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Worst meal at someone's home - Part 1


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I expected to find a post from Osnav here; as I did not, I will have the luxury of telling it on myself.

There were six of us for dinner, drinking copious amounts of wine (probably after a cocktail or two...don't recall) and a couple of roasting hens in the oven. We had salad and waited, and waited and waited. The @#$% hens' temp wouldn't get over 120. We finally ate the salmon intended for the non-poultry-eaters (2 portions, split 6 ways), accompanied by medium-rare gratin of leeks and potatoes (Ruffles, with ridges, en casserole). I had to wear ribbons of shame for 2 months.

Turns out a fuse had blown on the oven. I'm never having those people over again. They're bad luck.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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So many bad meals. How to choose which to describe? I'll start with my husband. He wasn't my husband at the time, and really, I should have run away - far away - after that meal. But I was madly, stupidly in love. I was also about 3-1/2 hours away from any form of civilization and it was winter and I didn't want to get back in the car.

George was living as a reclusive artist out in the woods. Every once in a while he would drive down to the city and take all the expired TV dinners from his sister's freezer and drive back home with them. First of all, they were expired. Second of all, they were TV dinners and third of all it was a 3-1/2 hour drive so by the time he got them home they were thawed. Of course he'd just pop them back into the freezer, so now they were not only expired, but also potentially lethal. But why nitpick when you've got free food, right?

So one Friday I drove up - in a snowstorm - to spend a romantic weekend with him. He was waiting for me with dinner. (Cue the scary music...) George had heated up all the TV dinners in the freezer and suggested that we just pick the parts we liked out of all of them. I didn't like any of the parts. The worst of the lot was the salisbury steak which was greyish and perfectly oval. We both looked at it, then George stood up from the table, got a hammer and a nail and he nailed it to the wall. It stayed there - completely intact and unchanged - for 2 years. By that time we'd married and I didn't have the heart to take it down. Eventually we moved it outside to a tree where a brave squirrel ate it, we think.

I hope it didn't die.

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The worst of the lot was the salisbury steak which was greyish and perfectly oval. We both looked at it, then George stood up from the table, got a hammer and a nail and he nailed it to the wall. It stayed there - completely intact and unchanged - for 2 years. By that time we'd married and I didn't have the heart to take it down. Eventually we moved it outside to a tree where a brave squirrel ate it, we think.

I hope it didn't die.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

What a great first post! Welcome to eGullet and thanks for my laugh of the evening. :biggrin:

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Must be time for another story. This time it wasn't at someone else's house...it was mine. I was reminded of this just the other day - by my son, because it's Passover. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We used to keep ferrets. Two. Horrible, horrible animals. But I had children who loved them, so we had ferrets. NORMAL people keep ferrets in cages, but not us. We kept them, well, anywhere they wanted to be. Basically they had the run of the house. They were semi-litter trained in that they would occasionally go in any one of the ten or so litter boxes we had all over the house. Or else they might go in the corner of the den. Whatever. Likewise the ferret sleeping arrangements. Wherever, whenever. You never knew when you'd open your, say, underwear drawer and there would be Slinky - blinking sleepily against the light.

Or else it might be your dishtowel drawer.

Which brings me to the Passover story. I make a delicious, irresistible banana walnut cream roll for Passover every year. Anyone who has made a rolled cake knows that you turn the cake out onto a dishtowel, roll it up until it is cool, then unroll, fill, and re-roll. WHich is precisely what I did. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to myself, Slinky had taken to sleeping in the dishtowel drawer in recent weeks and all the dishtowels were covered with ferret fur.

You know where this is going already, don't you?

It was my son who noticed it first. I tried, desperately, to pick the fur out of the cake but it wasn't possible considering it had been rolled up with the cream filling in it and all. So I just dusted the whole thing HEAVILY with icing sugar and didn't say a word. The kids didn't touch dessert that night, and neither did I.

Fortunately, I mean, tragically the ferrets are no longer with us. But that Banana Roll Cake is now forever called Ferret Roll and we don't tell anyone why.

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Wow :biggrin: these were some amazing stories! My favorite is definitly the one about that family Markk encountered :smile:

Hilarious!

Me myself, have only experienced anything nearby to this when I was an exchange student in Great Britain, living in a tacky small sea side small town in southern England.

I was, along with a another Swedish guy, a Libyan, a Spaniard, a Czech exchange student; living as paying guests of a very strange couple. There was our host: the very old sailor Brian, who talked some kind of cockney dialect which you couldn't understand a single word of. Then there was his wife: the old Portugese housewife that did most the of the housework and always made Brian and us food.

The thing was that the food the old portugese woman served us was horrible. And the horror continued for months,

We and our families at home paid here a pretty reasonable sum to give us food and housing, and we added some extra pounds every week to make them increase the quality of everything. so we thought she could at least make an effort.

But the housewife always insisted on serving a dish consisting of almost uncooked, unspiced, unsalted chicken, with a dash of nasty rancid white wine and then fried bacon to us.. Almost three times a week.

The rest of the week we got almost always chicken nuggets, frozen pizzas, just french fries, and cereals for dinner. a week. For breakfast, there was only cereals and milk, and the same was with the lunches, except sometime there was a ham-sandwich with mayonaise laying around in the fridge. The only kind of seasoning we had overall was "Heinz Salad cream" and malt vinegar.

No salt, no pepper. nothing whatsoever.

And when the woman noticed that after weeks of this horror, my swedish roommate wouldn't eat her chicken and that the rest of the crowd in the house was critical of it, and barely touched it. She became furious and just screamed at us

- You are the worst exchange students evaaar... you no like chickin'? I make chickin me own way.. I know how I make chickin, I've made it for 30 years.

She had so much pride in this this of lousy piece of raw bloody chicken!.. You can't really understand it. After all, strangly this was what she served most of the week. I wonder how she and her husband handled all the bacteria of uncooked chicken.

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Oh.. the stories.

There was the boyfriend in high school with the snooty mother (she didn't think I was good enough for him til she found out I got a scholarship to law school in my 20s..oh how her tune changed THEN!). She made a pot roast that had all the flavour and texture of an old leather boot. Whilst I was gamely trying to chew down my small morsel, she remarked on how tender the roast was that night. I had to stop myself from choking.

Then there was the boyfriend who absolutely CHARRED some very expensive dry aged steaks I'd picked up for a special night. He prided himself on being a barbeque expert. Oh no, he wouldn't overcook them! they'll come out medium rare! HONEST!..... they were inedible.

I'm now single :D

Disclaimer: 1) a renunciation of any claim to or connection with; 2) disavowal; 3) a statement made to save one's own ass

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I was laughing so hard reading these stories, I thought my son was going to call 911 for someone to come and take me away.

This is definitely not the worst meal on this post, but we were visiting a pastor's home and they served us tri-colored pasta with a jarred cheese sauce over it. It was warming to the belly, but unappealing. They were so enamored with this "meal", I started to think something was wrong with me. The "best" part, the pastor was feeding my son (approx. 1 yr. old) from his plate. What could I say? "We don't want him eating from your plate" ??

I heard another story from a lady who had a visiting preacher in her home. He was apparently a "big wig" in the church organization. Anyway she served some sort of chicken "balls". I got the impression that they were similar to a croquet (spelling). Anyway, when she served the preacher, she noticed that a strand of her long hair was suspended through and through the pastor's chicken ball. She spent several seconds agonizing over whether or not to tell him. Well, she did tell him and do you know that the preacher would not let her replace it? Instead, they attempted with much effort to pull the hair out of the chicken ball. I have to assume that part of the hair was left in the middle, and that the preacher ate it. I hope he prayed over his meal that day. :wacko:

pepperAnn

At my house, you get two choices for dinner:

TAKE IT or LEAVE IT!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, this wasn't a meal and it wasn't at somebody's house, but it was the worst thing I ever ingested. I was working at a Starbucks, and a co-worker decided to make a Tobasco shot. That's right. He poured Tobasco over the grounds in the portafilter and then pulled the shot. I can still taste it. The foulest thing I've ever experienced.....

Frau Farbissma: "It's a television commercial! With this cartoon leprechaun! And all of these children are trying to chase him...Hey leprechaun! Leprechaun! We want to get your lucky charms! Haha! Oh, and there's all these little tiny bits of marshmallow just stuck right in the cereal so that when the kids eat them, they think, 'Oh this is candy! I'm having fun!'"
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So many bad meals. How to choose which to describe? ...

...the salisbury steak...

... then George stood up from the table, got a hammer and a nail and he nailed it to the wall. It stayed there - completely intact and unchanged - for 2 years. By that time we'd married and I didn't have the heart to take it down. Eventually we moved it outside to a tree where a brave squirrel ate it, we think.

I hope it didn't die.

This post takes me back to art school. Thank you.

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So many bad meals. How to choose which to describe? ...

...the salisbury steak...

... then George stood up from the table, got a hammer and a nail and he nailed it to the wall. It stayed there - completely intact and unchanged - for 2 years. By that time we'd married and I didn't have the heart to take it down. Eventually we moved it outside to a tree where a brave squirrel ate it, we think.

I hope it didn't die.

This post takes me back to art school. Thank you.

Funny - George is, in fact, an artist. And, at the time, not long out of art school. Me too, for that matter. That's pretty funny.

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  • 3 weeks later...

At a recent dinner party, the host served a pasta dish with a sauce made from a mixture of Malaysian Chile sauce, sundried tomatoes and red wine.....YUCK!

And, he really believes that he's a great cook!

Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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  • 1 month later...

I went on an exchange trip to the Netherlands back in high school (in the oh-so-fashionable 80s) and my host family prepared what they told me was going to be the best meal of my lifetime.

It was a fish. A raw fish. Scale-less, but head and eyeballs still intact. Staring at me pitifully from the brown pfaltzgraff-looking plate. I politely waited for my hosts to start so I'd know what to do with the thing. They smeared its head with mayonnaise and then cut off the head and ate it. Bones and all. Crunched away. The sound of it made my mouth water in that not-so-good way, so I excused myself and ran to the bathroom. After a round of dry heaves, I returned to the table, where they had all finished their fish and had store-bought chocolate mousse for dessert. I ate that and excused myself and went to bed. During one of our educational sessions the next day, I snuck out to their local version of McD's and ate about 14 metric tons of french fries.

Funny... the rest of our meals during that stay were in local restaurants.

Edited by Diner Girl (log)
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I once had spaghetti at a friend's house, just simple noodles with marinara sauce, hard to screw up, right? One would think it would be common knowledge to drain the noodles of all of the pasta water, not just *most* of it. The reasoning was, "it keeps the noodles warm". Honestly at this point, I'm just going to stop, that's quite enough. Water and marinara are not good bedfellows.

Edited by west2100 (log)
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The absolute worst meal I've ever had looked so strange that I had to ask what is was. The reply, ground bologna and pickles! She actually got out a meat grinder and ground together sweet pickles and oscar mayer bologna. It was then placed on cheep hamburger buns, topped off with cheese whiz, and heated under the broiler. I can't begin to describe the taste.

What mental malfunction would compell anyone to make something so completely unappealing & repulsive?

Rock is dead. Long live paper & scissors!
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The absolute worst meal I've ever had looked so strange that I had to ask what is was. The reply, ground bologna and pickles! She actually got out a meat grinder and ground together sweet pickles and oscar mayer bologna. It was then placed on cheep hamburger buns, topped off with cheese whiz, and heated under the broiler. I can't begin to describe the taste.

What mental malfunction would compell anyone to make something so completely unappealing & repulsive?

This actually sounds a lot like a midwestern delicacy my husband likes occasionally, which his whole family calls "sandwich spread." They make it by grinding pickled ring bologna, which is fairly easy to buy in the supermarket where they live, with pickles. Definitely not my thing...and I've never heard of them serving it with cheeze whiz.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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The absolute worst meal I've ever had looked so strange that I had to ask what is was. The reply, ground bologna and pickles! She actually got out a meat grinder and ground together sweet pickles and oscar mayer bologna. It was then placed on cheep hamburger buns, topped off with cheese whiz, and heated under the broiler. I can't begin to describe the taste.

What mental malfunction would compell anyone to make something so completely unappealing & repulsive?

This actually sounds a lot like a midwestern delicacy my husband likes occasionally, which his whole family calls "sandwich spread." They make it by grinding pickled ring bologna, which is fairly easy to buy in the supermarket where they live, with pickles. Definitely not my thing...and I've never heard of them serving it with cheeze whiz.

MelissaH

The first year of my son's marriage, we were invited to a big family picnic at his in-laws' house, for the Annual Lunch featuring his MIL's Famous Ham Salad. She had mentioned it to me a couple of times before, when she learned that I had cooked for so many people for so long. But she always said "ham."

We arrived to find the yard filled with people enjoying cold drinks, the shady lawn, each others' company. We were welcomed warmly, and after the great round of introductions (though I'm sure we had met about 50 of them at the wedding) we went into the house to find MIL standing at the kitchen table, with slices of bread laid out in tidy ranks like soldiers, spreading green-flecked pink floof onto half the slices. She'd spread, cover, and hand off to my son, who seemed to be the only one manning the stove. He had two immense griddles going, each covering two stove burners, and each making six or eight of the sandwiches at a time. My DDIL was standing by, squeeze-margarine in hand, and as he'd flip the next six onto a platter, she'd do a little Dali-esque squiggle of yellow lines onto the griddle, ready to receive the next six for grilling.

People were lined up clear out the back door, mouths watering, waiting their turn. They would come forward, select one or two sandwiches, make a pass to the buffet, where they pried the two halves apart and inserted any or all of a dozen extras: sliced tomatoes, onions, pickles, olives, more cheese, sour cream, etc.

DS was sweating a bit in the Summer heat, and from all those burners going at once in the stove corner, but the line never abated. I sliced more tomatoes, more onions, put out more chips, helped spread a few myself. We made 118 sandwiches in the course of about an hour and a half, and they were all consumed, down to the last crisp crumb and gooey fleck of filling. Cokes and Iced tea flowed like wine in Paris, and then they broke out about 10 cold watermelons. We sat on the lawn, on the swings, on a big terrace wall, spitting seeds and settling into our new family.

I was glad to leave behind Souse when I left the South for the Heartland, and did not realize I was escaping to baloney salad, but it's served by some mighty fine people.

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This is one my favorite threads at eGullet.

My story is not as horrifyingly hilarious as many as I've read here, but after many years it still makes me laugh.

One of my worst meals at someone else's home actually happened twice: once after a girls' night out which included myself, a few co-workers and a friend of one of the co-workers, the friend of the co-worker kindly allowed me to sleep over on her couch as I was a little too tired and buzzed to drive home. In the morning she generously offered to make breakfast: sausage and scrambled eggs. At the time it never occurred to me that someone could actually screw up sausage and eggs. Well, first she proceeded to cook the sausage patties.............. and cook them and cook them and cook them until a very dark crusty brown. I like my sausage a little crispy and browned, just not all the way through. :shock: They actually made a clanking sound as she placed them on the plate as one hard surface met another. Then, using the sausage grease in the pan, she began to scramble the eggs. She scraped and scrambled and scraped and scrambled while I bit my tongue to keep from asking why it was taking her so long to scramble a few eggs since it usually only takes me a minute or two. Finally, she served us both the petrified sausage and eggs.

I'm not sure I have the words to describe the appearance of the eggs. They were like little pellets, with the size and shape of the kind pellets that one would purchase from a pet food store to feed small, pet rodents or rabbits. Little brownish/greenish pellets. Perhaps someone out there conversant in food science can tell me what chemical reaction would cause eggs to turn brownish green. Anyway, I glanced over at the frying pan and noticed that every drop of grease that had escaped the sausage was gone (into the eggs, of course), but that approximately one quarter of the eggs she began with was solidly stuck to the surface of the pan.

Again, since she was really such a nice person, I honestly did try to eat those eggs. However, I'm afraid I just could not overcome: a) their appearance, b) their taste--hard, chewy and greasy and, c) the fact that they rolled around the plate forcing you chase them down with your fork. I did manage to crunch down most of the sausage though. Finally, she noticed that I was not making any progress with the eggs and asked what was wrong. I said, "I'm really sorry, but I usually eat my eggs a little [meaning a lot] less 'done' than these. I'm really sorry." She was so nice and proffered, "Oh, I'm sorry, why didn't you tell me? I can make you some more." I declined, but always remembered more so than the eggs, what nice and generous spirit she was.

As I mentioned at the start, this happened to me twice. Years after that event, those scrambled eggs appeared again. This time it was my former sister-in-law. The only difference was that she started out with even MORE GREASE than the other woman!

I didn't eat them. :smile:

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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When I was 7 years old, I went to a potluck dinner, kind of a family reunion, with my grandparents. Someone had brought this purple and white Jello mold looking thing. Being a kid, I thought it was grape and cream jello. It ended up being some concoction of egg white, red cabbage, and gelatin. I had to excuse myself to go spit out that bite in private.

A couple of years ago, my mother-in-law made a couple of pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving, and forgot the sugar. I took two tiny bites, and said "maybe it's just my taste buds, but this pie is bitter". Unfortunately one of the others had already gunned down a piece of this unfortunate pie. To her credit, she's a pretty good cook when she follows a recipe and doesn't forget important ingredients like yeast or sugar.

Another mother-in-law incident involves her mexican rice... apparently she doesn't test her chiles for heat before adding them. The last batch she made made my taste buds numb for a week. This stuff would have melted titanium.

Cheryl

Cheryl

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Not really a story, but a reference for the 'gourmet' cooking of the 50's...

"The Gallery of Regrettable Food: Highlights from Classic American Recipe books" by James Lileks (www.lileks.com), Crown books, 2001.

Photographic proof of how tastes have changed--Thank God!

Karen

All that is needed for evil to survive is for good people to do nothing

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My dad fancied himself a great cook. Now we do have to consider that this was the creation of a half blind 88 year old man who was always about 1/2 blitzed by evening.

He made me "pizza", a Boboli crust, topped it with some of Mom's home made spaghetti sauce, slices of salami, and some Mexican queso fresco that had been in the fridge way too long. Then drizzled the whole thing with about a cup of olive oil. Put it into a very hot oven and scorched it nicely. Oil dribbled into the oven and added a nice smoky accent.

I did manage to eat some.

This was from the man who believed everything that he read if it agreed with his preconceived notions. He once read about marinating a duck in red wine for a week so nothing would do but he try it. We were invited to Christmas dinner to have the duck.

I don't know what wine he used nor what seasonings but that duck that had soaked in the wine for a good week was one of the nastiest things I have ever put in my mouth. No excuse for age and blindness this time. He was only in his 50's when he did that one.

I think this may have something to do with the fact that my kids won't eat duck to this day.

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My worst meal was at a friends home where my fiance and I were spending the weekend, visiting. Dinner the first night was a small bowl of "si ji dou" - green beans with garlic and ginger - delicious, but only enough for one person. There were three of us. A pot of rice. Water. I realized as I went to bed that night my stomach felt funny, cramping - I was hungry!!

What was our host thinking?

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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Re: bologna "ham salad"

When I was a kid in the 40s and 50s, bologna/baloney was known as "minced ham" and ham salad made with it was a very popular sandwich filling. I absolutely loved it, but in defense of my taste buds they don't make bologna like they used to. It's now less meaty and more mushy, and shouldn't be made into salad, if indeed it is eaten at all.

Ham salad, chicken salad and egg salad are still on my favorites list.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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Two weeks ago, it was a cook-out at the house of my husband's colleague at the office. The colleague is grilled salmon fillets and chicken thighs, while his wife prepped green salad and saffron rice.

The salmon and chicken were both grilled to death and rock-hard, as even the hostess proclaimed, jabbing her fork into the tough meat on her plate. My piece of salmon had a strand of the host's hair grilled onto it, and I felt compelled to finish it to be polite, but the hair would not come off with prodding from my fork. I had to wait until the host's and hostess's heads were turned before picking the hair off with my fingers. Worse, as soon as I had choked down the salmon completely, the host brought the platter of salmon over to me and, over my protestations of being full, pleaded "have another one, just for me." What could I do? Ate more salmon than I wanted.

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OK, not the Worst Meal Ever but my husband and I chuckle over this one still...

We were at his sister's house and she proclaimed she was going to make a family favorite, for old times sake: Decker Chicken!

She proceeded to fill a jelly roll pan with unrinsed, untrimmed chicken thys. She generously sprinkled them with sage (about 1/2 tsp for each piece) italian seasoning and paprika. And baked them for about 45 minutes. What came out of the oven was a pan that you had to be careful to not tip for fear of spilling all the grease rendered because the pan had so many pieces in it. The skin was blackend from the spices and fairly inedible because there was SO MUCH sage. Eating the thy I had to pick out the globs of fat that were stuck to the meat because they were untrimmed...eeeewwwww.

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