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TC Readers Share Their Kitchen Disasters

Thank you to all who submitted a story. Keep sending us your kitchen disaster stories. -Staff

When I was in high school and learning to cook, my parents went out of town for the weekend. Being the good older sister, I decided that I would cook breakfast for my brothers and sister. I heated a pan of grease to fry eggs. I left it on the stove too long and it caught fire and scorched the cabinets. The same day, I also tried my hand at cooking a frozen pizza. Needless to caught fire too! I had forgotten to take the cardboard backing off of the frozen pizza before putting it in the oven.

I still am reminded by my family of my cooking disaster. And guess what? Thanksgiving is at my house this year!

Kelly B.
Childress, Texas

When I was a newlywed, I came upon a recipe in a cookbook called "Jerry Lewis Chocolate Cake". I had some overripe bananas that I wanted to get rid of - so I decided to put them into the batter. Then the recipe called for sour milk. I didn't have any, so I looked up how to make milk sour -- which was to add vinegar. Then I had a pound of nuts that I threw in. The cake had a strange aroma -- the combination of vinegar and bananas. It also weighed a ton.

It took my husband one week to eat the cake. It was like eating lead -- not to mention the taste was atrocious. I couldn't live this episode down for a long time.

Ann G., Texas Cooking reader

Send submissions regarding cooking disasters, and other humor to moc.gnikoocsaxet@nibrof_solkim.
For the most part, these are true stories from our readers. Here's the latest (and this one includes a good recipe):

From Charlotte B., Antioch, California

Years ago, my widowed mother-in-law, who was an accomplished cook, came to our house for Christmas. She arrived a few days early, so several days' worth of meals needed to be faultlessly prepared. One night, I trotted out an easy favorite of mine: clay pot stew. This couldn't be simpler: tenderize the beef using unseasoned tenderizer, cut it into cubes, dredge it as if you are going to fry it, but then don't. Put the beef into the presoaked clay cooker, add cubed potatoes, chopped mild onions, carrots or mixed frozen veggies if you have them. Salt and pepper this, pour white wine over, and bake for slightly more than an hour in a preheated 350 degree oven.

When this usually reliable dish was served, an unexpected thing happened. My daughter, then a teenager, toyed around with a rather large, unidentifiable bit of the stew on her plate, then picked up the offending tidbit on her fork and threw it onto the floor in a bit of a panic. My heart sank -- what was it -- a mouse???? The scene was then exacerbated by the actions of our large, old orange tomcat, who trotted over and began to examine the "offal" interestedly. It was not a Polaroid moment.

Resignedly, I put down my napkin, got up, fetched a paper towel, and grabbed the discarded stew lump. It proved to be a fully-dredged and well-cooked Golden Fleece cloth, the kind you scrub your nonstick pans with. This one was extremely well worn with age, pretty much missing its bumpy surface, and, in short, no thing of beauty. Somehow it had just slipped into the flour and had been included in the feast. This has never been forgotten, and is recalled at length at every Christmas gathering.

It quite tops the time when I was rushing to get my child's birthday cake decorated (she wanted the standard little girl's doll cake) and I stuck a new Barbie in the cooked and presumably, cooled, cake skirt before frosting the whole thing, only to discover later that the cake still had enough residual warmth to permanently cripple Barbie's legs. She looked as if she'd been run over by a train. This memory, naturally, resurfaces every year at that child's birthday.

From Anonymous in Could-Be-Anywhere, TX

Being an old chuckwagon cook from way back, I was invited to cook for a bunch of them Civil war re-enacter types, Yankees at that, a couple years back at a small village near Waco. Well sir, I cooked eggs, and sausage, and beans, and cornbread, and stew, and enough coffee to float a boat. Sometime late in the day, I began to run out of stuff. I mean, the wagon was down to bare bones. A friend came by with an offer to help. I said, "Man, I need stuff to cook, go get me some chili or something." He high-tailed it off to WalMart or some such place and came back in a while with a couple gallon cans of generic chilli -- the kind with black and white labels. I stood back and opened it, poured it into a big old bean pot and hid the cans. After adding a couple tomatoes, a few leftover onions and a hand full of jalapeño's, I poked up the fire and yelled for them Yankees. They finished it off to the last seed. And to this day they proclaim me to be the best darn chili cook in central Texas. And don't print my real name.

From B.G., Native, expatiate Texan and reader

When I was a newlywed 18 years ago, I decided to have my beloved younger brother Andy over to eat lunch with me. I made a quiche, using one of the newfangled already-made piecrusts-in-a-pan. Feeling very pleased with myself, I poured the ham/egg/cheese mixture into the piepan and put it in the oven. When the quiche was done, I took it out of the oven and prepared to cut it. But the knife didn't slide cleanly through the crust! No matter...I finally succeeded in getting a piece cut, and presented it to Andy. He took a big bite and immediately spat it back out onto his plate, along with the waxed paper that was INSIDE THE QUICHE. I had not even noticed the waxed paper covering on top of the crust, and had baked it, along with the quiche mixture, in the oven!

This happened 18 years ago on Montreal Street in Dallas, and if you think this little incident has been forgotten yet, then there ain't no armadillos in Fort Stockton:).

Oh, and by the way--I have made about three quiches since then (I wonder why?!)...

Thank you for your comments, BG. Overlooking key items seems to have haunted me throughout my cooking career as well. On a side note, recently while moving to a new apartment, I decided to seal my bulk Texmati rice in a plastic airtight container. Several weeks later, I decided to make rice for dinner. I had not opened the container since then. Shortly after scooping out one cup of rice into boiling water, I noticed that moisture had condensed inside the clear container. On closer look the rice was filled with tiny, pink worms -- moving and alive. Mmmmmm! Resealing the rice had created a little biosphere with water, food and oxygen. Fortunately, the worm rice was never served, and my lesson in proper storage of bulk grains will forever be etched in my memory. - Lucas Everidge.

Continue sending your kitchen experiences to All Thumbs, the Texas Cooking Humor Desk.

Here our favorite recipe for the holidays. Enjoy! - TC Staff

Fruit Cake Recipe

You'll need the following: a cup of water, a cup of sugar, four large brown eggs, two cups of dried fruit, a teaspoon of salt, a cup of brown sugar, lemon juice, nuts, and a bottle of whiskey.

Sample the whiskey to check for quality.

Take a large bowl. Check the whiskey again. To be sure it's the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat.

Turn on the electric mixer, beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar and beat again.

Make sure the whiskey is still okay. Cry another tup. Turn off the mixer.

Beat two leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Mix on the tuner. If the fired druit gets stuck in the beaterers, pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the whiskey to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Who cares? Check the whiskey.

Now sift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Spoon. Of sugar or something. Whatever you can find.

Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees. Don't forget to beat off the turner. Throw the bowl out of the window. Check the whiskey again and go to bed.

Hoppy halidaze! Please share free to feel this recipe with others.

  • March, 1999: A Letter To You From Martha Stewart
  • September, 1999: More Martha Stewart Lampoons
  • December, 1999: Humorous letters from Texas Cooking readers

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