Thursday, September 29, 2011

Trying Different Approaches

This post was spawned by a horrific meal. I'm still attempting to digest the few bites I gagged down. I know it's bad when I spit a bite out into my napkin before my kids cry uncle. The terror on a plate?


Shrimp rolls.

Now I love shrimp, and I adore mayonnaise. Throw the two together with some pesto and a few vegetables and slap it all on a hoagie--the picture for the recipe looked delicious. Yet, somehow, someway, something went wrong. Kids-I-don't-care-if-you-have-ice-cream-for-dinner-but-you-do-not-have-to-eat-another-bite wrong.

The meal? A big, fat FAILURE. Still, I'm glad we tried it. The recipe had been sitting in my binder for over a year. It now is crumpled up in the trash can, making room for another recipe to try. It's no longer staring at me with its why-did-you-cut-me-out-if-you're-never-going-to-cook-me eyes.

My cooking to-try list is similar to my writing idea journal. I write down any nugget of an idea in there to come back and consider later. Some of the ideas have been napping in the journal for over a year. Others tempt me enough to think, yes, maybe that will work.

Inevitably, when I take time to think through and flesh out ideas, some, like the shrimp roll, look good but don't live up to their picture. Those I don't pursue. Others might not be flashy, but by the time I've worked through them, they're as hearty as Sunday dinner and just as satisfying.

Sometimes we have to be willing to send a few ideas into the trash to get to the prize winner.

Have you made a meal so bad you couldn't eat it?

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Loved this! And yes. I have made meals like that. A certain crockpot chicken noodle soup comes to mind. Blech!

    And I'm just like you. I write down ideas (in random journals, unfortunately), and then go back through them form time to time.

  2. LOL. I love when people post recipe fails as well as recipe successes. My son saw this and went, "EWWWW." So, it even looks like a fail from an eight year old's perspective.

  3. Yeah, I've made some real clunkers in the past. A fish soup was my most recent disaster, but my most famous one was caramel chicken, because we had a guest that night who loves to bring it up every time he sees me.

  4. LOL my first try at cinnamon roll pancakes was a DISASTER. Let's just say I ended up with eggs, that my husband cooked. Boo for disasters.

  5. Not that I can remember. So sad, so sorry! :O)

  6. Maybe I'm hungry, but this looks yummy to me?

    I'm terrible at following recipes. I always miss something. I know, I know, attention to detail. :)

  7. I love how you turned around a "big fat failure" into more room in your recipe binder!

    I'm also impressed that you try new recipes. I'm not a kitchen-lover, so I figure out things that work - FAST - and stick with them on a rotation.

  8. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has food disasters! My family gets bored with the same thing, so I try to experiment. It frequently ends badly. :)

  9. Good morning!

    Sorry this went live a day early, but hey, that's how my week has been!

    Janet: Ah, the crockpot. I've had a few failures in that beautiful contraption, but the winners more than make up for it!

    Wendy: My kids were terrified of it, but they're troopers!

    Rachel: I still cringe at a few kitchen disasters when company was over. I want to say, "really, I'm not that bad a cook!"

    Jen: Ha! The name of the dish sure sounds yummy to me! In my first attempts at cooking, I once made my own special "stew," involving kielbasa sausage and A1 steak sauce. We still laugh!

    Diane: No fair! (And can I eat at your house? Please??)

    Jennifer: Looks can be deceiving, my friend. I love a good lobster roll, which I assumed this would be similar to. Not so much. :(

    Marji: I have several "staple" recipes we love, and I found them through cooking shows and magazines. Nothing like easy to make me happy!

    Elizabeth: Yes, I experiment also. The family lets out a collective sigh, and I usually take on a defensive tone and say something like, "but look how pretty the picture is," and "I've tried recipes from her before and they've been delicious." :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  10. I had to think what shrimp were before I saw the picture. We called them prawns. Anyway, yes, I have made bad meals. Mostly it involves my natural talent for burning dishes. :)
    As a writer I think trying out different things is apart of the success, even if perhaps you don't want to 'eat' them all. :)

  11. LOVE your new website look, Jill! Yay!

    I can't remember ever making a meal that was really bad, but my family doesn't let me try new things often. :(


  12. Yes, I have the meal horror story as well. My brother makes amazing chicken and noodles. He gave me the recipe, and I somehow used too much cumin and burnt the bottom of my good pot (totally destroyed it, actually.) The noodles were awful. I've never heard the end of it, of course.

    Thanks for sharing, Jill!

  13. well, we talked about the garlic-french-toast last week...but that's my aunt's dish. :) I once tried to make spaghetti-and-red-sauce. From scratch. Somehow mixed up basil and thyme and had...a kind of weirdly sweet sauce. My siblings still tease me about that.

  14. I'm a great cook most of the time, Jill, but who hasn't had an off-meal now and then?

    One thing that jumps to mind of late is some angel hair pasta I made with what I called "alfredo sauce". Ooooh, nasty. It tasted as bad as it smelled--kinda like a hospital room where someone had been sick. Hope that's not too graphic. :)

  15. Sorry about the dinner mishap, Jill. The recipe does sound good on paper, though.

    I made a bad shrimp recipe. When I went to add a "dash" of red pepper, the lid wasn't on properly, and the entire contents of the container spilled into my sauce! I tried to salvage it by adding cheese to take some of the heat away, but no deal. Had to throw it out. I regretted the waste.

    Have a great weekend!

  16. Tabitha: Love it! Prawns! Yes, I burn things too, like French Bread Pizzas while I'm writing. Not good!

    Jessica P: Thanks so much, Jessica! And I'm glad your family is spared from culinary nastiness. :)

    Stacy: Of course. Always when we're serving company! Cumin, huh? Mmm...

    Kristina: Oh, yeah, I won't be forgetting the "Texas Toast French Toast" anytime soon! Too funny! I wouldn't think thyme would be gross in spaghetti, but thanks for the heads' up!

    Cynthia: I've definitely had my off meals! Alfredo sounds really good now...

    Brandi: Uggh! All that nice shrimp spiced out. I know. I was really bummed about the shrimp waste too. :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  17. I'm totally into experimenting with cooking, and writing too :-)

  18. I like shrimp on a hoagy bun, but your picture has ingredients that I would probably spit out if I were allowed to do so (at home.)

    Once we tried a sugar-free dessert with some non-sugar sweetener. It was new and didn't work with cooking at all. It was inedible. My dad, ever the brave heart, ate it all. Wow, that's love.

  19. Paul: And sometimes the experiments don't work out as we expected, right? :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  20. Jill, I've had my share of flops in the kitchen. Not fun, especially when you have five hungry dinner mates to satisfy.

    You're right, though, this does compare to the story ideas log. Some do flop, while others just need a few choice seasonings to make them presentable and editable.

  21. I'm sure I have many times, but can't seem to remember specific recipe. Most likely the meal was so traumatic, the memory is repressed. However, my MIL underwhelmed her family with a recipe for Ham Balls. The mere mention of ham balls makes Himself shudder.


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