Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My cooking is what killed the dinosaurs.

Since I'm spending a great deal of time in my house, I've been fighting the temptation to be, like, a homemaker. You know, with a house that isn't a giant hairball and might actually be, like, homey.

Couple this with reading the most excellent Julia Child biography "Dearie," and you can understand why I've been cooking a lot. I have time! And inspiration! And a husband who loves to eat!

I make a pretty decent beef bourguignon, or as we call it 'round these parts, beef boing boing. Then there was the chicken country captain recipe from "House Beautiful," which produced what was truly the best meal I have ever prepared.

Then, there was the stir fry.

In what will go down in history as The Great Stir-Fry Debacle of 2013, I attempted a recipe from "Better Homes and Gardens." Easy! A mere 30 minutes! And who doesn't like stir fry?

The result was inspiring, if you were looking for reason to puke. Oh sweet Oprah, it was horrible. Who in their right mind microwaves cabbage? And a sauce made of stout beer, mustard, and caraway seeds? Seriously? What was I thinking?

Bless his heart, my sweet husband gamely tried it. He even praised me for trying yet another new recipe and for generally feeding him palatable food. And when we both gave up on eating the monstrosity, he made Kraft mac n' cheese, like a champ.

However, I couldn't get the smell of the stir fry out of my head. It was like gorilla fear scent, but worse. If I never smell caraway ever, ever again, that will be fine by me.

The Great Stir-Fry Debacle of 2013 overshadowed even the infamous Cha Cha's Blackened Tofu Surprise episode of 1999. What this most recent culinary catastrophe lacked in smoke and fire alarms, it made up for in general odiferousness. It was the type of meal that you'd like to forget, but the smell has permanently permeated your home.

Mustard and caraway. Holy shit.

Learn from my mistake and run far from this recipe. But as you sprint away, pray tell ... what's your personal worst all-time kitchen fiasco?


Violet said...

Nothing good can come of caraway. Nothing.

My worst meal, and only absolute fail, was the "one skillet dinner" I made early in my (now defunct) marriage. The recipe came from a "woman's magazine", I believe: ground beef, potato slices, green beans, mushroom soup (I believe), a few herbs and spices for la-di-dah-ness. Not going to cut it in a Michelin-rated restaurant but sounds decent, right?

It was gross. No, it was guh-ross. It was also grey. We both ate one bite, tried to eat a second, then ordered pizza.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like my Shepherd's Pie Disaster of 2010. Thanks for NOTHING, Real Simple Magazine!

Karen said...

I am usually a really good cook... But I'm still learning the crockpot. A few words of advice, don't add pineapple to your recipe from the beginning.
I had seen quite a few of those freezer meals that you toss in chicken with onions, peppers, pineapple and teriyaki or soy sauce. I have a really good recipe for a pineapple chicken stir fry, so I decided to use those marinade ingredients. Well, I came home to a pot of horrible smelling and food no one wanted to eat. I threw it straight in the trash. My best guess is that the fresh pineapple I used did some funky things while cooking all day.
Of course, just a couple of weeks later my friend who is also an excellent cook, took out her freezer bag recipe of chicken with pineapple and peppers. I told her how horrible my experiment had turned out, but she tried it in the crock pot anyway. Sure enough, hers was an inedible disaster too. We both agree no more pineapple in the crock pot!

smalltownme said...

I haven't had a real disaster in a long time. Pizza with frozen dough was one. And there was a hamburger dish with green olives. Ick.

Average Jane said...

I like all of the Soy Vay stir-fry sauces. There's no reason you have to make your own sauce after you've gone to all the trouble to cut up all that stuff.

Also, I love cabbage in stir-fry if you, you know, stir-fry it. Just cut it into thin strips and throw it in there with the rest of the veggies.

Skubitwo said...

camping trip with unlabeled bags from the course director.
there was a bag that was supposed to be something else, but after much cooking, turned out to be cream of wheat. after much cooking, cream of wheat becomes a solid. we pried it out of the pan and tried to chop it into pieces. finally ended up burying it. next morning, we found the raccoons had dug it up and tried to gnaw on it, but had given up and left it.
if coons won't eat it, it's bad....

Patti said...

My experience has been, if it's in Better Homes and Gardens, better not even try it. Same with Womens' Day or any mag with pictures of duck, chicken or gingham themed kitchens. If it has any canned or dried soup, no. If it tells you to use precut or dried garlic, no.

I can lose myself for hours on and if you read the reviews of the recipes you will most likely learn the pitfalls, if any. Lots of good stuff there.

For more fun and amusement, peruse my all time favorite web page from several years ago.

I lived through these. My mom had the cards and even some of the ceramic accents used in the pictures. Your stir fry might look like gourmet fare next to Mackerel Pudding. (and maybe even smell better)

Gary's third pottery blog said...

oh MY

Unknown said...

Sometimes an innocent recipe is warped into something unspeakable - and uneatable - through evil done by the cook. Like Smitten Kitchen's stuffed cabbage rolls. I love Smitten Kitchen. Everything I've ever cooked from her blog has been the best. But I took her perfectly good recipe and instead of cooking the cabbage rolls quickly on the stove, I put them in the crock pot. You know how cabbage hardly smells at all if you cook it quickly? Take that and turn it on its head, multiply the smell by a bajillion, and that's what my house smelled like at the end of a day of slow cooking cabbage in the crock pot. Holy snakes. It smelled like a garbage truck had parked in my kitchen. Did the cabbage rolls taste good? Who the heck knows? If you smell a garbage truck, do you then LICK a garbage truck? Nooo. Straight down the disposal. Febrezed the whole house. Febrezed it again in the morning. I'm sorry, Smitten Kitchen. I done you wrong.

cookingwithgas said...

Here is my beef,you can laugh here, everyone who is telling folks how to cook is adding all kinds of crazy combinations of seasoning to the food. Good Lord just roast a good chicken and be done.

With that said I am banned from dumplings and all things that start with cooking soybeans from scratch.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

My husband, bless him, happily ate my poor gal's stir fry when we were very young adults. It looked awful and probably wasn't even that palatable, but we were young and could't afford to waste it.

...gorilla fear scent... brilliant!

sherilee said...

Reading the comments above has been very entertaining! Who hasn't completely botched a dish a time or two? I am traditionally very wary of soups. I think I have it all together, but generally if I don't follow a recipe closely (I'm very fly by the seat of my pants, usually), it can be a pretty flavorless mass. I'm learning, though, to either follow the recipe or just make something I KNOW will turn out.

My mother did the cabbage roll thing when I was growing up, stuffed them with some ungodly currant/rice combo and no one would eat it. She put it in the trash, a little black bear came along (we lived in the woods, obv, at the time) and ate everything else in the trash EXCEPT the cabbage rolls. That's how legends are born!