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And then the brownies exploded

By Heather Oman

I invited a friend over for Sunday dinner the other day, which meant that after we got home from church, we went into full company mode. My 6 year old was ordered to clean the playroom, my husband was relegated to the grill to smoke the salmon (yes, it was a good as it sounds), and I busied myself with getting the brownies ready.

We’re not really a dessert family. I wish I could say it’s because I’m righteous and healthy and want to keep my arteries unclogged and my figure trim, but the bottom line is that I’m just that lazy. People who do dessert right amaze me. So I was feeling pretty excited that I was pulling off some dessert, even if it was something as simple as brownies from a box.

I had also, on this particular day, pulled it together domestically pretty well. I had made homemade rolls before church, the house was picked up and clean, and the kids weren’t naked and smeared in sticky stuff. I had planned dinner so all the side dishes would be ready just before 6pm, which is when our friend and her children were to arrive. It was going to be a great dinner extravaganza.

Their aroma filling the kitchen with chocolaty goodness, I pulled the brownies out as the buzzer dinged, just 5 minutes before 6. I put them down on the stove, but the stove was hot, so I moved them. I put them on my counter top, and my toddler reached for them. I had visions of her pulling down a scalding hot glass pan of brownies on her fair little head, so I moved them again, to a different countertop.

There was a crack, like ice breaking, and suddenly, there was glass all over the place. Sharp, nearly invisible splinters of death went everywhere. The brownies had exploded.

The doorbell rang. Our company had arrived. Right on time.

I sent my son to stall, and then furiously tried to clean up. But how does one clean up an shattered 9×13 pan full of hot brownies? I met my friend as she came into the kitchen, and tried to laugh it off.

“We’ve, um, had a bit of an incident. My brownies exploded. Um, ha, ha! Oh, hey, um, yeah, you should probably keep your toddler out of the kitchen for the moment. Ha ha!”

How had it happened, we all wondered. The only thing we can come up with is that the pan was hot, and the granite countertop I put the pan on was cool, and glass can’t handle that drastic of a change in temperature. So, it exploded in protest.

I cleaned it up as best as could, although I kept finding interestingly shaped shards of glass hiding in the most puzzling places over the next few days.

Is there a metaphor for life buried in this story? I’d like to think so, because if not, it just means that I’m kinda stupid.

Please share your own homemaking disasters, so I don’t feel like such a chump. And if you can come up with a good life lesson about the shattered brownies, I’d like that too. But only if it’s not too depressing, or doesn’t make me look really lame.

I have another box of brownie mix, but I must admit, I’m hesistant to break it out. What if it goes awry again? What if something else goes wrong? What if this incident has proved, once and for all, that I can’t be trusted with baked goods?

I guess I’ll just have to stick with Oreos from now on.

About Heather Oman

(Prose Board) lives in the south with her husband, her two kids, and her wiggly black lab. She is a licensed speech language pathologist, but spends most of her days trying to teach her own kids how to say please and thank you. She is a member of the Segullah Editorial Board, and is the founding member of the blog Mormon Mommy Wars.

56 thoughts on “And then the brownies exploded”

  1. It had to be the hot glass on a cold counter top … but, oh! I'm right with you on the agony of trying to do something right and then having it (ahem) blow up in your face. I don't have an answer to that life dilemma, but I'll be interested in reading the comments.

    As for my kitchen disasters … the first time I made banana bread, I left out the salt, baking powder, and baking soda. The resulting loaf was so dense and tough even the birds wouldn't eat it. And then there was the time I was a teenager and helping with dinner about twenty minutes before I had to run out the door … and dropped the pitcher of orange juice I was mixing straight down on the floor. Orange juice exploded over the kitchen, covering the tops and bottoms of the cabinets, coating the ceiling fixture, and getting up my nose!

  2. That made me laugh. Thank you.

    My mother was fixing a treat from my father's mission for a Primary missionary activity many years ago. It involved cooking sweetened condensed milk in a double boiler. The can of milk can serve as part of the double boiler, so you just have to put the can in a pot of boiling water. You then spread the resulting stuff on bread and it's very delicious. And it's very easy.

    Except my mother forgot one thing. She forgot to slightly open the can of sweetened condensed milk.

    So it sat in the pot heating up and the contents expanding, until it could take it no more! The resulting explosion sent cooked sweetened condensed milk to the ceiling, the cupboards, the counters, the floors (and we had carpet in the kitchen at the time, very 1970s). It wasn't something that could just be wiped up either. It was sticky, and now that it was cooling, it was also hardening.

    I can't remember what she ended up taking to the Primary activity. She might have tried again, opening the can, and just arrived late. But I do remember cleaning that up for more than a week as we found more places it had gotten to.

    Maybe the lesson from that can is to make sure you let off steam before you explode? Maybe the lesson from the brownies is that abrupt change will really shock your system?

  3. I had a homemade lasagna do the same thing… except it was still in the oven. Cleaning glass out of the oven was no fun, and the lasagna ended up in the garbage. I think it was meant for dinner for someone else, but I don't recall the details.

    Maybe you were playing with fate by making homemade rolls and trying a dessert? The homemade rolls would've been the thing to push me over the edge.

  4. A few months ago I had, in the same week, a glass casserole dish explode in my oven (I had no idea that could happen!) and my stove catch fire. Within days of each other. Luckily the stove fire was easy to put out (unbeknownst to me, the tinfoil lining my burner pan had been dripped on and so it caught fire). Boy, by the end of that week I felt like a domestic disaster, though!

  5. I could write a book on kitchen disasters. The first kitchen disaster of my married life I dropped a plate of freshly grated cheese. The plate shattered. I cried while my husband went to the store to get more cheese. I was sure he was mad at me. He came home and was surprised that I would even think he could be mad at me over such a silly incident. Lots and lots of shattered glass later (picture a brand new bottle of EVOO all over the kitchen floor, and that is only one example) I have learned not to shed the tears. I just clean up and move on. Nothing to deep about that. Perhaps I should figure out how to defy gravity instead?

  6. In college, I hated – HATED – Campbells soup because it was SO SO salty and horrible. I didn't understand how anyone could eat it.

    Then one day someone said, "Ummm, you're supposed to add an extra can of water before you eat it. duh."

    Yeah, I had never bothered to READ THE CAN for instructions. I'm just that awesome a cook.

    I'm only marginally better now. But considering that my mother entered her marriage not knowing how to make water boil, I think I'm doing all right.

    I'm sure all these great stories are laden with metaphors — I'm just not smart enough to draw them out.

  7. We were having the priest quorum over one Sunday when my husband was the adviser. I made a lasagna (I'm not making anything special for 16 year old boys, I told myself). I had it all prepared and in the oven well before they were set to arrive, so I began to clean up. I got into a cleaning frenzy and even cleaned the door and knobs on the oven while it was baking my lasagna. I didn't figure out until 20 minutes later when we smelled a very burnt/charred sort of smell, that in my cleaning frenzy I had pushed the temp control dial of the oven to a toasty 500 degrees. The lasagna was ruined! I quickly put some spaghetti on to boil and the boys were happy. I did have one brave boy who chiseled through the crispy top layer of the lasagna and ate a good quarter of the pan, though. 16 year old boys will eat anything!

  8. I had something similar happen to a glass pan that I was using. Except that my glass pan was full of lasagna and it was STILL IN THE OVEN WHEN IT EXPLODED! I opened the oven door to check on the lasagna and CRACK the whole pan shattered. Hot lasagna goo went all over the bottom of my oven. I could see a glass pan breaking due to sudden change in temperature, but I'm not sure what happened in my case. Nevertheless, it was a huge mess to clean. Not a metaphor…just bad luck.

  9. Good for you…at least yours was ONLY a brownie disaster. The rest seems to be all in order, from the house, to the kids, to the meal.

    Once upon a time I found myself way overcommitted, and was so overwhelmed that I lost all degree of common sense. I managed to turn a dinner plan in my home into an utter fiasco. Let's just say this day even included tenderizing a pot roast…in my van.

    It is too long to post here, but if anyone is interested, it can be found on my blog.

    In the meantime…go ahead and bake that other box of brownies. Or at least go buy some. There is great solace in chocolate.

  10. As a teenager, I was making mashed potatoes (in the pressure cooker) while my parents were not at home. Somehow, I didn't know you should release the pressure before trying to open the cooker. While trying to pry it open, the lid exploded off the pot and potatoes were everywhere (including the ceiling, windows, and all the cupboards).

  11. Ackk! Exploding glass/pyrex dishes can be really dangerous- I'm glad you weren't hurt. Originally Pyrex was made of borosilicate glass, which is really resistant to exploding from temperature change. Now it made from soda-lime glass (it's a lot cheaper), and it's much more prone to exploding- not that it mentions it on the label. Ever since I found that out I've always been a little scared of pyrex…

  12. I've broiled brownies, more than once. Forgot to set the oven back to bake mode. Black on the top, goo everywhere else. Tasty.

    I've shattered a Corelle plate by accidently putting on a burner that was still on. Don't do that.

    I also almost wrecked "Just Add Water!" muffins when cooking with my now husband early in our dating relationship. I added too much water. Thankfully, I added some more flour and sugar and they turned out more or less fine, but I wasn't feeling like a very impressive date.

  13. Was it Pyrex or Glass? I thought she said it was glass. My mother-in-law made pumpkin pie once for dessert for her future daughter-in-law. As we all took a bite of the pie everyone was very quiet and gracious but I had to point out that it tasted like there wasn't any sugar. Sure enough, she had forgotten to put the sugar into the mix before she baked it. She was so embarrassed but she also put her daughter-in-law at ease by showing she's human too.

  14. I had the exploding casserole dish problem too, except mine was a cold pyrex dish placed on a hot stove right before I was going to put it in the oven. My Mexican casserole that I had spent a good hour preparing for dinner ended up all over the kitchen, and I ended up surrounded with exploded food and glass (some of which hit various parts of me when it exploded…luckily it was dull and didn't cut me). DH came in to see what had happened when he heard me scream and then cleaned everything up while I sat on the floor and cried (I was pregnant and highly emotional anyway), and then we went out for fast food instead.

  15. When I was about 15 I made a cake for dessert for my family (I think it was probably a Monday night). It was cooling on the stove on a burner that wasn't hot. We didn't really use cooling racks or anything like that all too often in my family. My mom made dinner, I think it was spaghetti. But, she had underestimated how hungry my younger brothers were, so partway through dinner she had to boil some more noodles. You see where this is going? She put on a pot of water to boil and put it on the stove (as far from my cake as possible, I might add) and turned the burner on and sat back down to dinner. A few minutes later, my cake exploded all over the kitchen. She had turned on the wrong burner…the one directly beneath my cake! I was not (I repeat, NOT) happy with her. At all. I mean, SHE RUINED MY CAKE AND I WAS FIFTEEN AND IT WAS CHOCOLATE. It's really funny now, though.

  16. I decided to make ice cream cake one year. On that very day, my freezer decided it was done freezing. Guests arrived as I was desperately trying to slop the ice cream back onto the cake. I ran it to my next-door neighbor's working freezer. It didn't work. Let me just say that re-frozen slime 40 minutes into a party is not festive.

  17. Oh, and my sister and I dropped a cake on the ground once right after we had frosted it; it splattered into a million pieces. So instead of starting over, we smashed the whole thing back into a 9×13 pan and frosted over the whole thing. There were bits of carpet and dirt and whatever all throughout, but there was so much frosting, it was hard to tell. I'm still laughing about that.

  18. burnt banana cake brick! I have an oven that turns off automatically when the timer stops, so I ran into trouble at my sister`s house with an oven that doesn`t – I totally forgot the cake was in the oven!! And its not only 16 year old boys who will eat anything – one of her sons (age around 10 at the time I think) was still wanting to eat this black brick, coz after all, its cake, right??!! LOL!!

  19. Awesome, carpet cake..

    BTW Justine, when I feed my kids the noodle campbells soup I DON"T put water in it..they just like the noodles anyway, so they will problaby grow up thinking that you don't do that either (this works for chicken noodle, for tomato? Not so much….)

  20. I was just blogging about a kitchen disaster! But instead of a home kitchen disaster it was a restaurant kitchen disaster… when I worked for a fancy schmancy restaurant and was catering a business luncheon. Long story short I dropped the pan of macadamia nut encrusted halibut on the floor but served it anyway. Ahhh, good times.

  21. These. Are. Hilarious. Justine, the carpet cake takes, um, the cake (heh, heh). I'm seriously still laughing about that one.

    And to clarify, it was Pyrex. I did say glass–I meant Pyrex. I mean, I think it was Pyrex. I've used it my entire marriage, and have never had a problem. I had no idea, though, that a pan could explode in the oven–yikes!

  22. One lesson could be this. . .any time you really try to look really really good, the universe will make it explode in your face. This is along the same lines as a new car getting scratched, a new tile floor getting chipped, or for me, falling on my head every time I try to show off on a horse. I don't do that anymore!!!

  23. I had a glass pan break when I took it out of the oven and put it in the cool sink. I think brownies are safe to try again–it's just those darn glass pans that are the culprit! Funny story!

  24. Thanks for the much needed laugh! I've become a pretty good cook over the years, but I've definitely made my share of domestic mistakes. Once when I was in college I used dishwashing liquid (like Joy) in the dishwasher. The bottle specifically tells you NOT to do this, but I didn't read it. I just figured soap was soap. Next thing I knew, the entire kitchen floor was covered in suds! What a mess. Fortunately my roommates weren't home and I was able to mop it all up before they found out what an idiot I'd been.

  25. My mom was visiting and decided to make a shepherd's pie for us. We were all in the other room when we heard a "whomp." The Pyrex pie plate had exploded in the oven.

    There wasn't anything else to eat so we cleaned up as best we could and VERY CAREFULLY ate the pie anyway!

    My husband is a loverly, thoughtful man who decided one morning to make me crepes and give me breakfast in bed. I'd recently begun a full-time job and he'd taken over the kitchen duties and the kitchen was organized half his way and half my way. I dove into my crepes happily but something seemed off. I asked him how much salt the recipe had called for and he said none. I shrugged it off and kept going but by the 2nd or 3rd crepe, things were too salty to be denied. He swore again that there was no salt, though he had dusted them with the white crystaly-stuff in the unmarked container in the back of the cupboard… heh.

  26. The same thing happened to me! Except it was BBQ chicken and I was making it for a family in the ward who had just had a baby. So I had to call them and say – um, hi…your dinner will be a little late because it just exploded all over my kitchen. I was just amazed a piece didn't sever my jugular or something! It was scary. I took the pyrex out of the oven and set it on the stove top which was hot so same as you – I moved it and BAM! glass and bbq sauce all over my kitchen. Not pretty!

  27. Pyrex is known for that kind of thing.
    I made bread for the first time in my life a couple weeks ago–it wasn't very good.
    About 20 years ago when we still lived in New Mexico my mom and I were making red chile sauce, like enchilada sauce. You have to stew the dried chile pods and then you blend them to a smooth paste. The heat built up in the blender and we didn't realize it–the blender blew–there was red chile EVERYWHERE in the kitchen. It looked like something straight out of a horror movie. We just stood there in shock for a minute then laughed.
    The good thing about these incidents is how clean the kitchen gets afterward, no?

  28. Seriously, I'm getting scared to use my Pyrex pans now… Too many horror stories. Good thing I have a metal 9×13. That might be my new cooking standard. I will do anything to avoid deep cleaning my kitchen.

  29. You know how you're not supposed to put eggs in shells in the microwave? Well, even if you remove a large part of the shell to release pressure, it's still no good. I put my "depressurized egg" to cook in the microwave and it exploded so hard it blew the microwave door off of it's hinges. And microscopic bits of egg went everywhere within a three foot radius.
    Cost me a new microwave, dagnabbit!

  30. I'm honestly a pretty good cook, but now I'm getting nervous about Pyrex as well! I have a gas stove so it cools off fairly quickly at least. Two years ago on Thanksgiving I cracked a pan in our oven. I was trying the turkey recipe where you cook on really high heat at first to sear the outside. Well, the only pan that fit my turkey breast was an old pyrex pan I'd found in the giveaway bin. But after about 20 minutes on 500 degrees smoke started pouring out of the oven. The pan had cracked and all the turkey juices were pouring out onto the oven floor. Not fun. Oh, and when I was first married I put popcorn in our new microwave, set the timer, and left the room. After a few minutes I realized the kitchen was full of black smoke and the popcorn bag was on fire! Apparently our new microwave was much more powerful than the ancient one our family had while I was growing up. Now I just use the "popcorn" button on it.

    Oh yeah, and my family still teases me about one of my first attempts to make Jello when I was 7. I followed the directions, but kept sneaking back for tastes so that when it was time to serve the Jello there was only about 1 inch left in the bottom of the bowl!

  31. Same thing happened to my SILs Pyrex dish when we were all over for (Thanksgiving?) dinner. Except it broke into ball-like pieces.

    I have had one too many cooking disasters and I must have attempted to block them because I can't think of any. However, I will always laugh about this one…My MIL was in town and all her adult kids were begging her to make a dessert dish they all love, Mississippi Mud. The dishwasher was already running, the dish she needed to bake it in was dirty, there was no dish soap left, so she handwashed the pan with the Bath and Body Works hand soap. She made the dessert, put it in the pan, baked it…and it tasted exactly like the hand soap. After begging her to make it and all the work that went into it, no one said anything, but we all dumped our desserts in the trash when MILs back was turned!

  32. Funny stuff. Three stories come to mind…
    We were married about two months and my husband was sick so I decided to be very thoughtful and make him breakfast. I had watched my mom and dad make scrambled eggs so I figured it couldn't be that hard. How wrong I was. First off, I HATE eggs. Can't touch 'em, can't eat them, I have nothing to do with them. But it was for sick hubbie, so I'd try. I put baggies on my hands to crack 3 eggs into a pan, beat them (didn't know you needed to add milk or some liquid), and added about a brick of grated cheddar cheese. Served them up, and he tried so hard to smile and eat them. But he just couldn't. Ran straight to the bathroom. Oh well.

    A few years ago I made some of that dry potato soup mix, but didn't let it cook long enough so I served water soup with some really yummy pieces of hard potato. One of my kids asked me if we were really poor. I said "Um, why?" and she said "because you made us water soup for dinner". Sad.

    Just a few nights ago I thought I'd be brilliant and use all the leftovers in the fridge and make a casserole. Mixed pasta, some meat, red sauce, an egg, some vegy's and probably some other items I can't remember. Looked okay when it came out of the oven. Served it (I didn't eat any, because of the egg) and waited for the compliments on my masterful use of leftovers. Well, no one was thrilled. My husband asked how in the world I had made Donkey-slaw. What? One child ate it to make me feel better. I decided I had better taste it – yuck! So I let them all throw it away and we had pop-tarts for dinner. Needless to say I haven't cooked since then. Not sure I will start up again – there are lots of yummy restaurants in town you know.

  33. … you're supposed to add liquid when you're scrambling eggs? No wonder mine always turn out kind of gross.

    Wow. See, you might think I am kidding, but I am so not. My world has been rocked.

  34. Blowing up dishes of food, is that all? On my mission I managed to blow up the oven!! Somehow when I checked on whatever was in there I dropped an oven pad in at the same time. It caught fire and blew out the oven door and several pieces of oven all over the place. The mess was incredible. I even have pictures to prove it. The noise it made was pretty amazing too.

  35. …oh, I needed this.

    I usually feel relatively competent in the kitchen, however, two days ago I had one of "those" dreaded days.

    I steamed peas as a side-dish for our fish-dinner. Although it helps if you remember to put WATER in the pan! I couldn't figure out why they weren't steaming after the burner had been red-hot for quite a while. Then the burning smell. Upon realization I did something even more stupid. I pulled the red-hot pan off the red-hot stove and set it on a potholder. It quickly melted to the potholder and almost caught fire!

    I cried. My husband came to help. We doused everything with water and ate salad in place of the charred peas. For the duration of the evening my sweet-husband complimented my cooking skills. Even so, I felt completely inept…sort of like the time I made a turkey-casserole for a vegetarian family. Not a good feeling.

  36. Wow, what a great thread.

    I hate to cook, especially anything involving potatoes, but one time I tried making potatoes au gratin from scratch. I was hormonal and when I get hormonal I become very clumsy. When I went to put it in the oven, I spilled it. All over the open oven door and the kitchen floor.

    I'd worked so hard on it too. I did what anyone would do. I stood there and burst into tears.

    My husband came in, took one look, and said, "No use crying over spilt potatoes au gratin," and totally had me laughing.

  37. All I can give you is the time I tried to make tomato soup, from scratch, and put boiling tomatoes into a blender, put the lid on, and hit "puree". Yeah – we were finding bits of tomato in the oddest places…for YEARS. My mother was in the other room practicing her piano and when she heard the boom, she yelled, "are you ok?!" I've never loved my mother more than that moment. I was sure she was going to chew me out for (literally) painting her kitchen red!

  38. My opinion on the metaphor involved here (which is wonderfully illustrated by all who have left comments): If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

    One pan of exploded brownies does not make you a horrid mother, a bad cook or a failure. We've all heard this GA quote- You're not a failure until you quit trying. So I vote for making that other box of brownies right away. Even if you have to eat them yourself because there is no company coming for dinner.

  39. My kids were hosting a chamber music party. One of the players was one that my son had a more than friendly interest in. I was making a hot fudge Sundae cake, also known as chocolate pudding cake. When it is done right it has a lovely sauce under the cake. It tastes great with ice cream.

    Things were kind of hectic so I made it up ahead of time and put in the oven to wait. Sometime later, with just enough time for it to come out hot and lovely when we were ready to eat it. I turned the oven on. It came out with the consistency of glue. The sauce was all right but the cake part was awful. I'll never do that again.

    The worst disaster I remember was not my own but someone in our dorm who put a piece of bread in the oven to toast and then left for class. The fire department had to come to take it out.

  40. I am so in need of this good laugh. Thank you!

    My mishaps:

    1) I made boxed brownies when I was a freshman in college (which was new to me, coming from a "scratch" family), and forgot to put in the eggs. Eggs, apparently, are essential to the oil and batter combinging. Part way through the baking process, I checked on them and asked my roommate, "Are boxed brownies supposed to boil?" We poured off the oil and ate brownie goop to our hearts' content.

    2) On my mission, I put some potatoes in the oven to bake. Part way through, we rememberd an appointment. I turned off the oven and we darted out the door. It was a couple of weeks or so before we noticed a scary smell in the apt. I am not sure how long before we discovered the rotting, dripping potatoes.

    And my friend's story: she moved from an electric stove to a gas stove, and didn't realize the bottom drawer is for broiling, rather than storing pans & such. She had company over when she put something in the oven to broil or bake. I think (if I remember correctly) a small fire resulted. Yikes!

  41. Oh, one more . . . I forgot an artichoke boiling on the stove for four to five hours. The ventilation in our house is so bad, we didn't smell a thing where we were in the basement. I just reposted a picture of it on my blog.

  42. The lesson here: no one is perfect. And no matter how hard we try to look that way for company, the truth will come out in the form of exploding brownies, or dense bread, or burnt lasagna. I love that a blog by Mormon women can feature a thread full of kitchen mistakes, and all the women are still just as wonderful and worthy as the ones featured on "look how great my casserole is".
    Definitely bake the other box, in a metal pan, and share them with the family members who helped clean up the last batch.

  43. Story from my dad — he made mac-n-cheese on his mission…the recipe that is simply adding evaporated milk and cheese to cooked pasta (one of my fave quick meals, actually). The problem is that where he was serving, the only canned milk was sweetened condensed…. Need I say more? His comps wouldn't touch it, but he ate it all. Ugh.

  44. Last year I was making milkshakes for my son's first sleepover with a friend- being the good mom, you know? And then I tried to use the ice cream scoop to push the milkshake down towards the blades, and the handle slipped and I dropped the ice cream scoop into the whirring blender. I wound up with chocolate milkshake all over my walls, floor and ceiling (gotta admit, there is still some drops left on the ceiling) and shredded metal in our shakes.

    And two six year olds who thought I was an idiot.

  45. Back in the days when microwaves were new, it struck me as being eminently sensible that I could cook a boiled egg in it. Turns out, if you try, that the microwave will explode. We were scraping egg off the ceilings of two rooms for weeks.

  46. We had company over for dinner. It was shortly after we were married and it was the first dinner party we had ever hosted. I had made a nice meatloaf. However, there was some extra oil that needed to be drained. So I very carefully started to tip it a little over the sink to drain the oil. And lo and behold, the meatloaf fell into the sink. Into sink water and dirty dishes. And the other couple watched me do it. We were in this tiny apartment that the kitchen was a part of the living room. I didn't know what to do. But my husband and the other husband took over from there. Luckily, half of the meatloaf fell into a dish that was mostly clean. They scraped it out and ate it. At the time it seemed okay to do so. Now that I think back to it…we should have just gone out to eat.

  47. My funniest cooking disaster happened when I was a teenager. We were making lemon meringue pie for my dad's birthday. I hadn't separated the egg whites cleanly so there was a tiny bit of yolk in the whites. I didn't know it at the time, but egg whites will not set up when there is yolk in the whites. We had a stand mixer and I started experimenting with different attachments, finally settling on dough hooks to try and whip the eggs. I didn't know they were dough hooks at the time. I had to leave to do something and asked my 10 year old sister to watch the eggs while I did another chore. She agreed, hopped up on the counter to sit beside the stand mixer and started reading a book. A few minutes later, we heard frantic screaming coming from the kitchen. We rushed into the kitchen to find her head stuck to the mixer. She had waist-long hair and somehow it had got caught in the mixer curled it right up. The amazing thing is that once we got the mixer turned off, her hair unrolled easily from the dough hooks. The mixer was ruined. And the pie was scrapped.
    I did learn to carefully separate eggs, use the correct beaters for whipping egg whites, and never to read while making lemon meringue pie.

  48. I guess that you could always switch to a metal pan!
    When I was a teenager my parents had gone to the food bank for some help in the pantry department. Flour was one of the items that they received. I decided to make a cake on day. A beautiful yellow cake from scratch named "Bonnie Butter Cake" or something like that. When the time came to eat the cake it tasted like soap. All we could figure was that there was something wrong with the flour from the food bank. It has forever since been reffered to as "the cake of soap"!

  49. I was trying so hard to impress my very new in-laws. I love to cook and my mother-in-law not so much so they were expecting great things. It was a special dinner for their 25th anniversary. I made a fancy cordon bleu type of chicken and made a lot-the first one baked just fine and was delicious. When I took it out I put another pan in so we would have "seconds" ready whenever we wanted. During a nice dinner (at which the new bride was already very nervous) we heard exploding and crashing coming from the oven. My delicious chicken was all over the oven (apparently the glass couldn't handle going from fridge to oven) I was so embarassed. Looking back it was no big deal but at the time I was sure I was a huge disappointment to my new family!

    Another time we had my father-in-law for dinner when MIL was out of town. For some reason the gravy wouldn't thicken no matter how much cornstarch I added. It didn't look very good to me so I just passed. FIL was relishing the dinner, DH took one bite and asked me what was wrong with the gravy! I had been adding POWDERED SUGAR trying to thicken it up! Gross. The funny thing is that FIL didn't care and ate it all-
    Hard to believe I cook professionally now. and still make lots of mistakes!

  50. This thread got me thinking. Someone said that Pyrex used to use a better type of glass. I also just learned about etching your name onto a Pyrex dish (apparently this is a common thing for Super Saturdays but my first time to hear of it was a few weeks ago) and learned that occasionally for some reason the glass just won't etch. So now I am thinking that maybe it is the older, better Pyrex that won't etch. And I'm thinking I need to haunt thrift stores for old Pyrex, since the exploding Pyrex seems to be a common mishap (and I use my 9×13 Pyrex dishes all the time.)

    These stories have all been so fun to read that maybe the moral can be that if we all share our disasters they can be a great source of entertainment. Sorry I can't think of any of my own to share at this moment — probably because I don't cook often enough. I do remember my sister telling of a time she made a beautiful, deluxe, from-scratch cake for some event and accidentally dropped it in the road. I think she also said her kids heard some swear words from her at that moment that they hadn't ever heard her say before.

  51. My worst cooking disaster (among many) occurred early in my marriage. I cooked a pot of noodles for spaghetti, but when I went to drain them, I sent them down the drain on accident. So, I turned on the food grinder and made another pot. Unfortunately, pasta doesn't go down easily and the drain was clogged. So clogged that we had to have the apartment maintenance guy come fix it. While we were at work, he came and dumped something along the lines of sulfuric acid down the drain, but didn't leave us a note! When I came home from work, the whole complex smelled like rotten eggs and our carbon monoxide detector was blaring. We called the fire department. All to take care of a pot of spaghetti noodles. Awesome.


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