Biggest Flops

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Let’s be honest–you get a bit of a thrill when I screw up, don’t you?

Lord knows I’ve screwed up enough on this blog to justify its name, and here are a few of my favorite disasters.

The picture above comes from a post called The Day My Pound Cake Threw Up. In that post I attempted to make Martha Stewart’s pound cake. I tested it with a piece of spaghetti (ever since I use a knife, so there’s more surface area for any uncooked bits to cling to–making it a better indicator.) As you can see in the photo, when I flipped the pound cake over from the pan it threw up. That was not a happy experience.

Neither were these:

* The time I tried to make peanut brittle, but ended up making Peanut Brittle Soup:

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* The stickiest, goopiest, most miserable mess: Toasted Coconut Marshmallows from Hell:

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* Suzanne Goin’s Caramel Tart, which was so rock-hard I needed a full-time dentist after one bite:

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* There was this Blueberry Disaster which wasn’t so much a disaster as a disappointment–as are most of the recipes in Nancy Silverton’s slapdash book of quick, easy dinners, “A Twist of the Wrist.”

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In fact, that book not only generated disappointments, it even generated an injury: see My Burnt Foot.

Of all these disasters, though, nothing was more disturbing or upsetting than the night I made Suzanne Goin’s Spiced Pork Stew from “Sunday Suppers at Lucques.” Now that is one of my hands-down favorite cookbooks, and this braise–which took more than a few hours to make–filled the apartment with such an enticing smell, I thought me and my guests (in this case, my old roommate Lauren) would be in heaven. But, alas, the recipe said to put a piece of plastic wrap on top of the pan, beneath the lid, before placing it in the oven. When it came out, several hours later, the plastic had melted into the dish!

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I fished out as much as I could, but I must say that eating melted plastic after hours of work was not a particularly gratifying experience.

And thus we conclude the list of my biggest flops from five years of food-blogging. I suppose, relatively speaking, for an amateur cook, the list could’ve been much worse, right? Let’s hope in the next five years our successes far outnumber our debacles–though the debacles are certainly more entertaining.

P.S. I almost forgot to include a link to my “Failure” movie–click here. That experience certainly ranks high on the list.

14 comments

  1. Your successes however totally outnumbers your failures=) For me it’s the other way around. Keep up the good work!

  2. Too funny!! – I think that sprinkling a few “disasters” in with the successes is what makes your blog such a…well, success. We love reading it!

  3. Thanks for posting this! I’m so glad I’m not the only one with baking/cooking disasters! : )

  4. I just had a disaster yesterday that was similar to your nauseous pound cake. It was a lemon loaf and though it was not quite so dramatic as yours, it got overly brown on the outside and undercooked in the middle. I threw a tantrum, I’m a giant baby in the kitchen.

  5. Congrats on five years, Adam, that’s impressive!

    And thanks for all the laughs and inspiration you’ve provided us along the way. It’s not just any guy who can get his pound cake to throw up on him.

    Here’s to many more! (years, of course, not vomiting baked goods).

  6. There is a reason I don’t do much baking. I think it’s easier to hide mistakes on cooked food than it is baked. However, it’s nice to know that even well-known foodies mess up sometimes!

  7. I once tested a recipe for pound cake two weeks before Valentine’s Day. I’m afraid of ovens (just never used them growing up) and bake maybe once a year, so I was already pretty wary…and 30 minutes later, I opened the oven to find (1) billowing smoke and (2) a throw-up cake, quite similar to yours, except the innards were all over the oven. All. Over.

    I got another Valentine’s Day gift. I’m still afraid of ovens.

  8. Plastic wrap? On a pan that’s going in the oven? What kind of recipe is that? And, when you look back at it, could you have thought the result out for yourself? No criticism meant, just, you know…

    Anyway, thanks for all your great posts, keep working!

  9. Oh dear, I seriously wonder about someone who would write a recipe instructing you to put plastic in an oven. Still, the dish looks very tasty! The rest of the disasters are so awful, I almost think you’ve made them up to give us a laugh. Almost. ;) Oh well, we learn from our mistakes… don’t we?

    Love your blog. It always makes me want to run to the kitchen and cook something!

  10. If a recipe calls for plastic in the oven, you should have enough common sense to know it’ll melt. You are much smarter than that.

  11. this is a great blog entry, thanks for sharing your disasters! I like all of the recipes you post too but I can identify with this particular entry.

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