August Monthly Mouthful

Is it really August already?! Wow, we can’t believe it. That mean’s that The Monthly Mouthful is officially one year old! It all started with the “Last Supper” and now here we are, 12 months and 12 food-inspired questions later. We’re so grateful to all our participants, who have shared their foodie expertise and experiences this past year. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you!

So to celebrate, how about we share in a good laugh? Because this month we asked our favorite food bloggers to:

“Tell us about your biggest kitchen disaster. What went wrong and how bad was it?”

Read all the hilarious stories and share your own cooking catastrophe after the jump!

Lydia from The Perfect Pantry:

Well, so many disasters to choose from … but the scariest was the tomato sauce that turned into an alien life form! I spent all day making a pot of marinara sauce. I thought I was being so efficient, making a huge batch in my largest pot so I’d have lots to put in the freezer. When the cooking was finished, I turned off the heat and left it to cool. And I forgot about it for a few hours. Yikes! I went running into the kitchen, and the sauce was gurgling and oozing and turning green around the edges. By mistake (well, I didn’t know better at the time), I’d used an aluminum pot, and it was reacting with the acid in the sauce. And a whole day’s work went right down the disposal!

By the way, there’s a great illustrated book called RECIPES FOR DISASTER. Every cook should have a copy in the kitchen!

Emilie from The Conscious Kitchen:

This is not a cooking related disaster, but it is my biggest kitchen related disaster! It occurred on the evening of our third Valentines Day that my now husband and I spent together. It was our second Valentines as quasi-adults living together out of college and I decided to make a fancy dinner to surprise him. I finished up at school early, did the shopping and was all ready to cook when, walking into the kitchen with arms full of groceries, I slid on something wet on the floor. It was blood. Panicked investigation turned up the cause.

Our young cat, Odin, was urinating blood. Dinner prep time immediately turned into sitting at the Veterinarian’s office time with poor Odin. Hours later I returned home with an unhappy cat, medication, a number of bloody spots to clean up throughout our apartment and a mess of defrosted berry juice leaking all over from the groceries I’d left out while rushing Odin to the vet. Instead of cooking, I cleaned. That task accomplished and the house in a more sanitary condition, I took stock and changed some plans, scaling dinner back. It was a less festive affair, but one that I was sure I could accomplish in time.

I was washing the vegetables and running through my game plan when a “KERTHUNK” sounded under the sink with a “gush” and a “gurgle” following fast on its heels. Water poured out of a pipe under the sink, soaking the recycling stored underneath it and flowing into the cabinets and onto the floor. Another frantic phone call and clean up later I again took stock of the situation. I was down one sink and three and a half hours, up one sick cat, two repair men and soaked kitchen. I cried, laughed, made some pasta and felt like a real adult.

Radish from Sassy Radish:

My biggest kitchen disaster was trying to make pie dough from scratch on what turned out to be the most humid summer day. And the dough just fell apart. No matter what I tried, it refused to cooperate – it was simply falling apart, tearing, getting stuck to the counter. I’ve since made a successful pie crust (several) but the initial fear remains because it was such an ego-deflating experience that it has stuck out in my memory beyond any other. In the end, the cherry pie that was supposed to happen, didn’t. I threw out the dough and ate the cherries as they were.

Matt from Two Yolks:

My biggest disaster had nothing to do with the food. Last year, we were hosting Thanksgiving. My parents had flown in from out of town and my 8 months-pregnant cousin and her family was going to drive down that day. I had planned a complete menu, had a turkey ready, and, on Thanksgiving-eve, was trying to bake several pies for the next day. At this point, I determined that my oven no longer worked! Without an oven, there’s no way to roast a whole turkey.

After a bit of panic, I decided I could finish the pies in the toaster oven but I needed the oven the next day. Then, I called my cousin’s husband and told him we’d be coming up and have Thanksgiving at their house. We packed everything I could possibly need (pots and pans included) early the next day.

While I wasn’t particularly familiar with the oven or stove, we made it work and had a great Thanksgiving.

Gilli from So So Simple Food:

I think one of my biggest disasters, was making a Red Velvet Cake,

I read a book called “The Two Miss Margarets” set in Southern USA. Of course being Southern there was a reasonable amount of obsession about food. There were 2 cakes in there…Red Velvet Cake and Mayo Cake, neither of which I have ever heard of, but was intrigued. I live in the Antipodes you know!!! These are pure American Cakes definitely not in our cook books. So I googled it. I was cooking a lunch for our staff and decided that I would make one of each cake. They are young and love sweet things. Of course I had no idea what it was supposed to be like but I went ahead anyway.

Started early in the morning with the Red Velvet Cake. Unfortunately the cake tin I picked was really too small for the batter. It seemed to be in the oven for ages. Took it out. Stuck a skewer in…came out clean. (Sometimes they lie!) A nice thick cake all looking good on the outside. Cut it in half and it was very uncooked in the middle…Oh dear. Popped it back in the oven… still wasn’t looking good..I was getting stressed as I had the rest of the lunch to prepare and time was running out.

The solution: I cut out the uncooked bits, filled the rest of the cake with strawberries and cream, stuck the 2 halves together and covered them with frosting. A huge success. Everyone loved the red cake…very unusual. It was sensational. In fact it was requested by one young man for his birthday treat. By the way the Mayo Cake worked. I was very popular. And, I completed the lunch by the time they all arrived.

Sharon from Chocolate Chipped:

Hmmm, I’ve had more than a few kitchen disasters, but the one that stands out the most to me was when I was 12 years old and took on the task of baking my older sister’s birthday cake. Everything went fine until I got to the frosting, when I realized I didn’t have any confectioner’s sugar. When you’re 12 you can’t exactly run out to the store so I decided to improvise.

I figured that confectioner’s sugar was 1) sweet like sugar 2) soft and smooth like flour–so I decided that a good substitute would be to combine white sugar and flour to use in place of the missing confectioner’s sugar.

My family was quite surprised to bite into the birthday cake and taste crunchy, flour-y frosting–it was awful, and I got teased about it for years! :-)

Ever since then I follow baking instructions to the letter and I never try to wing anything having to do with baking. (Remarkably, even when I think I’m following all the instructions exactly, sometimes things still don’t turn out! Ugh :( )

Christie from Fig and Cherry:

My first attempt at pumpkin soup. I poured the hot vegetables and stock into the blender and turned it straight on. Splat! The lid flew off and orange chunks and liquid completely covered my kitchen. I kept finding little smudges in nooks and crannies for weeks! Please friends, allow contents to cool before blending. I learnt the hard way.

Rita from Clumbsy Cookie:

I had incredible disasters, but the first that popped my mind was once that I made bread and forgot the yeast! I was working in a hotel and had to do 3 types of bread every morning. I liked baking it last minute so the guests could enjoy it fresh from the oven at lunch. One day when I went to shape the rolls, I noticed that the dough had not risen at all. F#$%&”#%$! It was already so late! Good thing I had a few frozen for emergencies, they were enough for the first guests!

Becke from Columbus Foodie:

All of my major kitchen disasters involve eggs. Either egg shells dropped into a cake batter in the mixer, or eggs dropped on the floor, or eggs exploding when I hard boil them, but the worst has to be when I added eggs too quickly to a choux batter and it became a nasty clumpy mess.

Nicole from Up To The Moon:

One Easter Sunday I made a gorgeous 4-layer lemon cake from scratch. The layers were filled with lemon curd and the cake top was piled high with homemade whipped cream and fresh blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. I must admit it was absolutely beautiful and I couldn’t wait to serve it; I was just a wee bit proud of myself for creating such a fabulous dessert. The cake was presented and got many oohhs and aahhs. When I cut into it I was having a bit of trouble but couldn’t figure out why. Everyone was eating their slice when I noticed people were chewing strangely and then spitting something out of their mouths. I took a bit of my piece and realized that I forgot to remove the parchment paper from the cake rounds (which I used to line the cake pans). Needless to say, my pride dissolved and I was so embarrassed!

Lore from Culinarty:

Since my oven doesn’t behave itself, I’ve started baking in the microwave. The first thing I did was search for directions and how-tos but I didn’t find much. I refused to give up and started to experiment instead. After some good bakes I’ve decided to try my hand at making tozzetti. I followed a recipe I’ve found but when it came to the baking part it was all up to me. And I blew it! I still don’t know what went so terribly wrong (baking time or settings) but I ended up with a couple of baseball bats. They were impossible to slice! Good for baseball, but very, very bad for my teeth :(

Melissa from Alosha’s Kitchen:

Pizza dough. I could not get it to rise or be the right consistency. And it wasn’t even my own dough. It was bought at my local Italian market (which I DO love). The girl there told me to add a splash of olive oil to it and put it in a bowl with a warm towel over it. I don’t know what happened, but it wouldn’t rise. I’m thinking the oil was a bad idea. I tried adding flour, but ohhh way too much flour. And then I ended up in tears. But the meats and sauce were good, so I switched gears and made a pasta dish instead.

I keep saying lately that I’m going to give pizza another shot and this question just motivated me more. So I told my husband last night that attempt number two will be this Friday. And this time I’m making my own dough. I’m going to try anyway!

Jeanette from Cooked From The Heart:

My biggest kitchen disaster was the triumph and failure of cooking my first turkey.

My mom always cooked turkey for Thanksgiving and she usually started at the wee hours of the morning, so it has always been a mystery of how the perfectly browned and succulent turkeys ended up in the oven. When I met my husband, who just loves turkey, I thought I would show off and cook him a turkey. So I found a recipe, bought a turkey and got ready to cook it. Now I’ve cooked plenty of chicken roasts before, so I was looking for the liver and gizard on the inside cavity of the turkey but for some reason this particular turkey that I bought did not seem to have the innards with it. Oh well, I just went ahead and baked my turkey according to the recipe, and it was perfect! It was evenly browned, it was moist and everyone oohed and aahed over it during dinner. We’ve all had our fill but my brother in law still wanted seconds so he goes back to carve more when we heard him say, “hey, what’s this?” and proceeded to pull out a plastic bag from under the top flap of turkey skin, dripping with bloody juices. I thought, so that’s where the liver and gizzards went!! Needless to say, that put a halt to everyone’s appetite for more turkey. Good thing we had lots of dessert ready.

Anne-Marie from My Readable Feast:

My worst kitchen disaster was the time I had made a venison roast in a large, stainless steel slow cooker, a present from my husband a few years back. At the time, I had a three-year-old son and an infant daughter, and was exhausted from taking care of the children. With my lack of energy, all I could manage to do was to braise the roast, cut up some onions, potatoes and carrots and cover the whole thing in beef broth and dried onion soup mix.

That evening my husband called to tell me he was going out for a business dinner, so I decided to put the removable crock into the refrigerator to save for dinner the following day. I put on oven mitts, and swung the refrigerator door open. Then I turned and quickly picked up the still hot pot on the nearby counter top. The fridge door closed too quickly and I tried to catch the door with the back of my hand while still holding on to the roast. Well, the inevitable happened – I dropped the pot and it shattered like a bomb. Roast, vegetables and juice covered the entire kitchen floor.

Horrible enough, but I had a curious toddler and a colicky baby to watch. And it was the evening “witching hour” dreaded by mothers of colicky infants and toddlers everywhere. Of course, my son Nathan came into the kitchen once he heard the crock pot bomb go off. I told him not to come in because of mess, and asked him to help entertain his fussy infant sister instead. (She was in her bouncy seat in the living room.)

I quickly scooped up the ruined roast, the biggest pieces of vegetable matte, and the shattered crockery and dump it all into the trash. But there was the juice to deal with. As the liquid cooled, it turned into a grease. Yuck! My kitchen floor was slicker than a skating rink. I realized that just wiping up the spill wouldn’t do and I needed to mop. I quickly checked on the kids – still fine, thank goodness for 24-hour children’s TV programming – grabbed the mop, and quickly cleaned up as much greasy liquid as I could. (More deep cleaning was needed the next day.)

Covered in grease and food, I stripped down in the laundry room, grabbed the kids, and headed off for a family bubble bath. It was a nice ending to a terrible tragedy, but at least I got a new slow cooker out of the deal.

Ruth from Once Upon A Feast:

I suppose that would have to be the dinner party with beef fondue. The dining room was at the other end of the house and the conversation so stimulating, that I forgot I was heating up the oil on the stove. At one point a guest asked if the smoke wafting down the hall was intentional.

And …yes, we did catch it in time…quite the conversation starter though.

Jessie from Cakespy:

I remember one of the first times I baked a cake, a recipe called for cornstarch, and I accidentally used corn meal. Same thing, right? Well, as it turned out after some decidedly corny, gritty bites, no–they’re not the same thing. My family still laughs about it!

Too funny! Thanks to all who participated in this Monthly Mouthful and for continuing to indulge our food-related questions! If you were not contacted for this month’s Monthly Mouthful and would like to be included in future Monthly Mouthfuls, please e-mail us at chewonthatblog [at] gmail [dot] com

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  • melissa

    I knew this one was going to be fun to read. :P I have to say though that I felt so much empathy for Emilie’s story. She can laugh about it now, but oh my what a horrific evening that must have been.

  • Clumbsy Cookie

    This was really fun to read! At least we all survived these disasters!

  • gilli

    Hillary Some fun stories.. interested to see what your next one will be. hey congratulations on turning 1 year old. The same age as my youngest grandaughter… so I won’t forget you in a hurry.

  • Liz

    Man, those are hilarious! I think the worst thing I ever did was make frosting with granulated sugar because I ran out of confectioner’s. In all fairness, I followed directions I found online, whirring it around in the blender to make it a bit smoother. And the frosting was fine, just a little gritty. So far no horrible kitchen disasters. I’m waiting…

  • Lore

    Some really funny stories indeed! Emilie kudos to you :)

  • Emilie

    It was fun to read everyone else’s disasters. My Valentine’s Day of horrors in the kitchen seems like it has had good company. Glad we can all laugh a little with hindsight!

  • Christie @fig&cherry

    Great question this month Hillary! Some of those stories are so funny… in hindsight!

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