A promising idea ends in a kitchen disaster

These were four perfectly formed burgers.

I enjoy cooking. I like trying new things. Back in the day you could try a new recipe and be somewhat assured that it would come out. Maybe you wouldn’t like it but it would resemble what it should.

Not so much anymore. I stopped clipping recipes…mostly. If the recipe has a spice that I don’t carry, I don’t look twice. Some things are better bought like Chinese food. I can made a good stir-fry but my local take-out makes the best.

Once in a while, I’ll be intrigued with a cooking concept. It must be the writing style because the results aren’t there. The article invokes joyous times and happy people. Who doesn’t want that especially if you can get it by cooking up a meal? Who said there isn’t power in the pen?

Over the weekend I read an article about burgers. With a national holiday coming up everything is red, white and blue and food is all grilled.

There was a recipe included. The story recommended marinating hamburgers (more on that soon) for 30 minutes to 24 hours. I think of marinating as putting something into a liquid to soak up flavor. In this case you mixed the marinade in (or that’s how I read it).

I like seasoned burgers so I thought I would give it a try. I cut back on some of the liquids because it was a lot. Hamburger meat is loosey-goosey and can fall apart easily.

After I shaped the burgers which were still too wet, I put paper towels (notice the plural) on them to sop up the extra liquid. I mixed in breadcrumbs to dry it up.

At the appointed time I delivered them to the beloved husband for his magic on the grill. Ten minutes later he brought in scrambled burgers. The taste was good but there wasn’t a big piece anywhere. We ate them and had a good laugh. I learned a long time ago that it’s best to try a recipe before serving it to guests. That was reinforced.

I again resolved to stop clipping new recipes. They don’t match up to the old ones. Maybe test kitchens went the way of department stores and CD rental shops.

Want to share a kitchen disaster?

53 thoughts on “A promising idea ends in a kitchen disaster

  1. OMG- so many recipe disasters, its hard to chose just one! I’m glad your burgers tasted OK, even if they wouldn’t hang together 🙂 I think the only test kitchens are for big places like Food Network and Better Homes and Gardens and places like that. Otherwise I think they just throw stuff out there that sounds good. LOL on not buying new spices! I should definitely do that, though I don’t. I have two spice racks as a result now 🙂

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    • I bought 5 Chinese spice at least 5 years ago because I was going to make a Chinese dish. Still unopened. I ended up with a moratorium on what I cook and what I eat out. The constant tossing out and refreshing spices gets old and costly so I stick to stuff I use a lot. I cook a lot of Italian, Hungarian and standard American dishes.

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  2. I found a recipe once for making meatloaf in the microwave. The ingredients seemed a little off, but I happily mixed them together and then carefully formed the mass into a nice round ball, placed it in my casserole dish, and slipped it into the microwave. It came out so tough that I could barely get a knife through it. You could have used it as a basketball. It’s been years, but there is probably a raccoon somewhere in the woods playing with it yet today.

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  3. Scrambled burgers aren’t likely to catch on, you’re right! I can’t come up with a specific kitchen disaster, but I’ve surely had many through the years! I think sometimes we just make more work for ourselves and maybe we should stick with food simplicity. Typically clean up is easier, too! 🙂 Glad the burger was good tasting, even if cumbly!

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  4. I don’t know what the marinade ingredients were but I can tell just from looking at it I would have loved it. It looks like how my meatloaf burgers turn out. It’s browned up really nice, too. CH makes Maid Rite sandwiches often and I love those… I think when it comes to burgers, I just love loose meat or crumbles! We have had plenty of kitchen disasters involving bread. The only thing I can’t forget, which is not really a disaster, I made tuna noodle casserole and we were half way through eating it before we noticed I had forgotten the tuna.

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    • You hit the nail on the head! What attracted me in the first place was that the ingredients were very similar to my meatloaf recipe which we love. It did brown up nicely which made it tasty. Tuna noodle casserole without the tuna. Can’t say that I’ve done that…yet. There’s still time! 🙂

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    • A true failure is one that isn’t tasty. I had a cake completely break apart (beyond repairing with icing). We ate it with ice cream. Delicious! I think I forgot to flour the pan after I put the shortening on the pan so it wouldn’t stick.

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  5. I think the internet has allowed and encouraged people who are not good at something–sewing, cooking, writing, etc.–to make bad patterns and poor recipes and dreadful books as results of their nanowrimo, often as an idea to make money–and then the rest of us get suckered into thinking they might be okay and trying them, winding up with appallingly unflattering outfits, crummy food, and stinko reading material at the least.

    I no longer consider most things on the internet reliable at all, without reference to actual good sources. It worries me when people come up with odd recipes involving herbal things, etc., and print them online as if they couldn’t cause harm, like someone who recommended putting chocolate all over the place outdoors ‘to attract fairies’, without noting that it can kill dogs, cats, and chipmunks etc. to eat it. When I mentioned it to her, she said thanks, wrote down something about hiding it in the woods or tree stumps which did nothing at all to address the problem of ‘don’t put poisonous foods out where animals can get it’. It turned me off so completely that someone quite famous was frankly dumb about an animal safety thing even after having it pointed out.

    Just a rant today I’m afraid–no interesting cooking disasters.

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  6. I’ve had my fair share of cock-ups in a cook-up. Flat sponges become frisbee cakes and anything sweet is covered in custard. I made a curry at MOH and he uses a curry paste. He told me to put in the remaining contents of the jar (about a quarter) and it would be fine. I’m glad I tasted it, as it was a hot madras mix, way too powerful for our palette, so the meat was washed off, the mix thrown away and I opened a tin of pineapples, added some fresh ginger, garlic, mixed peppers and sliced mushrooms, and we had sort of sweet and sour.

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    • I am very cautious with spices. We like some hot but not overly. There is nothing worse than wasting food because something didn’t work. At least we will eat this. Today I’m using the rest with spaghetti.

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  7. Every once in a while I’ll see a correction notice in the newspaper because the ingredients or directions they printed for a recipe were wrong. When I see that, I often wonder about those poor people who made the recipe using the original directions and had disastrous results. I tend to stay with my old reliable recipes, especially when cooking for guests.

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    • I don’t serve guests something I didn’t try first. I’ve seen too many disasters elsewhere. For the most part I’ve stopped trying new recipes. I’ll incorporate a concept like brushing a new marinade in this case which is what I should have done. I was annoyed that I followed the recipe but we ate it.

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  8. My husband loved Emeril’s recipes. His beef stew is excellent. So he was sure Emeril’s king cake recipe would also be the bomb — I mean, the chef is from New Orleans, home of the king cake, right?

    We tried to make it for New Year’s. Twice. Hard as a rock and wouldn’t rise. I had to scramble to come up with a decent dessert for guests twice. Still don’t know what happened, after following those instructions to the letter. But my husband branched out after that betrayal!

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    • I too like to stick with chefs that I am familiar with. Love Ina Garten’s party recipe. They are always simple and mostly prepared before anyone gets there. Still, I have had failures. She has a heavier salt hand than I do but at least I can compensate for. Flat cake. You’d think it was the leavening. Too old or too little or too something.

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  9. As long as they tasted good, who cares if the burgers were in chunks. I once attempted to make a chocolate pie for Thanksgiving. When my father cut into it, the chocolate oozed across the plate and he said he’d need to eat it with a straw. I haven’t made a pie since…but I make great cookies. 🙂

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  10. Although you were actually here to witness it, I will recount that my biggest kitchen disaster was making a fall beef stew in a pumpkin. I over cooked it and when I took the whole mess out of the oven, the pumpkin collapsed and there was stew in every nook and crannie of my stove! Not the pretty pumpkin I had planned to take to table!!!! Oh and also found out that some of my guests are not fond of orange food!

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  11. Some of the recipes that go viral on the internet leave a lot to be desired. There was one for banana pancakes a while ago. It was just a mix of banana and egg. It came out like a banana omelette. My biped said she didn’t know what she was thinking to try it in the first place! It doesn’t take long to whip up a traditional pancake mix and slice some banana onto it once cooked and the result is in a different league. 😀

    I’m glad the burgers tasted okay – that’s the most important part!

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  12. Glad your burgers at least tasted good even if they didn’t look like patties.

    Everybody’s had the blender disaster, right? Like when you forget to put the lid on first? So I won’t bother to mention that one.

    There was the time I baked pork chops, and I SWEAR I followed the recipe to a T. They came out as pork crackers. We ordered pizza.

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