that took care of its employees, did recalls when they were needed, his salary put me through college without debt, and his employees stock plan gives me a cushion in my old age. I love the Campbell Soup Company!

                                                                  1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                    We had a Campbell plant in my hometown. They only processed chicken I think and made canned Swanson's chicken and canned Swanson's chicken broth. My parents bought our house from the Campbell's. The plant manager got transferred after living in the brand new house for two months. After he couldn't sell the house, Campbell's bought it from him. The housing market was soft and my dad made a ridiculous offer (something like $10,000 less than it cost to build it) and they took it. This was back in the 70s.

                                                                    I remember every once in a while a chicken would get loose from the delivery trucks and they would be running around loose. A high school buddy thought it would be funny to catch one and turn it loose at the high school basketball game. He was wrong.

                                                        2. My sister in law goes way overboard when cooking. Nothing is subtle. Somehow she thinks more is better. Everything is over spiced, seasoned, portions are humungous. Somehow there is always something off about everything. Like a certain spice, herb, or ingredient that just doesn't belong in there. My dear old mother refuses to go there any more. She lies about her health so she can stay home.ha ha.

                                                          She made a gravy for a roast beef dinner one night and used two bottles of red wine in it. Between that and some unidentified herb, it had no resemblance to gravy or any kind of sauce I had ever tasted, and I have been a professional cook for 30 years. Bless her heart. She tries...

                                                          13 Replies
                                                          1. re: RochCusine

                                                            Do you think she just does that to try and impress you since you're a professional and that's what she thinks professional cooking is? Or does she just always cook that way?

                                                            I have visions of her eating peanut butter and crackers when you're not around.

                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                              I think she always cooked that way. I feel, and this is just my opinion, that she has a bit too much confidence and thinks that you can just throw anything in and somehow it is considered "creative". No real knowledge or respect for rudimentary techniques.

                                                              1. re: RochCusine

                                                                It could just be that she likes things that way, as well. My husband likes things WAY more seasoned than most people do. If it is something that I won't like that I way, I just serve myself and then season his portion.

                                                                1. re: jw615

                                                                  Sure. She can do what she wants. I like peanut butter, ketchup and sambal olek with my sunny side up eggs, but I ain't gonna serve that to anybody. lol

                                                                  1. re: RochCusine

                                                                    The sambal oelik I'll take with eggs - and do regularly, especially since I make my own and have a liter or so of the stuff in the fridge right now - but I'll take a pass on the peanut butter and ketchup.

                                                                    1. re: LMAshton

                                                                      I always put ketchup on my eggs when I was younger. In fact, this practice is not so odd as I learned in another thread. A lot of people do it.

                                                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                        I put ketchup on my scrambled eggs as a kid. I can't remember where I learned it.

                                                                        1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                          My ex wife dipped her french toast in ketchup.

                                                                          1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                            I thought it was my son's excuse to eat ketchup for breakfast.

                                                                            1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                              Scrambled eggs are about the only thing I use ketchup for at home.

                                                                2. re: RochCusine

                                                                  It is very nice that she tries so hard, but she might be watching Guy Fieri too much and thinks that the "more is better" approach is a good idea. So many ingredients, so many conflicting flavors, etc.

                                                                  1. re: Terrie H.

                                                                    Exactly. She should stop and bring out the flavor of the main ingredients instead of trying to some how make it better by over kill.

                                                                  2. re: RochCusine

                                                                    Then you're the perfect person to have a talk with her! Your mother is quite funny.

                                                                  3. A friend served us what I can only refer to as grease braised brisket. I was sick for days after eating only one piece.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                                      Blech. I was brought up in the UK so we are crazy polite to the point of always just eating what we're given and complimenting them on it, then going home with deep regrets. This is why my grandmother still serves her 'famous' appetiser of prawns, mayonnaise, curry powder, tomato puree, garlic puree and a sprinkling of parsley left at room temperature for about six hours before serving. She thinks we adore it. We've never had the guts to tell her that it is a food-poisoning fiesta that tastes of warm hell...

                                                                      1. re: Elster

                                                                        My late mother made a family recipe Swedish braided loaf that over the years lost much of it's appeal because she was - bless her heart - trying to keep up during the holidays. She would make it months ahead and freeze it. When she thawed them out, usually around Thanksgiving, they were like pavers.

                                                                        Smiling all of us, happy to have her bread, we never let on. It ended up in my bread box just waiting to be put out of its misery.

                                                                        Now, years later writing this post, I wonder if I could have cubed it up and made a trifle or bread pudding. I think she would have been happy to try it.

                                                                        1. re: breadchick

                                                                          "Smiling all of us, happy to have her bread, we never let on."

                                                                          That's really the true gift, to me. She made it out of love, not to show off and you accepted her gift.

                                                                    2. MIL once made something she called her special dish - "red meat". Overcooked swiss steak (which I hate to begin with) smothered in "gravy" (her word,not mine) made up of 2 cups of water & 1/2 cup of ketchup.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: ItalGreyHound

                                                                          She got that name from her son who was 3 or 4 at the time she first made it & that's what he called it, so it stuck.

                                                                      1. My close friend’s husband makes some great slow braises, chilies and stews, but he manages to under-season and overcook just about everything else. Just recently I was at their house for dinner, which happened to be baked ziti and a salad, and my friend’s dad, who has limited vision, was seated next to me at the table. He made several attempts to spear the dry, crusty blob of ziti from his plate on to his fork, but then sighed heavily, put his fork down and picked up the ziti blob with his hand and began to eat. When he bit into it, it sounded like he was chewing on melba toast.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: EM23

                                                                          okay...some of you guys are just absolutely making me laugh out loud with these stories! This is my favorite one yet...

                                                                          1. <Does anyone have a friend who thinks they are an amazing cook?>

                                                                            Yes..... Someone lost a bet against me, and she owe me a meal. She decided to cook Chinese because she said that she is good at it. Chinese stir fried noodle to be specific. It was truly bad. I am very forgiving, and people who know me know that I rarely over-criticize restaurants, but her Chinese noodle was bad. Soggy noodle with excessive water (stir fried noodle?) with oversteam vegetables and meat. You cannot pay me to eat that again.

                                                                            1. My ex's roasted asparagus with nearly 1/2 a can of Old Bay sprinkled on top of literally cups of olive oil. He refused to let me cook the asparagus. He did given in once and I prepared it the way I love it with a coating of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic to which he replied "well it doesn't taste like anything." I tried to explain that no it tastes like wonderfully fresh asparagus to a response of "no asparagus has no taste, that's why I have to pour so much stuff on it." It was the same with steak which he refused to listen to me about the proper method to sear and also resting. Resting was for idiots apparently..

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                That made me feel quite nauseous. How could you do that to something so glorious as asparagus?!

                                                                                1. re: Elster

                                                                                  Yea, the best part is that he insists on eating it weekly even though he thinks it has no flavor. I always wondered why he didn't pick another vegetable. Oh and he loves to roast it until stringy and mushy which is just the icing on the cake.

                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                    Well, if he roasts it to death like that, no wonder he thinks it has no flavor. It is strange that he keeps making it. It's not like asparagus is a cheap vegetable.

                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                      Oh my gosh. Why waste your time with such an expensive veg if you think it doesn't have flavor? How terrible.

                                                                                      Also, Old Bay is overrated. I've never understood the appeal. I feel like it would be especially terrible on asparagus....

                                                                                      1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                        Ugh, thank you! Old Bay tastes like accumulated house dust. I don't understand the appeal!

                                                                                2. I too will call myself out...

                                                                                  I was in the habit of making small batches of risotto for me and my roomate. Well, without understanding that it could be made in a large batch in a dutch oven, I offered to make "my risotto" for my mother and relatives. I think I made some chicken piccata as well. The chicken came out well but the risotto was still crunchy. I can't remember why as it that doesn't happen to me anymore, but it was somehow a function of making it in a large frying pan- maybe I filled the pan? I don't know. In any case I was making some type of excuse for it at the table and I'll never forget, my male cousin 1year younger says" I think you just need to COOK it longer." I still think of that sometimes when I'm making risotto and chuckle.

                                                                                  1. For the most part I really enjoy other people cooking for me, and my friends are great cooks. However, in the past when some of my boyfriends tried to cook for me, omg, I volunteered to take over cooking in the relationship. One of them cooked bacon on GF grill and they had a chemical aftertaste, and later we realized that he'd been cleaning the grill with hand wipes and never rinsed it afterward.

                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: SilverMoth

                                                                                      I have the role-reversal thing. New GF invites me over 'for a good home-cooked meal'. As you say, OMG!

                                                                                      1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                        Haha, do you think its a ruse to get the other person to cook and take over the kitchen duty?

                                                                                        1. re: SilverMoth

                                                                                          I was thinking the exact same thing.

                                                                                          1. re: SilverMoth

                                                                                            With apologies to Fawlty Towers:' This tomato sauce isn't fresh.' "Really? I just opened the jar."

                                                                                            1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                              :D Sadly I can kind of relate to that response. :D

                                                                                        2. re: SilverMoth

                                                                                          I used to work 12 hour shifts on Wednesdays, and my boyfriend was always very sweet and would try to have dinner ready when I got home. He wouldn't let me into the kitchen until he was done, even if I heard him cussing and stressing. He was always very proud of himself when he brought me my plate with a huge steak, tons of pasta, and a little veg.

                                                                                          I realized I was destined to be the primary cook in our house the first time I tasted the "gravy", which he had to make every time. I'm no gravy master, but that poor boy can't make a sauce to save his life.

                                                                                        3. My BFF from years ago, who is a pretty good cook, used to make a dish she called Taco Salad. It included cooked ground beef, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions and crushed fritos. All well stirred up with a whole bottle of Western dressing, which was a sweet red 'Russian' or 'Catalina' type dressing. Oh, it might have had olives and/ or shredded cheddar in it, too.
                                                                                          It was a mushy, sugary, salty mess. It was one of those Grin and Bear it dishes.

                                                                                          35 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                            Oh god, that really does sound gross. I imagine it would taste completely fine if you just layered the various components rather than mixing them and drizzled it with a lime vinaigrette rather than a bottle of dressing, too!

                                                                                            1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                              Ha! This is a version of my family's potluck dish, and I'll defend it 'til my dying day! Though it should be doritos, not fritos. And I believe the recipe was torn from a late '80's issue of the LA Times. Also, missing the canned kidney beans!

                                                                                              1. re: dagoose

                                                                                                Funny dagoose! My mom, and sister at times, have made this dish many times over the years for supper, family get togethers and potlucks. I've never been a fan, but never found it gross either. I agree about the ingredients too. ALWAYS Doritos and I think it was canned pinto beans in ours. They will forever defend it as well! :-)

                                                                                                1. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                  My first ex-wife introduced me to this dish. We used regular tortilla chips, hamburger seasoned with a taco seasoning packet, tomatoes, lettuce, shredded cheese, Kidney beans, and Russian dressing. While I found it enjoyable, that was the extent of her cooking ability.

                                                                                                  1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                    I have to surface & confess that my mil makes a taco salad with Fritos that is to die for, as far as comfort food goes. My husband, who is the cook in our family, makes it when we want to be bad (calorie wise - b/c the portions he serves are huge). The flavor comes from the taco seasoned ground beef & cheddar cheese, though, rather than salad dressing.

                                                                                                    The idea of salad dressing gave me a little shiver, but the version she & my dh make is great as a comfort food. Not mixed together but the ingredients are layered over lettuce & the Fritos make it, well, unique. At least for me, as my mom never made taco salad in any way, shape, or form.

                                                                                                    We have a name for it, but I'll refrain from posting that.

                                                                                                    1. re: browndogs2

                                                                                                      This is the taco salad that we make in our family. We used to buy the flat flour tortillas that come with the cardboard form to make the taco 'shell' to serve the taco salad. I decided that was a PITA so I decided to add Fritos to the bottom of the bowl, seasoned meat, cheese, sour cream, and the rest of the salad with a little meat and cheese and Fritos on top. Here's a bit of a confession, I will occasionally put a little Western dressing on top as well as 'taco sauce' that I make. Basically, it's my homemade salsa run through the blender and then a sieve. It's my way of serving chips and salsa where the salsa is squirted on the chip instead of dipped. No double dipping that way.

                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                        If you get REALLY lazy, you could do the girl scout thing and put all that into an individual Frito bag, shake and have a self contained meal. I can't remember what it was called but it was always an easy hit with the troop.

                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                          Walking tacos! Taco-seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, shredded cheddar mixed into an individual bag of Fritos. Those are sold at every summer swim meet in Ohio. :)

                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                            How does one transfer the contents of the bag to ones mouth?

                                                                                                            1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                              They are served with a plastic fork, but I have never understood the 'walking' part. I have never been served a taco I could not carry somewhere if need be.

                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                Well if you run with a plastic fork you could put your eye out.

                                                                                                          2. re: John E.

                                                                                                            I had no idea this dish was so popular! I am fine with all the ingredients except the crushed chips and particularly the Western dressing! Salsa makes sense, but Western? I don't think of sweet dressing when I think of tacos.

                                                                                                            And the chips got soggy in there - when I've made taco salad, I've edged the bowl with whole tortilla chips up where they can't get wet until you dip them.

                                                                                                            1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                                              How long are you waiting to eat the taco salad? I've never noticid the chips completely losing their crunch. The Western is a bit of a nostalgic thing for me. I liked it on regular salads as a kid and then I've made a spicy homemade version of it for the taco salad.

                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                We'd eat it right away. Apparently I am in the minority in the ick department on this one. Though I have no nostalgia for sweet dressings, either. Perhaps some of you are younger than me, and learned to like this dish growing up.

                                                                                                    2. re: dagoose

                                                                                                      My mom made it too but earlier than the late 80's. Maybe it appeared in the LA Times at an earlier date. I loved that dish! The dressing she made was good and not particularly sweet, as I recall. I'm calling her now to get the deets.

                                                                                                      1. re: dagoose

                                                                                                        and here I was enjoying the fact that it did not include the dreaded kidney beans which I detest

                                                                                                        1. re: laliz

                                                                                                          My mom made this with pinto beans instead. I liked it except for the Catalina dressing. I loved it with sour cream and hot sauce.

                                                                                                      2. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                                        My mom made something like this too when I was growing up, and it's why, still to this day, I hate taco salad. Hers also had canned kidney beans in it.

                                                                                                        1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                                          That salad is delicious and nearly impossible to ruin. I can't imagine what she did to mess it up.

                                                                                                          1. re: Nayners

                                                                                                            If it had not had the Western dressing in it, that would have been fine. I like the other stuff. So I guess she didn't mess it up, I just don't think Western Dressing is good in a taco salad. I'd go with sisterfunkhaus..sour cream and hot sauce. Not in love with the crushed up chips, either.

                                                                                                            1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                                              can somebody please explain to me what "western' dressing is. Thanks.

                                                                                                              1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                It's a tomato and vinegar based salad dressing that is also sweet. It's popular in the midwest, less so I think in other places. I know it's not too popular in other parts of the U.S.
                                                                                                                Here's a link to the particular brand.

                                                                                                                http://www.wish-bone.com/product/deta...

                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                  I live in the Midwest and I've never encountered "western" dressing.

                                                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                    Where do you live? Next time you're at the grocery store, check out the aisle with prepared salad dressings.

                                                                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                      It's definitely regional even within the Midwest. I used to live in Illinois, where it was in nearly every grocery, but I've never seen it where I live now in Ohio.

                                                                                                                    2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                      although I am familiar with "Western dressing" and have always considered it a sweet version of French, despite it being marketed as a "savory" version of French (French dressing when I was young was us mixing ketchup and mayo and if we felt 'fancy', a pinch of black pepper) the website you provided (THANKS!) states, "There are 0 stores within 50 miles within the zip code you provided" LOL! so I guess here in the suburbs of New York City we ain't getting that brand of 'Western dressing' at all. and Thousand Island dressing is tough to come by around here as well, which is the same base as French with finely chopped pickles...

                                                                                                                      1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                        Western is a brand of 'French' dressing. 'French' dressing never has mayo. Russian dressing is sort of creamy. There are some brands of 'French' dressing that are labeled as creamy and are orange instead of red. I have put 'French' in quotes because of course French dressing would in actually be a vinegrette.

                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                          John E. the link you provided above states, "Try a savory twist on traditional French dressings... This rich and creamy French dressing is bursting with a savory blend of tomatoes, onion and garlic flavors." It may be a regional thing and an outdated one as well. I haven't seen a diner offer "French dressing" around here in many, many years and it was basically a mix of ketchup and mayo. Orange in color.
                                                                                                                          I do see how it can be marketed and called a "Russian dressing" in many places, but around these parts "Russian dressing" was usually chock full of assorted veggies and could nearly be a salad on its own. "Russian dressing" was also offered usually only as a sandwich spread back then. And died red... without ketchup.
                                                                                                                          Too bad I don't do creamy dressings anymore... this got me all nostalgic.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                            As I said, French dressing seems to be mostly a midwest thing. Even though, Western des ribes their dressing as 'creamy', that has to be a reference to consistency and not a creaminess from mayo. I'm one of 'those people' who cannot tolerate mayo at all.

                                                                                                                            If somebody was making French dressing by
                                                                                                                            Ixing ketchup and mayo, they were really clueless because they were actually making Thousand Island dressing.

                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                              Yes. You are correct. And thousand island included finely diced pickles. Some claim it has many other veggies in it, but then it becomes 'Russian dressing"...
                                                                                                                              I do wish diners around here would offer the 20 varieties of dressing they used to. French, thousand island, et al.
                                                                                                                              We get sugary sweet raspberry balsamic with extra sticky sweetness and poor versions of 'blue cheese' dressing and some "Italian" and even 'creamy Italian' and the like. None of the ones we discussed.
                                                                                                                              Thanks, John E.

                                                                                                                        2. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                          Back to the Wishbone website. The store locator doesn't work. I tried it with my own zip code and it said 0 stores carry the product and I know that they all do.

                                                                                                                        3. re: John E.

                                                                                                                          Thank you. I live in Southern California and I have never seen that before.

                                                                                                                          1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                            It's hit and miss in Arizona. I've been to LA a couple of times but did not set foot in a grocery store.

                                                                                                                        4. re: laliz

                                                                                                                          laliz,It was a brand of dressing that was red and sweet. Are you familiar with Catalina or one of the 'Russian' dressings that were popular years ago?
                                                                                                                          I lived in the Chicago area when my BFF made the infamous Taco Salad with Western Dressing. I don't remember which company made it.
                                                                                                                          Sometimes my girlfriend would mix it half and half with blue cheese dressing. It was intriguingly tasty, in a weird 'do I really want to eat more of this?' kind of way.

                                                                                                                    3. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                                                      Our taco salad is actually somewhat similar, but we always used Italian dressing, and very sparingly. I still love it. But that dressing sounds terrible....

                                                                                                                    4. My wife is Caribbean.

                                                                                                                      In a town we used to live in she found another girl from the same island and they became friends. The girl said that her husband (from yet another Caribbean island) did not like Caribbean curry. We ate at their house one night and boy did we find out WHY he didn't like curry...she couldn't cook a lick! My wife had carried a dish to share and it was delicious.

                                                                                                                      A while after that the girl invited us over for a get together, and asked us to come early so she and my wife could cook curry chicken. As it ended up we brought the seasoned chicken with us and my wife did all the cooking.

                                                                                                                      During the party with this girl's circle of friends we literally heard one of the ladies tell her how she enjoyed the curry. My wife smiled at me and raised her eyebrows thinking that she was about to be pointed out as being a good cook...

                                                                                                                      The girl, our "friend", grinned at the lady and actually said, "It's not hard...I just like cooking for friends."

                                                                                                                      She took all of the credit! LoL

                                                                                                                      We couldn't believe it.

                                                                                                                      We moved a while later...I'm sure that girl is still a crappy cook.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: JayL

                                                                                                                        I can't stand when people do that! Very gracious of you not to call her out on what she did.

                                                                                                                      2. A friend from college always declared herself a good cook. She was her own biggest fan! A house specialty of hers was spaghetti with ketchup with sauteed onions. When I made her a real marinara (with ripe tomatoes & basil from my garden), she didn't like it, and declared that "It sucks."

                                                                                                                        No accounting for taste. It still burns my a** to this day!

                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Sra. Swanky

                                                                                                                          "When I made her a real marinara (with ripe tomatoes & basil from my garden), she didn't like it, and declared that "It sucks."

                                                                                                                          I truly think there was something psychologically wrong with this person.

                                                                                                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                            Hahaha! Could be! She used to yell at me for drizzling olive oil on my baked pasta dishes too. The horror!! ;o)

                                                                                                                          2. re: Sra. Swanky

                                                                                                                            Hahaha I have been given spaghetti with ketchup and fried onions too!! I guess cooking the onions without completely burning them counts as 'good cooking'...

                                                                                                                            1. re: Elster

                                                                                                                              Yup! She called it "Irish spaghetti!" Later on, I found an old 1960s era recipe in the Good Housekeeping anniversary cookbook for Irish-Italian spaghetti that uses a can of tomato soup in it. It made a good weeknight meal - definitely had more depth than the fried onions and ketchup sauce!

                                                                                                                              Maybe I should email her that recipe. :)

                                                                                                                              1. re: Sra. Swanky

                                                                                                                                My mom made a tasty macaroni and beef dish with that soup when I was a kid. I loved that stuff. It is still one of my best memories. I make my mac and beef with Cincinnati chili instead. My daughter begs for it like I used to beg for my mom's.

                                                                                                                                1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                                                                                                  LOVE Cincinnati chili. I ordered Skyline online once. I wish we had chili parlors in the NYC area. The chili over spaghetti/macaroni concept is brilliant. I'd be ordering 3 ways, 4 ways & 5 ways all the time. On second thought, maybe it's better for me that the chili parlors stay in the midwest! ;o)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sra. Swanky

                                                                                                                                    Second that. That stuff is addictive. I actually prefer it over penne or rotini. The pasta catches more of the good stuff that way :) Add some sharp shredded cheddar on top - heaven.

                                                                                                                                    My grocery sells it in the frozen section, and while there are native Cincinnatians cringing out there, to us it's pretty good!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ItalGreyHound

                                                                                                                                      My Mom and Dad ate a version of that. Never referred to it as Cincinnati chili, they were from Toledo, called it Chili Mac---though the pasta was spaghetti. But I do remember 'Two-way, three-way, four way', so it must have derived from Cincy chili. I thought it was good, but I never craved it as they obviously did. A good memory, though.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ItalGreyHound

                                                                                                                                        Native Cincinnatian here, and nope! Doesn't make us cringe. We all turn to the freezer section or cans for a quick chili fix. :)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: OhioHound

                                                                                                                                          When I moved from the Cincy/no. KY area I had my Mom mail me chili care packages.

                                                                                                                            2. I've made so many stupid mistakes I'm pretty sure someone here will out me! From cooking a bird with the giblet bag still inside to not realizing there was a thin plastic film on some rib eyes... yep. I'm that girl.

                                                                                                                              People still ask me to cook for them today tho. Short Ribs, Lemon Bars, Lasagna..... but we still laugh at some of my massive screw ups.

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                I love lemon bars, but am not into baking. You should send me some of yours b/c no one I know bakes them ;-)

                                                                                                                              2. I worked for a place that paid an employee to bake and bring in desserts. They were almost all uniformly bad. Cheap ingredients, burnt cookies, undercooked pies, and watery fruit bars, among other disasters. Turns out baking was just a hobby and she didn't really eat what she made. She admitted she never tasted while she was cooking and rarely sampled the finished product. She actually could produce a halfway decent tiramisu, and that was the only dish that ever was entirely eaten.

                                                                                                                                1. I can probably think of a couple...but I guess if I am going to laugh at everybody else's stories, I should call myself out too...
                                                                                                                                  About 10 years ago...in college...wanted to make homemade meatballs for my then boyfriend (now husband) and his roommate. I can't recall exactly what went wrong (there are so many things) but I think the most telling mistake was that I basically just rolled the ground beef into balls with very little seasoning. No egg, breadcrumbs, binder of any sort. Yeah, I served mediocre hamburger balls in marinara sauce over spaghetti.
                                                                                                                                  They couldn't have been sweeter (I think his roommate said something like, "Huh. These have a different taste than my mom's..." LOL) but my husband still gets a kick out of teasing me about that one...
                                                                                                                                  10 years later, now I know how to make great meatballs! Live, cook, and learn I guess...

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: ItalGreyHound

                                                                                                                                    Sounds like something I did. About 10 yr ago I wanted to cook meatballs for the bf and his roommates. I rolled the balls and plopped them in a big pot of tomatoe sauce ( probably just some jarred sauced with added herbs). Because I didn't want the balls to break, I barely stirred the sauce for the couple hours I had it "thickening" on the stove. It burned and no matter how much sugar I put in it I couldn't hide the burnt and bitter flavor. Embaressed i tried to throw it out but they wouldnt let me. They still ate it and put the leftovers in the freezer ( later consumed).

                                                                                                                                  2. My boyfriend, however, is not allowed to make salads or hamburgers on the grill. (also if he has been imbibing he may not smoke any type of meat as I will find it the next morning as a charred piece of coal) The hamburgers were like giant meatloaf balls .... tough, overcooked and full of eggs, oatmeal, pretty much anything you could think of. Inedible even for him. Do not ask about his salads.

                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                      Oh no, Firegoat - you can't leave us hanging like that! Dish about the salads...pretty please... :)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: ItalGreyHound

                                                                                                                                          Okay. I don't even know how to describe it. He is really into smoking meat which is great and wanted to make me a great dinner. He's a little what I might think ADHD and/or OCD... so dinner can be a six to 7 hour waiting experience. It's like a huge dinner plate with some lettuce on it.... from there it just goes insane. 4 to 5 big hunks of cheese... possibly cheddar... but like 2 by 4 inches wide, random varieties of meat thrown on top... LOTS of pepperoni. Any other kind of cheese in the house. Peppers. Lots and lots of WHOLE peppers and jalapenos.... topped with a nice thick frosting of ranch. And I mean frosting.... like on a cake.... It's like a 5k calorie nightmare. I will ask him to make it again and take a picture. It is that picture worthy.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                            hahahaha. That sounds quite, um, memorable! I will be one who needs to see a picture. Your note about it being a 6-7 hr waiting experience reminds me of my mom and her husband. They are still kind of in the newlywed stage so she doesn't have the heart to bitch at him about how hungry she is while he prattles around trying to make the most complicated freaking dinner nearly every night. Come to think of it, he has made a few cringeworthy things!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: ItalGreyHound

                                                                                                                                              I'll have to encourage him to make "salad" again so I can snap a photo... his one plate could have fed a family of four. He was planning to smoke a pork shoulder today and called me to let me know he was putting it on early this morning since oddly enough he's figured out I don't like being woken up from where I've fallen asleep on the couch at 2 a.m. to eat his creations.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                Yeah. Let's see a pic of him smoking his salad!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                  If you encourage him to make the salad again, he'll conclude that you love it... and you'll get it every week!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: drongo

                                                                                                                                                    Oh please no! But I do have to get a photo. Words aren't enough to describe it. There had to be several cups of ranch on it with a side of ranch. I guess I'll ask him to smoke me some pork or chicken or brisket again.... the salad seems to appear when he's been working at the smoker all day.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                awesome. In the real sense of the word. I'm in awe! haha.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                  That's why I do ALL the cooking in my house! I don't want my husband anywhere near the kitchen. He tried to cook but it's just not his thing. He's better at looking after the cars, the overflowing toilet, etc. and I'll make sure we're fed.

                                                                                                                                          2. My former Brother-In-Law (married to my ex-wife's sister) is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and worked 10 years as the executive chef in the private executive dining room in the headquarters of a large Insurance Company.
                                                                                                                                            He thinks he's a great chef. His family thinks he's a great chef. He has the techniques and skilss of a great chef, BUT he's a LOUSY COOK.
                                                                                                                                            All meats suffer from garlic overkill. All poultry is cooked until it is dried out and then covered with lovely sauces. He canm make the most elaborate display of picture perfect food and after one bite you want to throw up. He loves to cook on the grill, BUT he cooks until the protein is incinerated. Rare or medium is not in his skill set, brown and dry through and through.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                              Haha, this sounds like my dad. He thinks he is a gourmet wunderkind. Everyone finds his cooking very impressive. But that's only because he uses about fifteen tablespoons of turmeric in everything, which makes it such a vivid colour that everyone is completely blown away by how it looks - it all tastes, however, uniformally greasy and awful.

                                                                                                                                            2. Back in grad school a guy I was dating kept telling me that he was a great cook and would make me dinner. He was from Texas, and one night he told me he was coming over to my place and making fajitas. When he arrived with his bag of groceries, he took out some boneless, skinless chicken breast, and a bottle of teriyaki sauce. Noticing my surprise, he explained that he hadn't found any fajita marinade in the supermarket (this was in Boston). The next item to come out of the grocery bag was pita bread. Apparently there were no tortillas at Star Market. I believe the final ingredient was shredded cheddar cheese. At no point in the meal did he acknowledge that (1) this meal didn't resemble fajitas at all, or (2) it was not an example of excellent cooking.

                                                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                  Thank you for giving me an out the next time the promised dish does not come out as expected.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: 2m8ohed

                                                                                                                                                  Well that's just a disgrace to Texas! Maybe he was lying about where he was from:)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                                                                                    Or maybe he was just doing his best with what he had available to work with. I would have found that very endearing and would have given him major points for trying.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                      Oh, he got points for trying. Of course he was just doing his best. Endearing? A little (would have been more so if he had been a little more modest about his cooking skills, as well as other things). Delicious? Well, no. Fusion? Inadvertently, yes... 20 years before Korean bulgogi tacos became a hot thing! Texan? I'll leave it to the Texans to decide. Memorable? Definitely! I haven't seen the guy in 20 years, but I remember the meal vividly!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: 2m8ohed

                                                                                                                                                        "I would have found that very endearing and would have given him major points for trying."

                                                                                                                                                        " Endearing? A little (would have been more so if he had been a little more modest about his cooking skills, as well as other things)."

                                                                                                                                                        Funny how what is "endearing" to others about our SOs is usually annoying to us!

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                        Yes, it was absolutely endearing and he deserves serious kudos for trying!

                                                                                                                                                      3. re: KrumTx

                                                                                                                                                        I live in Texas and I hereby disclaim him. There are plenty of things in Boston grocery stores from which to make fajita marinades, and I live three blocks from Randall's and have been known to make tortillas because it was quicker and easier than going to the store!

                                                                                                                                                      4. re: 2m8ohed

                                                                                                                                                        This happened to me too (grad school and all, although the guy wasn't from Texas). He told me he was an excellent cook, and that he had planned a "chopped" style cooking challenge to see who was better at cooking. Turned out, he bought pre-made pizza-dough, jarred sauce, and toppings. When I tried to chop something, I realized he didn't even have a decent chef's knife.

                                                                                                                                                        Now, there's no shame in not cooking (okay, there's a little shame), but there is shame in lying about being great!

                                                                                                                                                      5. My husband's aunt, bless her. She owns decent cookbooks and has taken some cooking courses, but the problem is that she substitutes fat-free/sugar-free/salt-free ingredients or convenience foods for actual ingredients in everything. When making iced tea, she uses one tea bag per quart of hot water. One. So there's less caffeine, you see. Bless.

                                                                                                                                                        Ever been served a banana pudding made with fat-free Cool Whip (terrifying on its own), sugar-free instant pudding and fat-free, sugar-free. . .can you even call them 'cookies' at that point? I've never been so grateful for my aspartame allergy in my life; it got me out of forcing down a spoonful of that nightmare for the sake of politeness. And the rest of the family (husband excluded) had second helpings and went on and on about how nice it was! She's a lovely woman, she really is, but we've come to the decision that most of his family just hates food.

                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JulesNoctambule

                                                                                                                                                          I have friends who cook like this. Non fat products, fake sugar, etc,, makes fake food! Ugh.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JulesNoctambule

                                                                                                                                                            Having just left my 20's (sniff) I have a number of girlfriends who suffer from this affliction. Combining a bunch of fat-free/sugar-free ingredients together to make a "dessert" that they don't have to feel guilty about eating. I believe I have been served that banana pudding before! And they somehow think that they are serving something delicious and "no one can tell it is a diet dessert!"
                                                                                                                                                            For heavens sake - just make something to indulge in, and enjoy a little bit less...

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ItalGreyHound

                                                                                                                                                              I've always said that the only time food should make you feel 'guilty' is when you have something delicious and you won't share it!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JulesNoctambule

                                                                                                                                                                < when you have something delicious and you won't share it!>

                                                                                                                                                                Shouldn't the double-negative statement be true as well? Like "Sharing disgusting food with others"?

                                                                                                                                                          2. One of my friends got a sous vide and was always posting pictures on her facebook. One honestly looked like a turd and a pile of vomit. She was not impressed when I commented that it looked like things she had found on the pavement.

                                                                                                                                                            17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                Sous vide cooking is amazing. After 2 years, I'm still learning, but I really can't imagine ever cooking fish any other way, except perhaps grilling over mesquite. Give me a tough cut of meat and a couple of days and I can produce something that's meltingly delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                  Sous vide reminds me of nothing so much as the old "boil in the bag" food of the sixties and seventies.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: RosePearl

                                                                                                                                                                      Funny you sould mention that. I just saw this article in Fine Cooking today!

                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.finecooking.com/item/50912...

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                        This is a totally bogus article. It does not take a long time to cook fish sous vide. I'm stymied that so many people are willing to post about something that they have obviously never experienced first-hand. Again, if you think sous vide cooking bears any resemblance to "boil in the bag," you have no idea what you are talking about.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                          I didn't write the article. Someone with credentials wrote it for a respected cooking magazine. We can have our opinion and you can have yours. That's what makes the world go 'round. Don't get so upset.

                                                                                                                                                                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurent_...

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                            I have tried it twice- once in a high end restaurant and once from an accomplished home cook. The first was lamb and the second was beef. Neither were outstanding . Both were what I would call ok but uninspired, nothing to even bother mentioning or posting about.

                                                                                                                                                                            Wile agree it did not have neutral bland taste of the old boil in bag meals I remember from my childhood the process definitely reminds of it.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                        The appeal of a washed out looking piece of meat. The reason for using the method over conventional cooking methods. I've had food cooked in this way at very good, high end restaurants and found nothing special about the dish. It was good, but I personally did not find it any better than other dishes served in the same meal.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                          Heh, why boil an egg in a few minutes when you can sous vide the same thing for an hour.....@-@.....

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                            If you're being served "a washed out looking piece of meat," you're not eating in a "very good" restaurant. Finishing meat with a torch or on a grill is part of the process.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                              No, this was a top of the line restaurant in NYC.

                                                                                                                                                                              "Finishing meat with a torch or on a grill is part of the process."

                                                                                                                                                                              See, this is why I find the process ridiculous. Just grill the piece of meat from the start, for crying out loud. A torch! LOL

                                                                                                                                                                              Sorry, different strokes... If you enjoy it, I apologize for my making light of it. I just don't get it is all.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                You do not appear to understand the process. Let's take a nice steak, for example. Put it on the grill and cook to medium-rare. The outer portion of the steak will be overdone, while the center is medium-rare. Cook the same steak sous vide, give it a quick sear and the entire steak will be perfectly medium-rare, not just the center. (And BTW, torches are common equipment in professional kitchens. They have many uses.)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                  I fully understand the process. i read.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I have a home kitchen and do not aspire to be a professional cook; I really don't care what is found in a professional kitchen. Professional kitchens have salamanders too; I'm not installing one of those.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I can grill a steak to mid rare without the outside being overdone. It is not difficult. Takes me about 20 minutes. How long does a sous vide steak take to cook?

                                                                                                                                                                                  I've already apologized for making light of something you obviously enjoy. What more do you want me to say?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                    You must eat crow cooked in a sous vide, then you will be free

                                                                                                                                                                    2. The worst meals I've ever had were made by nutritionists. The meals met my nutritional needs affordably, no complaints there, but canned green beans - really? Food Science school must have erased their passion for good food. Maybe it is like the minister whose divinity education left him devoid of faith.

                                                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                        I've notice a tendency among professional nutritionists to regard food as a messy inconvenience that gets in the way of their numbers. Also that they don't understand eating for pleasure.

                                                                                                                                                                        As in - "To cut calories and still enjoy dessert, skip the ice cream sundae and have a scoop of fat free cottage cheese sprinkled with cinnamon!", or one blog I saw which recommended an avocado smoothie as an alternative to a McDonald's Shamrock Shake, because they were both green and cold.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                                                                                          an avocado smoothie, if made properly, can be quite tasty. but fat free cottage cheese with cinnamon... not so much.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                                                            Ricotta-yes. We used to have ricotta with cinnamon and sugar growing up.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                                                                                              LOL! Yep. Same here. Mom would make a lasagna and save a bit of ricotta for us. Ricotta and sugar. It was whole milk ricotta though, not fat free cottage cheese.
                                                                                                                                                                              Childhood memories.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                                                              My mother-in-law enjoys fat-free cottage cheese with ketchup. I don't know why, either.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                            I read a kid's book years ago that tackles that issue. To paraphrase:

                                                                                                                                                                            "This meal is nutritionally balanced. It won't kill you."

                                                                                                                                                                            "It will if I don't eat it. I'm going to starve!"

                                                                                                                                                                          3. I would rather my friends try and fail than not to bother. Entertaining to me is so much more than the food.

                                                                                                                                                                            One of my siblings is an accomplished chef and his biggest complaint is that people are too intimidated to invite him for dinner. How sad is that? His good friends have gotten over it and often invite him for food he doesn't make but so many casual ones never reciprocate because they are afraid he will judge them. They don't understand what a gift it is to have someone else cook!

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                              it is sad. the tuna casserole is just FINE. in fact, it's delicious! the invitation is worth more than anything! time with friends and family and home cooked food. precious.

                                                                                                                                                                              have family that serves frozen Costco apps and/or a local place delivery. still ok.

                                                                                                                                                                              have family that tries and makes it ok. just fine. i'll even eat the sugary sweet raspberry dressing with a handful of 'spring greens' salad with walnuts , Danish blue cheese and dried cranberries. and the broiled steak well done, dry and whatever. we're together. enjoying time together.

                                                                                                                                                                              and I ain't the one cooking, for once :-)

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Another confession. I was a terrible cook just out of college. My mother didn't cook, and I never planned to either. Boyfriend enters the picture. His mother is a terrific cook. She becomes my MIL. Lucky for me, she is patient and teaches me to cook. Slowly I gained confidence, and we started to entertain. Luckily our friends were game for just about anything.

                                                                                                                                                                              I was working through a cookbook and decided to make a chocolate mousse. Well, I guess I missed the instruction to dissolve the espresso in water. Yes, the mousse was crunchy! We still laugh about that today.

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JKDLady

                                                                                                                                                                                You are adorable! I've done the same thing too! :)

                                                                                                                                                                              2. This is actually a restaurant experience...

                                                                                                                                                                                Pizza Hut in Sri Lanka. Many things are localized, like you can get baked rice & chicken stuffed in a pizza crust. Not my cup of tea, but some locals like it, so who am I to argue? And wherever a pizza in the west calls for sausage, they use weiners. Yeah, I'm cringing over that. But that's not even the really bad part.

                                                                                                                                                                                We, the family, sat down to eat in a Pizza Hut a few years back. I ordered the lasagna thinking it's pretty standard and it'd be hard to mess it up. Boy, was I wrong!

                                                                                                                                                                                Instead of using herbs like basil or marjoram in the sauce, they used parsley. And not just a little bit. There were layers - solid freaking layers - of parsley. Multiple layers. So much parsley that that was all that could be tasted. And it was bitter - bolted from too much heat, I'm guessing. And it was the worst tasting parsley lasagna I've had in my life. It actually registers as quite possibly the grossest tasting thing I've ever had ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                You can't send food back there. Waitstaff don't care, management don't care, owners don't care (not just Pizza Hut, but just everywhere in general). You don't like our food? Get out! But not before paying your bill! They won't take it off the bill, they won't bring you anything else. Even if you don't eat it, even if you find hair or a fly or something in it, it's still on the bill, and something that's just made wrong? Nah, it won't even register on the scale of possible sympathy they won't ever give out. It's a total crapshot when eating out. Sadly.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. A confession on myself:

                                                                                                                                                                                  out of college, thought I could cook, and I wanted vegetable soup. Was raised in a household that hardly ever saw a fresh vegetable, just canned.

                                                                                                                                                                                  So, bought a can of corn, can of peas, can of tomatoes, can of potatoes (yes, there's such a thing), can of green beans, and a can of beef broth.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Just vile (gee, wonder why?). Now I laugh my head off!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                    and now you cook well enough you could take those same canned ingredients and make it quite palatable no doubt. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                      Only if a bottle of tequila is involved.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Generally, I don't think it's an issue of skill, as much as it's a questionable taste level ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'll poke fun at both myself and a friend. One of my friends seasons chicken breast by pretty much pouring on dried herb blends (she likes things "spicy"). The chicken gets cooked to 180 or so, then put in the fridge, then microwaved to order. She tells me I shouldn't bother springing for the free range chickens at the farmers' market, because she can get them so much cheaper at the bargain grocery store (!!) and "it's impossible to tell the difference."(?!?!?)

                                                                                                                                                                                    In college, I entered a baking competition at my part-time job. I had baked a ton with my mom, but never meringues. However, I decided to make them anyway, because they sounded French and impressive. Unfortunately, I didn't really know what "beating egg whites until stiff peaks form" meant, and I just whisked them until I got bored of it. The recipe ("forgotten cookies") calls for preheating the oven, then turning it off and leaving the cookies in overnight. The next morning, the cookies were pretty much lumps of hardened sugary egg whites. That was about when my roommate told me I should probably invest in a hand mixer.

                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: caseyjo

                                                                                                                                                                                      <Generally, I don't think it's an issue of skill, as much as it's a questionable taste level ;-)>

                                                                                                                                                                                      That is even worse in practice. I think you are correct though.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: caseyjo

                                                                                                                                                                                        Generally I think you're right, people who cook terrible things for others just have very individual tastes and don't seem to realise their friends do not share those idiosyncratic preferences.

                                                                                                                                                                                        However, I do think it's lack of skill that makes my grandmother think the right way to cook cabbage is to leave it on a high boil for an hour before serving. Oh god.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Elster

                                                                                                                                                                                          <I do think it's lack of skill that makes my grandmother think the right way to cook cabbage is to leave it on a high boil for an hour before serving.>

                                                                                                                                                                                          But she still have to like the taste to think it is the right way

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                            not necessarily

                                                                                                                                                                                            in looking back to my grandparents, taste often was not the most important part of food. cooking it to make sure you killed all the baddies, sifting to make sure there were no bugs left, washing and peeling to make sure there was no dirt or rocks. and because some one told them that food that was boiled to death was somehow healthier. and be sure to eat every bit of fat from that pork chop young man, its good for you.

                                                                                                                                                                                            at the turn of the last century they had different priorities. after that the depression and rationing during two world wars also had major influences. and when the cabbage you get hasn't been in cold storage but has been out of the ground for quite a while, sometimes cooking it a long time isn't necessarily a bad thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Elster

                                                                                                                                                                                            That's how my husband's mother cooks broccoli. It makes me weep silently. She can bake wonderful things that thrill and delight but, as her own son says, what she does to innocent vegetables should be against the law.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I had a friend whose signature dish was roast beef... but cooked WAY WAY beyond well-done to the point that the meat was hard like piece of wood. Actually the bark on that wood was tasty. But the meat itself was horrifyingly tough and dry, though she and her husband boasted about it. They both thought it was great, so I kept my mouth shut and went along for the ride.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: drongo

                                                                                                                                                                                            yes, i've had roast jerky myself a time or two. but you know with enough bad gravy you don't mind the meat so much.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. When I was a budding eager cook .. Newly married and wanting to impress my spouse.
                                                                                                                                                                                            I decided to try my hand at a chicken and rice soup that I favored from the mall I worked at.
                                                                                                                                                                                            So I poured all the goodies necessary (I thought ) into the good old crock pot .
                                                                                                                                                                                            Came home to find cement .
                                                                                                                                                                                            Embarrasses and eager to erase my disaster , I dumped it all into the toilet .
                                                                                                                                                                                            Yep. Flushed and no go. Flushed again and not going to happen.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Move on to the plunger .. 2 blisters later the tub is now full of my soup from Hell.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Call the plumber later and defeated ... We ordered Chinese .

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. My friend makes these chicken enchiladas with canned chicken and canned cream of chicken soup - they're absolutely awful. And for what he spends on all the ingredients to make it, he could have just gone to Taco Bell. It's not like his "homemade" enchiladas are any healthier or less processed - it's all stuff out of a can loaded with salt, preservatives and MSG.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Atomic76

                                                                                                                                                                                                The stuff at Taco Bell is probably healthier. Especially the Fresco menu items.

                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.tacobell.com/food/menu/fresco

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. My mother, who admits she's not a good cook in general, makes "the best macaroni salad". It's standard issue, with elbow mac, chopped eggs, mayo, pickle bits, and her secret weapon: a splop of yellow mustard. It's just horrible. And at any summer gathering, it's there.
                                                                                                                                                                                                I shit you not, I carried my plate inside to "get a fresh beer" last year and threw it down the garbage disposal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                                                  "It's standard issue, with elbow mac, chopped eggs, mayo, pickle bits, and her secret weapon: a splop of yellow mustard."

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe I'm missing something here, but that's pretty close to macaroni salad my mother always made and I loved it. Maybe it's in your mother's execution where it goes wrong? Sounds like an all-American macaroni salad to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm pretty sure it was in the execution. It's not a favorite dish of mine, but she way over cooked the pasta and put in a ton of mustard. Yuck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fair enough.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      A "ton of mustard" is obviously way too much. A tablespoon or so per pound of pasta is about right, in my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Agreed. But she would go at least triple on that, and it just didn't result in anything good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's how I make mine, sans mustard, hold the pickle...I use sliced pimento stuffed olives lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. My sweet MIL can't cook a whit. She used to make something called "Soupy Hamburger". "Nuff said. End thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I can always win in "my mother-in-law was the worst cook" debates - my mother-in-law did not brown brown-and-serve rolls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: littlemissmuffin

                                                                                                                                                                                                        My Dad put a TV dinner (when they were called that) in the oven, box and all. When Mom got home as asked the crazy "why...." question, he said "they're supposed to be instant."

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. "Cringeworthy" is the perfect word for the meal a friend's wife served. It was a layered casserole, bottom later rice and cream of celery soup, next layer canned chili, next layer VERY overcooked chicken breast, topped with melted Velveeta. Now, I enjoy good food but I am not a snob about it, I will eat almost anything, and while not everything is delicious most things are fine. But presented with "Chicken Chili Bake" I could hardly bring myself to take a bite. And when I did, it was so horrid taking another was a real feat of mental strength!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The oddest thing about this meal was that it was the last thing I expected from this couple. I barely know the wife, but she is so thin and this meal was HEAVY. He is a granola-hippy type, built some geo-thermal dome thingy to grow herbs in a year-round, and wants desperately to quit his job and "live off the land." The reason we went to visit them was so my daughter could see the two baby goats he is raising to try to make cheese. I had reckoned him a vegetarian, so when he asked us to come for dinner and goat-viewing, I expected a completely organic, brown rice, home-grown type meal. Wow, was I wrong!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: littlemissmuffin

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wow. As I read this, I wondered if they normally eat the "organic, brown rice, home-grown type meals", but made this modern urban omnivore special just for you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: drongo

                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's what I was thinking. Velveeta and home
                                                                                                                                                                                                          cheese-making just don't go together. lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                            ya maybe... but my mom is not skinny..she is kind of fat and doesnt eat junk food or processed crap or anything people thing "sterotypical" fat people do...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have to admit. I've made a LOT of cheese at home. I've bought a lot of really good cheese. But for certain applications nothing beats the cheese in a box!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: drongo

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh no! I hope that meal was not for my benefit!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              When I expressed surprise to my husband afterwards, he said he was just surprised we weren't served takeout pizza. Apparently neither of them cook, so why they grow herbs I cannot understand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: littlemissmuffin

                                                                                                                                                                                                              While that casserole sounds foul, I think I would endure it just to be around baby goats – seriously! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QloBsF...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                                                                They were sweet! My husband is afraid of goats (he was bit by one at a petting zoo when he was a child, and thirty years later he still gets all skittish when we get near the goat barn at the fair) but even he loved them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As the former Dairy Goat Queen of Kansas I laud your obsession.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Given your Royal Highness status as Goat Queen, can you explain your screen name? Maybe "as in cooked goat?" I've heard of fainting goats, but not fire ones. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It turns out that I was born in the Chinese year of the Fire Goat. So that, combined with my love of raising and showing dairy goats, seemed like an appropriate name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          On another thread I once wrote the story about my father's family resorting to eating the family's pet goat during an especially diffiicult winter during The Depression.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Here he is: "Billy the Goat"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Interesting! I've wondered myself :) I love hearing the stories behind everybody's CH screen names. Actually thought that might be a fun thread to start sometime...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ItalGreyHound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They exist. I bet some time spent searching would find them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh good, there are others:) It worries me when I think about the amount of time that I have spent watching baby goat videos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Uh yeah, on my birthday, my best friend sent me a series of videos that showed a baby goat playing with puppies. She gets me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I feel we can talk, Julie. I pin baby goat videos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I, too, agree that goats are lovely little critters. They're like giant puppies. Years ago, I used to have to drive past a field of goats every day, and then every few days, I'd get a bag of baby carrots and stand at the fence and feed them. This went on for months until the crazy redneck goat owner ran out and started yelling at me :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              To be fair, if someone I didn't know was feeding my livestock without my permission I'd be a bit freaked out. There are crazy people out there. I probably would have just come over and introduced myself tho and check out what you were doing with my goatikins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. I have a good friend who thinks that she is an amazing cook. She puts an enormous amount of effort into meals, and is extremely proud of her efforts. Unfortunately, the outcome is rarely good. On a good day, it’s mediocre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I’ve had nasty garlic mashed potatoes. She insisted on boiling the large baking potatoes whole, and they didn’t get done. So we had crunchy mashed potatoes. I had a hard time hiding my reaction when I bit into a chunk of raw garlic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fruit salad consisted of wonderfully fresh peaches mixed with frozen blueberries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don’t think that I’ve ever seen her serve vegetables of any kind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        She’s made fried chicken that was burnt on the outside and raw on the inside. She doesn’t use a meat thermometer, so she just goes by if the thinks it’s cooked long enough. So far, though, no food poisoning, so that’s a plus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There are too many other examples to list. I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I’m always glad when we decide to eat out!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PeachRoseMN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wow - you and your stomach have endured a lot! You're a good friend, Peach!! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: PeachRoseMN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was reading through this whole thread with amusement, thinking i had never endured one of these lousy dinners made by someone who thought they could cook. But your post brought back a deeply buried memory that I wish had stayed buried.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My husband and I were invited to someone's house (can't even remember who the people were anymore) and the guy was making us his "famous" fried chicken and rice pilaf. He didn't start cooking until we were there, so dinner was delayed by hours. The fried chicken was completely raw on the inside and the rice had so much cinnamon dumped into it that it was inedible. It was actually dark brown from all the cinnamon. Ghastly!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We have also had barbeque dinner at someone's house where they took the pieces of chicken right from the packages and put them on the grill. No rinsing or cutting off the big blobs of fat. Nasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There was also a dinner party where the hostess was very well-meaning and wasn't trying to pass herself off as a great cook by any means. She was a devout Hindu and vegetarian but decided to cook some meat for her guests. It was turkey cutlets covered in ketchup and american cheese. So we all ate some, thanked her, and appreciated her caring enough about her guests to go outside her comfort zone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              AmyH: "We have also had barbeque dinner at someone's house where they took the pieces of chicken right from the packages and put them on the grill. No rinsing or cutting off the big blobs of fat. Nasty."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is how most everyone I know "barbeques dinner". Whether chicken, steak, chops, etc. From the plastic wrapped package onto the grill. I've seen someone sprinkle salt and a dash of pepper on the grill once, but that's it. Bottle of barbeque sauce at the table for those who want.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There are usually leftovers at those barbeques. Lots of them. One piece of meat and a scoop of mayo based salad and most are ready for dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And of course that dessert is laden with cool whip!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I enjoy the company so much more those days than I do the "food"... LOL!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So much more for me to work with when I do the grillin'.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And I don't know from leftovers! LOL!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "There is a time and place for everything"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  time and again i read that you should NEVER rinse off chicken. and don't t hose big blobs of fat just melt away. if the meat is properly cooked i fail to see the issue, although I admit some salt and pepper always help.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. My late mom was an okay cook, especially considering my grandmother was absolutely the world's worst cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There was the infamous pork tartare incident.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My mom had invited our neighbor whom she worked with over for dinner since his wife was away. She only had about two hours from when she got home to make dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              She had put the frozen pork cutlets in the refrigerator before she went to work that morning. She took them out of the fridge and they seemed to be thawed. So she breaded and pan fried them then put them aside to make the rest of dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So a half hour later we're sitting around the table and when we cut into them we found out they weren't quite thawed when she took them out of the refrigerator. All that frying had accomplished was to complete the thawing process but had not actually cooked them beyond a nice crispy outside.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Well they were quickly rounded up and microwaved for about five minutes to remedy the situation. But my mom was so embarrassed to serve her co-worker raw pork cutlets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Naturally my sister and I had great fun for years teasing her about her famous pork tartare whenever she made pork cutlets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Wolfsbane

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That reminds me of a magazine article I read once, of someone reminiscing about English school food in the 1970's. He said the fish fingers weren't fully defrosted, so they were nice and brown on the outside, but the insides were icy. The students called them "fish popsicles."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. The food writer, Laurie Colwin, wrote on this subject. Actually, that's a bad description, she's a novelist and essayist who happens to write a lot about food. Anyway, she wrote a very funny piece in her book "Home Cooking", called "Repulsive Dinners: A Memoir".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Any food-interested person should read her books. There is something very sweet and human about her writing, and sadly she died far too young.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MarkC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I just last week re-read Colwin's book for the first time in decades, almost started a thread about it. I agree she is a fine writer, 'Repulsive Dinners' at the top of the list. She bought into the nutritional mythology of the times, about saturated fat and cholesterol---I mean, she ate it, but had to go through a guilt trip about it. Also, her doctor talked her into giving up salt (doctors know medicine, but nothing about food). I felt that I would like to have known her. But through reading her food writing, I did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. YES! i know this mom from a mom group. very competitive, passive agressive and slightly narcissistic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  anyway, she's a "Baker". she made cupcakes for our friends' child birthday party. they looked beautiful with fluffy frosting. once you tasted this creation you realized it was over baked cupcakes from a mix and food dye in canned frosting. she's constantly boasting about her baking and frankly, everything i've tasted is awful. part of the problem is people seem to feel the need to compliment her. the proof should be in the pudding when half eat cupcakes are in the garbage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I've made many cringeworthy things. One of my favorite was a savory rosemary/parmesan shortbread that we saw on 5 Ingredient Fix on the FN while at my sister's house. It called for fresh rosemary. We only had dried. Rather than looking up substitution ratios I said... well we should obviously double the amount! It still tasted pretty good.... but she has a very large house and you could smell that rosemary for days... even in the basement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. My cousin went to newlyweds home. The bride was excited to serve pasta with sauce. She opened a box of pasta, put on each plate, then poured (heated) sauce over it

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. My BFF has told me repeatedly that her family will only eat her broccoli beef, and Japanese curry chicken. Welp...the beef is tough, and the broccoli is green/gray from being overcooked, and not blanched in salted water beforehand. The curry is soupy. But I love her like a sister I never had.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. All this just confirms my belief that you should never serve family comfort food recipes to anyone who doesn't specifically request them. And it's probably a good idea to limit those requests to family members, because your grandma's meatloaf is probably not your best friend's grandma's meatloaf. My aunt once made these... I'm not sure what they were. Some variation on chicken-fried steak, in the style of my grandmother. Now, they were poor growing up, so this was a recipe designed to stretch ground meat for a big family. (Yeah, chicken-friend steak made from ground meat). My aunt was so proud, because it was just like her mom used to make. On the way home, my mom mentioned "I always hated those things. You had to drown them in ketchup to make them edible."

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Terrieltr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And there's the corollary to that--don't try to update someone's comfort food just because you think it's better that way. If someone wants green bean casserole, they want what they think of as green bean casserole, not some doctored up version.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Terrieltr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is no doubt true, Terrieltr. I make my mom's version of sloppy joes just for me. (and my old college roommate if she visits because she lived with me for 3 years and loved the stuff.) Of course now I'm thinking about making it for the new boyfriend and seeing how he responds. It's a weird taste, but it's the only sloppy joe for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Everyone makes mistakes but it does crack me up when people just thing they are awesome cooks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A friend of mine cooked some shrimp she took out of the freezer a bag of the tiny little ones. The ones I feed my pet turtle when I was younger. Proceed to fry them until chewy and dump way too much Cajun spice on top. I tried to be nice and say they were a little over spiced for me but she came back with "Everyone loves them so much this way. they just can't get enough of them".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I worked with a lady once who was a self professed Baking queen. She would bring cookies around to share with everyone. I once had one and thought to myself that they tasted like toll house store bought cookie dough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Several weeks later we were talking and I mentioned I love to bake as a hobby and I bake cookies from scratch too. That is when she said, oh no, I don't do that I just buy the dough from the store. It's much easier that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Another friend of mine serves green been casserole for every dinner we've ever had at her house. I like to have some with my Thanksgiving dinner but man ever dinner you make? She did one time call it her "signature dish".

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the lady you once worked with got such a boost from your comment that she is still telling everyone that the dough from the store is just as good and better than 'from scratch'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i'm finding out that to many "baking" means a box of Betty Crocker not take butter and flour with sugar. it's the weirdest concept for me that people can't even wrap their heads around baking from scratch. these mom's at my son's preschool confessed and told me how amazed they are how I bake everything from scratch.I just nodded my head and politely smiled bc i just don't get it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm not much of a cake baker, but when I do make a cake (a couple times a year) I make them from scratch. I think it takes about 5 minutes longer than a mix, if you are melting chocolate, then a little longer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      yeah, i think people take the definition of "home made" too literally. yes, it's "home made" bc i made it in my oven but it's slice and bake. i do think some mix cakes have good consistent texture but to say you're just a master baker or an avid baker is a long shot when it's always out of a box.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      a friend of mine was so proud when he announce that his girlfriend had made his birthday cake from scratch, it wasn't store bought at all. she confessed to us that it was from a box, but since she added eggs and milk he called that 'from scratch'. He had never seen anyone make a cake and bake it at home, was simply amazed that it could be done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. My wonderful sweet greatest southern cook ever grandmother tried her hand at fettucine Alfredo a few years back and thought it was excellent. She normally is the greatest cook on earth but not that. No way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. My Ukrainian grandmother fancied herself an expert on Italian cooking, but she was far from it. Never had a more bitter and disgusting tomato sauce as the slop she cooked up.