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Old 03-19-2005, 09:39 PM   #31
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When it comes to cooking, my reach has ever exceeded my grasp. Like, hey, if I can roast a chicken I can do anything! The disasters this wild-child enthusiasm have engendered are too numerous to remember, far less talk about. Years of living have tempered my inclination to fly off the planet, but oh, those early years . . .

Like the time I invited my friend Dot to dinner. She had just floated me a loan so I could buy my house, and I wanted to express my appreciation by cooking something fab for her.
Steak Diane. It involved flambe'ing, how hard could that be? Dot is in the other room, telling me some involved story, and I'm there in my dinky little weekends-only-cabin kitchen, only I was living there fulltime, doing the Diane in an electric skillet. Listening to her tale and reading the directions and they said to pour in the brandy and ignite, so I did and FWOOMP! flames up to the ceiling. Panic, skillet and contents upside down in the sink, faucet on high, Dot going, "Everything okay in there?" "Absolutely, go on with what you were saying!" Sounds like aplomb, grace under fire, pun intended, but I was actually too terrorized to talk.
The main attraction gone down the drain; egg noodles and gummy Hungry Jack biscuits for dinner . . .

Or the time, actually not that long ago, when I was roasting a turkey and the oven coil broke bad. It was explained to me later by the fire personnel that the coil had merely shorted out, but when the thing first happened, the coil made this snapping noise and spitted and hissed and blackened in an evil way, and there was this fireball traversing the length of the coil and nothing I did stopped the fireball. Turned off the oven, nothing. Flipped the breaker, nothing, the fireball kept going and going. Last resort, I blasted the fireball with the fire extinguisher, and when the powder cleared, the fireball had progressed four more inches, burning its way toward the rear oven wall where it would burn through and ignite all that insulation and whatnot back there and burn the house down. It was like Stephen King Does Thanksgiving. So I called the fire department. I specifically told the dispatcher that it wasn't an emergency, no need for a big response, so four minutes later there's three vehicles including the Big One in my yard, lights and siren, eleven large firemen in my little house, stoically expressionless as the one guy explained to me about the coil burnout and that it wasn't a problem. Could you die? After they left I took some paper towels and wiped the fire extinguisher goo off the turkey, and in the following days I ate it as planned. The turkey, not the goo. I was spectacularly broke in those days, and the turkey -- real meat -- had been on sale, 39 cents a pound, and I was billy-be-blued if I was gonna deep-six it because of a few stupid chemicals.

And, as you see, I lived.

But the one incident that has always stayed with me was back long days ago, when I was a young thing first learning my way around the kitchen. I'd gotten like two successful dinners under my belt, and so was ready for a dinner party. I'd decided on cheese fondue. (Is there any wedding couple in this land who hasn't received a fondue pot as a present?) I knew as much about fondue as I did the rings of Saturn, but why should that stop me? Again the mantra: How hard can it be? Hot cheese, bread cubes. Duh! I broke out my newly-acquired Joy of Cooking and it said Emmenthaler was the preferred choice for fondue. So okay, I got the handle now, off I go in search of Emmenthaler. Not in the grocery stores. Hm, must be something exotic. Yellow Pages. I find a little ta-ta wine and cheese shop in the upscale part of town, wait in line forever, I get to the counter and ask for a pound of Emmenthaler cheese, please, and the guy plunks down a big honk of Swiss cheese and I'm like NO, my good man, that is not what I asked for . . .

Okay, that was embarrassing, but I get the ta-ta cheese and the other stuff home timely and put everything together. Guests arrive, beer and wine flowing, me and my little fondue pot, Emmenthaler -- excuse me, Swiss -- cheese and wine and whatnot all set up, ready to go. Except the stuff in the pot isn't thickening. I stir and I stir, nothing. I throw in more cheese. Zip. I add some Cheddar. Still nothing, watery slurry, not fit to consume. Guests getting hungrier, and drunker. I raid the fridge and throw in every scrap of cheese I can find, including American processed and cream cheese. Nada. I finally give up and we all have salad and bread.

If that happened today, I'd laugh it off and call Domino's. But then, a tender 23-year-old . . . OH, the humiliation!

The very next day I went into deep research mode, had to find out what I did wrong. I go to the library and peruse like 40 cookbooks before I find the answer, to wit, and I quote: NEVER USE A METAL FONDUE POT FOR CHEESE FONDUE!

Bloody @%!#@.

Turns out nobody cared that much. Everybody had a good time. Lesson: It's the people, not the fondue.

Boy, this got long.


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Old 03-20-2005, 12:22 AM   #32
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Oh Cat, I'm hurting.....rotflmao.....

I've already posted my failures...as my DH says:

When You're good you're very very good but when you're bad you're AWFUL!!!!!"!

Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all. Oregon native transplanted to Chicago....
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Old 03-20-2005, 06:26 AM   #33
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Cats, please contribute more. You have a gift for storytelling and those stories were hilarious.
Kool Aid - Think before you drink.
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Old 03-20-2005, 11:34 AM   #34
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My first disaster in cooking was when I lived in Moscow, Russia. The disaster started with the first home-cooked meal and didn't end the whole year. I was fresh from university and knew how to cook only from a box. Let me tell you... in 1992, boxed meals weren't even a gleam in Yeltsin's eye. So, I tried to make everything from scratch, including spaghetti sauce that tasted more like ketchup and casseroles that tasted like cardboard. Obviously I failed miserably at cooking from scratch. I didn't have a cookbook and with the unreliable mail, my mother couldn't successfully get a cookbook mailed to me. Oh, and I forgot to mention that yes, I could easily convert F to C, but the oven settings were 1 - 5, not by temp. Dozens of burned dinners.

But most recently, I made cheese enchiladas for my in-laws in Turkey. This was their first taste of mexican food. I make a mean enchilada, including a good homemade sauce (of course they don't have prepackaged mexican food in Germany or Turkey). But they HATED it!!! They just hated it and I was so embarassed. My sil is this great Turkish cook and I felt like crawling into the my chair when they tasted it and almost threw up.
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Old 03-20-2005, 11:48 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by velochic
But most recently, I made cheese enchiladas for my in-laws in Turkey. This was their first taste of mexican food. I make a mean enchilada, including a good homemade sauce (of course they don't have prepackaged mexican food in Germany or Turkey). But they HATED it!!! They just hated it and I was so embarassed. My sil is this great Turkish cook and I felt like crawling into the my chair when they tasted it and almost threw up.
That's so sad! You have nothing to be embarrassed about though. You made a good meal. They just have different tastes.

:) Barbara
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Old 03-20-2005, 01:58 PM   #36
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Thanks Barbara! ;) It was just so embarrassing because sil is such a good cook and we rave over her meals all the time. Dh particularly likes her cooking because it's "home" for him. Believe me, I can't get all of those cold olive oil dishes past my taste buds, so I know it's taste... just a little humiliating since dh raves about my cooking all the time. KWIM? Then I fall flat on my face. :oops:
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Old 03-20-2005, 03:41 PM   #37
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2 years ago I made s*** on a shingle to celebrate VE day & give The Presence a taste of what the boys went through(actually it was a favorit of theirs).Chipped beef,powered milk & eggs,white bread(you know the kind),black pepper(lots).Let' put it this way: Willy & Joe where tough & the wermarcht did'nt stand a chance.We did finish the "meal",out of respect,but both of us had turned a very realistic olive drab color.
Ignorance is stupidity...If you let it .
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Old 03-20-2005, 08:30 PM   #38
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I have been hosting Thanksgiving every year since my Mother died over sixteen years ago...so, I am not new to roasting a turkey. But, last year's fiasco may have pushed my family and friends into never coming to my house again for Thanksgiving!! I usually roast two small turkeys...one the day before and one on Thanksgiving...I only have so much room in my oven~!! Well, the turkey roasting on Thanksgiving day would not get done...the timer said it was done, but, the thermometer said otherwise...with me checking the breast, the thigh and the stuffing for doneness. I put the turkey on the cutting board to "rest" while I was going to make the gravy...when I notice that the juices are running red!! OH MY GOSH>>>>>> I almost fainted...so I put the turkey back into the oven and turned up the HEAT!! You know you have a disaster when the guests are filtering into the kitchen asking..."Isn't it done yet???" We sat for a hour and a half waiting for the turkey to finish roasting...only it never happened...my thermometer kept registering too low for the dark meat and I wasn't going to remove it from the oven until it was done...no matter that the skin was burning and the breast meat was well done and it's temperature was rising!! OH WHAT A MESS... I finally had to remove the turkey that wouldn't roast and reheat my turkey from the previous day !! Technically we had reheated leftovers!! The turkey was still not done according to the juices and the stuffing - had (let's call it material that shouldn't be in your stuffing.) I ended up throwing the entire thing away being afraid to eat it!! I am not sure if my family and friends will return for another Thanksgiving adventure with me!!
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Old 03-20-2005, 09:26 PM   #39
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lyn, if it makes you feel any better, every once in a while you get a turkey that refuses to cook. It has happened to my mother and it has happened to me. We do both turkeys the day before, just in case one needs extra time to get done through. Our family doesn't need to see the turkey carved at the table and doing so much of the cooking and clean-up the day before makes the holiday more enjoyable for the cook.
Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back.--unknown, at least to me
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Old 03-27-2005, 04:17 PM   #40
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I made a stir-fry. I didn't know much about fresh hot peppers, so I just grabbed some in the store and cut them up. As in, the whole thing was sliced and put in the pan. Well I thought it smelled a little strong, but I was wanting some serious heat.

Well it burned my mouth worse than anything else I've ever tried. I was crying like a little girl.

Then the next day the "intestinal distress" at work had this agnostic calling out for God's help!

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