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Worst meal at someone's home - Part 1


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Moby - I used a traditional Italian method, when to the butchers (Gaioli in Chianti in this instance) and handed over money. Then smuggled it back into the UK.

The problem with is was is that pork and 'fatty' pork is a little of a no-no in my group of friends. That combined with the toes freaked them out. I had foolish though that as they eat legs of lamb with no problem, this wouldn't be and issue. Imagine the scene, everybody having fun, much laughter, I put down the majolica platter heaped with streaming lentils and surmounted with a stuffed pigs trotter. Dead silence (except for small gasps and maybe some muffled crying). Even when I sliced off the toes, there were very few takers and much polite pushing it about the plate. For some reason people confused the gelatinous skin with pure lard, no amount of discussion could alter this and at one point a guest actually took food of my plate to bin (for health reasons). Much yelling on my part (I had also cooked a leg of wild boar, so dinner wasn't a complete fuck up, but is was a terrible night).

I am cooking for fish eating vegatarians next week, I was going to do Singapore Fishhead curry, thankfully this post has reminded me that I am an idiot and not to even think of doing this.

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I'm not sure this qualifies as a meal, but once in college I was staying at a friend's house for the weekend, and helped myself to a bowl of granola in the morning. I sat there innocently, reading the paper and scarfing away, then screamed bloody murder when I looked down into the bowl: the cereal was infested with hundreds of tiny bugs, and I had eaten dozens of them by the time I noticed.

In a related incident, I was visiting the south of France several years ago, and was walking around the hillside with my extended family, two of whom were picking figs and plums off the trees by the side of the road and handing them to me to gorge myself on. Halfway through a plum, I looked and saw a colony of worms. In the middle of the street, I screamed and started doing something that probably looked like a cross between jumping-jacks and Riverdance, hopping up and down and spitting everything I could possibly spit out of my mouth, all the while hurling invectives like a Marseille dockworker who dropped a crate on his foot. I then heard one of the ladies say to the other, "We probably should have told him to look out for worms."

One other time in college, I was staying at another friend's house, and came home after having had a bit too much to drink. I'm not sure what got into me, but do you know those little spray-nozzle things on the side of certain dishwashers? I got a rubber band and wrapped it around so that the trigger was activated, and then I pointed it outward toward the person turning on the water. The next morning I was awakened by a scream coming from the kitchen: it was my friend's mother, who was being sprayed. She was taken off-guard, and didn't get back to the sink very quickly, and so the kitchen was hosed down for about ten seconds before she was able to turn off the water, and she was drenched. She took it in good humor, and was even joking about it as my friend and I were eating our breakfast. However, I found out later that she had taken several laxatives, and crushed them up in my cereal.

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When I met the man I was going to marry, he lived in a remote area and I would visit him from out of town. I soon discovered that he had what I thought of as very weird eating habits. He would eat only once a day. For a typical meal he would do something like cook a bunch of Weisswurst in a pan and then throw in a bunch of cooked spaghetti and put canned pesto on top of that. That may sound like it could be kind of good, if you like a lot of grease, but it really was incredibly greasy. Or he would just eat and entire carton of ice cream covered with maple syrup. He was getting to be an age where you cannot eat that way without gaining weight, so periodically he would go on starvation diets. I started cooking for him and he was amazed that he stopped gaining weight while eating more than one meal a day.

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Her favorite soup is this:  about a gallon of water, a pound of ground beef, a package of lipton's chicken noodle soup, and one onion, all boiled together for an hour or two and served.  The meat is not browned, degreased, or anything.  It looked like the bad result of too much drinking the night before.  :shock:

Good Lord!

That reminded me of a soup that a childhood friend's mother would make:

1/2 cabbage unchopped

pot full of water

boil for two hours

mash up cabbage with wooden spoon

serve

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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It isn't difficult to accomadate food allergies but some people make a career of being unpleasant about demanding attention to their needs and make a fuss if there is anything containing their problem ingredient anywhere near their food without having any consideration for other people.

You are quite correct. It is all about the attention for some people. I think that the average reaction for polite people when one learns one has an allergy or food sensitivity is to feel somewhat troubled that one must accomodate this and explain it to friends and relatives who will inevitably ask why you're not partaking of an alcoholic beverage, or why you can't have dessert. Others, however, feel that it's a license to hold others hostage and demand that every host bend to their will, and every guest eat the same way they do.

I knew a fellow who took up a fat-free lifestyle, and whenever he visited my in-laws, he would consume every package of fat-free anything that they owned. My mother-in-law would get very bitter about this, and I couldn't help pointing out that the obvious solution is to stop inviting him.

Unfortunately, she was also the perpetrator of most of the horrible meals I've had in another's home. Fat-free this, sugar-free that, a soup of plain, canned chicken broth with a couple (2) shreds of carrot and celery as the first course. A chicken dish stewed in fat-free canned soup.

Oh, and dessert was the piece de resistance. Orange Metamucil sprinkled over fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt. I actually heard my mother-in-law describing this as a special treat to someone once. She mentioned that they were eating Metamucil every day, since psyllium husks apparantly decrease cardiac risk, and they were ferociously afraid of dying some day. When someone mentioned that it didn't sound very tasty, to have a fiber supplement with dinner, she responded, "But we serve it on ice cream." He replied, "Now, you're talkin'!"

No, no, no. Now you're not talking about anything real at all. We're talking about gelatinous granules of psyllium fiber, sprinkled on tasteless, fat-free frozen yogurt that doesn't even have any noticeable vanilla flavor. We're talking about yuck on top of yuck.

Pass the antacids, please.

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Moby - I used a traditional Italian method, when to the butchers (Gaioli in Chianti in this instance) and handed over money. Then smuggled it back into the UK.

The problem with is was is that pork and 'fatty' pork is a little of a no-no in my group of friends. That combined with the toes freaked them out. I had foolish though that as they eat legs of lamb with no problem, this wouldn't be and issue. Imagine the scene, everybody having fun, much laughter, I put down the majolica platter heaped with streaming lentils and surmounted with a stuffed pigs trotter. Dead silence (except for small gasps and maybe some muffled crying). Even when I sliced off the toes, there were very few takers and much polite pushing it about the plate. For some reason people confused the gelatinous skin with pure lard, no amount of discussion could alter this and at one point a guest actually took food of my plate to bin (for health reasons). Much yelling on my part (I had also cooked a leg of wild boar, so dinner wasn't a complete fuck up, but is was a terrible night).

I am cooking for fish eating vegatarians next week, I was going to do Singapore Fishhead curry, thankfully this post has reminded me that I am an idiot and not to even think of doing this.

Yeah, see, this is what I'm thinking as I'm reading upthread. Boiled crabs in shell served on newpapers and pork with saurkraut are perfectly decent meals (and I would have loved to try your pig trotters) that people wrote upthread as their horror stories. I am positive that my midwestern guests still roll their eyes with horror at the fact that I've served lamb (lamb!!), or a pork roast that measured a mere 150 degree (!) internal temperature when taken out of the oven. Meh. It makes me want to invite a bunch of people over and serve tripe. With pig ears. Cooking for people in the Midwest is really f****g boring. No scratch that, when we lived in the city everyone was vegan/lactose intolerant/raw foodist etc., which was just as irritating. Americans are weird.

I was trying to think of truly bad meals I've been invited to. I have to admit I've more or less liked all of 'em, even the hot dogs and baked beans. I can tolerate mistakes (for there but for the grace of god...) and if it's something properly prepared that I find gross then it's my problem, not theirs.

I guess the only thing I hate is when people declare themselves to be foodies and then serve angel hair pasta with jar marinara, bagged salad and a bottle of thousand island. And mainly because they declared themselves to be foodies & got my hopes up. (Yeah, this actually happened...) The couple is half chinese and talks about making chinese food etc. Part of me thought maybe the meal was some sort of insult... :unsure: but then we've been invited back a few times, with various other people and it's always like that. Weird.

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It isn't difficult to accomadate food allergies but some people make a career of being unpleasant about demanding attention to their needs and make a fuss if there is anything containing their problem ingredient anywhere near their food without having any consideration for other people.
You are quite correct. It is all about the attention for some people. I think that the average reaction for polite people when one learns one has an allergy or food sensitivity is to feel somewhat troubled that one must accomodate this and explain it to friends and relatives who will inevitably ask why you're not partaking of an alcoholic beverage, or why you can't have dessert. Others, however, feel that it's a license to hold others hostage and demand that every host bend to their will, and every guest eat the same way they do.

Please look at this from the perspective of a person who really is unable to eat something that is ubiquitous in our modern diet. Like, for instance, wheat.

This summer I went out West to visit relatives who live in Montana. Even though I can't eat wheat, every meal was planned around it, without any contingency for me.

Can't eat wheat? That's ok, we made you pizza. We took out quesadillas just for you. Pasta. Bread. Crackers. Cookies. Cake. Beer.

Was I trying to get attention? What should I have done? Eaten it anyway? Actually, to some extent I did, and suffered the consequences. But it's embarrassing bordering on rude not to eat when others around you are eating. To say in someone's home, I'm sorry, there's nothing here I can eat...is unthinkable. But if there's nothing you can eat...?

Luckily, although I didn't have a car I was staying in a motel one block from a Wendy's.

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I'm sure there are other posts to this tune....

People who have been friends of our family for years and years invite us over before the holidays one year, after weeks of back-and-forth scheduling between the families. Finally, the mothers (very good friends, but with different ways of doing things) pick a date.

We'd been over to their house, and they to ours, for dozens of times; always, it was something homemade, casual--but always, good food. The kind of food you take time to prepare for friends.

These friends insisted on having dinner at their house, even though they had alerted us that they'd be out all day shopping; my mom tried to persuade them to relax, and come to our house.

They served us Olive Garden take out :angry: .............without letting us in on the secret; passed it off as home cooking. (I figured it out as I glanced into the oven and saw things in ready-made foil trays, plus a bag of Olive Garden dressing on the counter; didn't let on to my family until we got home and my parents said, hmm, there was something weird about that meal.......can't put my finger on it.) No prep dishes in the sink should have been a clue......

Then I informed my folks, in Sherlock Holmes style, what had happened.

Two questions remain, for me:

1) Why on EARTH would you *want* to pass off Olive Garden as your own cooking?!?! (Ok, I was happy to go there in college, when the only other (beloved) option was the Waffle House, but.......)

2) Why would you do this to friends?

Families are still good friends........We don't talk about the dinner........They think we don't know; we continue to let them think thus.... Basically, I wish they'd just said, geez, we're really busy, let's just go meet somewhere. Eurkea!

Oh, yes, more aptly: it was hideous food that should have remained on the conveyor belt from whence it originated.

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OK, the orange Metamucil on frozen yogurt just made me spit wasabi peas all over my keyboard. I can't even imagine what that would look (and taste!) like.

Speaking of bugs in food, my MIL (yes, the one of the hamburger soup above), served us some bastardized version of shepherd's pie once. To go with it, she put the green can of parmesan cheese on the table.

In my attempts to get something to eat, I sprinkled on some of the parmesan. Now that stuff is vile at best, but it is not dark brown in color, no matter what. I surreptitiously peeked at the can's bottom, and the expiry date had passed almost 3 years prior.

I whispered to my husband not to use any, but he didn't hear me, and when he upended the can, a small black beetle fell out. I'd had it, and when his mom sat down, I pointed out the date on the can, and showed her the beetle. She sneered at me, pushed the beetle on the floor, and proceeded to sprinkle the cheese on her own food.

The piece de resistance was when she also gave her dogs some of the same meal that she had served us, on a couple of dinner plates.

Alpo or ground beef? The jury is still out on that one. I went to bed hungry that night. Oh, and I forgot to mention, the can of cheese went back into the cupboard, not the trash bin.

:blink:

Edited by saskanuck (log)

I don't mind the rat race, but I'd like more cheese.

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Last Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving, just having arrived at my BF's mom's house to start the next day's dinner. Sauteed chicken livers and hearts. And the creamed spinach boil-in-a-bag stuff that I didn't know was still being produced. I....hate.....chicken livers. It's really the only thing in the world that I don't like to eat. But I just couldn't bring myself to say anything. Thank heavens for copious amounts of spinach-mush, and for the sweet relish and ketchup served on the side. I swallowed all 10 livers whole. I winced and shuddered as they went down. Feh.

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I just spent a couple of hours reading this thread and all of the links. These posts are hysterical (the Polish meal takes the cake). There needs to be a book compilation of all this stuff.

I think I had some truly horrible meals in my lifetime, courtesy of my dear departed Grandma (she was the main chef in the family in my youth) - the stories here all have a familiar ring to them - but I was either too young to know the difference or I have blocked it out of my memory.

Grandma was an aficionado of processed and overcooked food. :sad: Shake n' Bake, Tuna Helper, the pot roast cooked in the crock pot for 12 hours. I never thought a salad could have anything in it other than iceberg & Thousand Island dressing when I was growing up. My proclivities toward Kraft macaroni & cheese linger to this day :blush: (it was *safer* than anything she homecooked!!!). My father recalls being served Hamburger Helper 3 meals in a row, although I have some doubts as to the veracity of that claim.

But I still remember her peanut butter & Hershey's kiss cookies with fondness. :wub:

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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my worst meals were definately, and sadly, at my own house. My mother has made some particularly gnarled pieces of meat before. The worst, however, was one of my own. Adobo porkchops with adobo stir-fried squashes. It was utterly unedible. i had three bites, followed by a double quarter pounder with cheese.

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My nanny used to make oyster stuffing for Thanksgiving.

Now, I love oysters in almost all forms but that steaming pot of stuffing smelled like pee. My poor dad would eat some but neither my mother or I went near it.

I guess that this isn't a "bad" meal- she was a great cook. But more a matter of personal preference.

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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I try new recipes all of the time. Some of them are 'da bomb (as Peter would say) and some of them are just A Bomb. My family finally understands that when I try something new, please tell me what you REALLY think. So I know whether to pitch the recipe (if it is a cut out), write NG (no good) on the cookbook page, or whatever.

And, I've also informed the cleanup team that if the recipe is A Bomb, please do not put the leftovers in the fridge so I can discover them by smell some weeks later.

Fortunately, we have more successes than disasters.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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  • 4 weeks later...
Christmas day dinner, first meal of our stay, 6:00PM. It wasn't that the meal was so very bad to start with . . . what there was of it. A single slice of roast turkey ("White or dark?"), two (count them two) small leaves of cauliflower, steamed (where's the head?), sweet potatoes mashed with peanut butter, and a spoonful of very good cornbread dressing. Cheesecakey something for dessert. Meal was plated and all the rest of the food was put away immediately. OK, that was a little strange. And the food was cold by then. :hmmm:

This is a bizarre story, did you ever find out what the scoop with these people was? I would guess they were having some tough financial times if they were meagerly measuring out food like that. Kind of a sad story.

either that or they were incredibly cheap. If that's the case, then I'd be extremely annoyed!

Edited by malarkey (log)

Born Free, Now Expensive

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Chicken breast stuffed with bananas and ham, with a champagne and strawberry sauce, at a graduation dinner. We had no choice of main course. Obviously.

What particular brand of crack the chef was on, I've no idea, but I'm sure it's outlawed under Article 5 of the Geneva convention.

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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Chicken breast stuffed with bananas and ham, with a champagne and strawberry sauce, at a graduation dinner.  We had no choice of main course.  Obviously.

What particular brand of crack the chef was on, I've no idea, but I'm sure it's outlawed under Article 5 of the Geneva convention.

That reminds me of the party I went to last year, where one of the things served was tuna with BLUEBERRY GLAZE. The tuna was perfectly rare and delicious, but the blueberry glaze was really disgusting...

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Well, it wasn't the worst meal I've had, but someone once served (undercooked) baked sweet potatoes and (bad) ham salad at a dinner get-together I attended. In theory, the combination might be ok; in practice, it was uninspired and.....just weird. :blink:

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What a great thread! Not really the one to read while eating lunch tho.... :blink:

Anyway, my most recent strange meal was New Year's Eve at a buddy's house. His girlfriend is Japanese, and she has cooked us some AWESOME food in the past -- always Japanese food though. This time, she decided to do some "american" stuff, all snack food. Laid out on the table, it was beautiful. The strange part was the way everything tasted -- she had gotten the "look" right but nothing had the right flavor!

Guacamole

Bright, almost radioactive green. Turned out to be nothing but onions coated in a very thin layer of smooshed avocado. No other discernible seasoning.

Salsa

Actually worse than Pace from a jar. She told me at one point that she had added three times the salt the recipe called for!

Egg Salad (?)

Hardboiled eggs, chopped. Diced onion. Milk. Ranch salad dressing from a bottle.

I had a lot of chips and beer that night.

Now, in order to remove some of the guilt I feel for posting the above, I submit the worst dinner I've prepared for guests:

Decided to serve a group of 6 people individual fish packets (you know, where the fish is wrapped in foil with liquid, seasoning, chopped veggies etc). Baked all of them at the same time; unfortunately, once we all started eating, it quickly became clear that my oven doesn't bake evenly! Ended up microwaving 2 of the plates of unintentional sushi I had served my guests. Total embarassment.

Edited by EllenH (log)

"What, after all, is more seductive than the prospect of sinning in libraries?"

Michael Dirda, An Open Book

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My worst meal was the one my husband to be prepared for me. I was working the evening shift at the hospital, so he invited me for lunch one day. I was already impressed at the cleanliness and decor of his apartment, so I thought he might be able to cook too.

He served me spaghetti topped with cold Ragu from a jar that was in the fridge. I ate it to be polite, as he beamed at me.

I did not tell him how horrible it was until we had been married 20 years. :raz:

He has turned into quite a cook in that time.

If you can't act fit to eat like folks, you can just set here and eat in the kitchen - Calpurnia

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This thread reminds me of meals I thankfully didn't have to eat, though I did have to smell them. A boyfriend long ago rented a room during college. The owner, who looked like he weighed about 98 pounds sopping wet (as I recall) was a "health nut" (emphasis on the NUT) and vegetarian, who seemed to think that the best way to get the most nutrition out of his vegetables (never did see him eat anything else) was to, if I remember, much of it is blocked due to the trauma, bake them (dry) on cookie sheets in the oven for an hour or so (we're talking broccoli, here, not bell pepper) and THEN sprinkle wheat germ over them, liberally, and bake for another hour or so. :blink: The stuff looked vile and smelled worse.

Fortunately for me, this was near the end of that relationship. I wasn't much of a cook at the time, but even then I knew that baking (not roasting, as in with oil or salt and pepper) vegetables for two hours was not exactly the best way to preserve their nutritional value!

Edited by jgarner53 (log)

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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