Funny Stories about Cooking Failures

What’s your funniest cooking failure? I’ll never forget my first cooking failure as a newlywed – 41-plus years ago. My husband Greg attehded Bible college and worked nights. He and one of the guys from the college worked at the same company. Since we lived close to the job, he arranged to have his friend come to our apartment one night for their dinner break. I liked to cook but didn’t have that much experience yet. I don’t remember anything about the meal except that there were vegetables and baked chicken.

Greg and his friend came in for their dinner break, and I had the table all set. They sat down at the table and waited while I took the chicken out of the oven. It looked perfect and smelled delicious. I placed it on the table with the other food and excused myself for a minute. They only had so much time to eat and get back to work. One of them asked the blessing over the food. On my way back to the kitchen, I overheard my husband, laughing, ask his friend, “Shall we pray again?” Embarrassed about the bloody chicken, I put it back in the oven but left it in too long and burned it.

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During our first year of marriage, however, my mother-in-law (whom I eventually called Mom) came for a visit and complimented me on my cooking. She was amazed at the variety of dishes served for dinner. I grew up in the South and was used to the way my mother and grandmothers cooked, so I followed their examples. It was typical to see a variety of vegetables, meat, and rolls or cornbread. Mom told me then that she used to burn food all the time and she would tell her kids to eat it and say, “Charcoal is good for your teeth.” Until this day, if someone happens to burn food in the kitchen, we say, “Charcoal is good for your teeth.”

I love to hear others’ funny stories about their cooking failures. And I still mess up in the kitchen. For instance, recently one of my little granddaughters was visiting. She went to the garden with me and helped me pick the ripe okra. She had never eaten okra and asked if we could have it for dinner and could she help me make it. I agreed, and we had the best time in the kitchen preparing the okra. I decided to cook it two ways – fried and boiled with tomatoes. I assumed that someone trying okra for the first time would probably prefer it fried over boiled because okra tends to have a slimy texture when boiled. Wrong. She liked the boiled kind the best but without the tomatoes.

The craziest thing, however, is in the middle of cooking, a visitor knocked on the door. That took possibly three or four minutes – long enough for the boiled okra and tomatoes to burn. It was awful. And there weren’t that many okra pods from the harvest that day. Nonetheless, I put the last few pods into another pot with fresh tomatoes and boiled them. After all that, my granddaughter favored the boiled okra.

Incidentally, okra isn’t necessarily the ripest when it’s large. On the contrary, okra can be very tough and hard to eat if you let it get too big.

Check back daily this week for Kitchen Southern Hospitality’s seven-day food blogging event. Yesterday’s post was  “Top 10 Pantry Food Bloggers.” Tomorrow I’ll be interviewing a food photographer who cooks gourmet style and prepares the most appetizing recipes. We’ll do a live interview on Facebook.

If you’re a beginning cook, get you a good cookbook for basic cooking.

My favorite cookbook as a newlywed was Betty Crocker. I’ve loved using it through the years.

A Funny Story about a Cookbook

Like to read cookbooks and the histories of family cooking in rural America? I have a funny story to tell you about a cookbook. My funny story about a cookbook has to do with my second cookbook, Simple Summer Recipes & Foodie Storytime.

The front cover has sort of a summery whimsical look, and the little circle photos on the back cover are actual photos of my veggies, fruit, and a knife and strawberry peeler my mother purchased for me in Switzerland.

The best thing you can do when you mess up in the kitchen is to laugh at yourself. My dad used to teach me that principle – learn to laugh at yourself. If you fail, no big deal. Just try again. You’ll do better the next time. I remind myself of that when I look through Simple Summer Recipes.

“Composed with a Southern flair, Foodie Storytime sections correlate with recipes.”

The funny thing about Simple Summer Recipes is that some of the photos turned out too dark – not like the gorgeous mouthwatering pictures of delectable recipes you’d see in a celebrity’s bestseller cookbook. And now, I don’t think all of the recipes would be considered as “simple” in some folks’ opinions. But it’s done. It’s history. History of family foodie stories and cooking tips learned from my mom and grandmothers. Recipes created with what’s on hand, grilled on a regular charcoal grill, and easy-to-make meals. Comical stories. Recipes for summer.

Rusty LaGrange, A Flair for Words and owner/manager of, described Simple Summer Recipes as “just like sittig on the porch with old relatives.”

The Simple Summer Recipes cookbook includes some recipes for typical foods you would expect for summer like chicken salad, sandwiches, hot dogs, salads, cold beverages, picnic foods – and strawberries. The Buttermilk and Strawberry Breakfast Drink is delicious.

When you buy a bunch of strawberries, you either make several strawberry recipes or jam. Otherwise, the strawberries will  go bad. During the time I was writing the cookbook, I had tons of strawberries and added a lemon strawberry pudding and a lemon strawberry cheesecake pudding recipe in the book. 

What’s your funny cooking stories and failures? Most of us home chefs have a crazy cooking mishap that happens along our journeys. Share yours, and we’ll laugh together.


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