It doesn't happen often, but sometimes something I'm making doesn't turn out. Either I make it correctly and the flavor is totally off, or I completely mess it up and Aaron and I eat it (or don't) just because we hate to waste food. The last few weeks have seen more than their normal share of the first kind of flop, but early on in my relationship with Aaron, when I was just starting to teach myself to cook, there were quite a few big flops. Last night's flop of a dinner (a crockpot meal that ended up as dry chicken and flavorless carrots) got me thinking about a few of the biggest cooking flops I've ever had.
Shortly after we started dating, Aaron had his birthday. I decided to make him a birthday dinner and a beautiful cake. My mom helped me make the lasagna, and I used frozen garlic bread and bagged salad, so the dinner part turned out okay. The cake, however, (which tasted fine because it came out of the box) was the UGLIEST birthday cake you've ever seen. I have since learned to embrace my ugly food - as long as it tastes fantastic, it doesn't have to be the prettiest thing you've ever seen. I'm just not great at decorating cakes or making things perfectly pretty, and that's okay with me.
About a year later, I decided to make Aaron a nice roast dinner. I had a pork tenderloin, and decided to roast it and make mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans to go with it. Everything turned out pretty good, until I got to the gravy. I used a package mix and way (WAY) over-thickened it. We basically ended up with spreadable "Pork Jelly" as we called it. What I'm saying is, it was less than appetizing. Thank goodness the rest of the dinner was edible!
Around that same time, I decided to try out a recipe from a new cookbook my mom had given me. Banana cream pie sounded fantastic (still does!). However, I will admit here that patience is far from my strong suit. So, because I didn't let things cook long enough, we had a very runny banana cream pie. Aaron, still going strong in the honeymoon phase of our relationship, ate the filling through a straw. It was very sweet, and something I don't think he'd do today. Also, I've worked on my patience a little bit and have since made several successful cream-type pies, so he doesn't have to do that anymore.
My worst cooking flop, however, was one that he still regularly razzes me about to this day. (Amusingly, I saw the recipe I flubbed show up on Tastespotting a couple of weeks ago.) I don't know if it was the recipe itself or a mistake I made, but I'm pretty sure a combination of those two factors ended up making for the completely inedible Key Lime Cheesecake Bars, with pretzel crust, and pistachio topping. I made it early in the day, and, after the allotted cooling time, dug in. Thinking it was maybe just not my thing, I left the rest in the refrigerator for Aaron to try. He has an amazing sweet tooth, and will eat just about anything, so I thought he might go for it.
Cut to several hours later, when he got home from work. I was upstairs when whe walked in the door and headed straight for the refrigerator to dig in. I hadn't told him I didn't like it, and he had been looking forward to it all day (the man loves him some key lime anything). I came downstairs just as he bit down for the first time, and then he completely froze.
"Mmmm..." he said, with a look of terror on his face.
"You're allowed to spit it out." I said.
"Oh thank God," he responded after depositing the bite and the remains of the piece he had cut directly into the trash. He then proceeded to go wash his mouth out at the sink, stating, "that is the worst thing I have ever eaten." I wasn't too offended since I hadn't liked it either, but I also don't know that it was bad enough to warrant the (approximately 8) years of teasing I've endured ever since.
At least I know how to torture him back. All I have to do is say the words, "Tomato Pie" and he completely loses his appetite. It's a fun game!
Now that I've shared I want to hear about cooking flops. It will make me feel much, much better about last night's nearly inedible dinner.