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Worst meal at someone's home - Part 1


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I dated a young lady who made me three meals. Two were very good (homemade pizza and a beef roulade). The third was a pasta and sausage deal that included bbq sauce and liquid smoke in the sauce. Oh my god. But being Mr. Wonderful, I've eaten it three or four times without complaining.

Edited by Stone (log)
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We have aquaintances who invite us over for shabbat meals every couple months. I cringe whenever we get the invite, as the menu never changes and it's awful. First, they start with gefillte fish that is absolutely tasteless. I have to smother it with horseradish to get it down. Then the salad is a little lettuce, shredded carrots, tomatoes, scallions and canned mushrooms. The mushrooms ruin what would otherwise be a perfectly good salad. The main course is always chicken heavily coated with something undescribable. My husband thinks it's a spice-rub. It's somewhat greasy and has a burnt taste. As an accompaniment, there's derma (which is literally stuffed intestine, but in this case it has been pulled out of its casing - its spices, fat, and flour) mixed with overcooked tasteless pasta. Dessert was fresh fruit and soy ice cream. I stuck with the fruit, but according my husband the "ice cream" had a protective layer of frost :shock: .

The last time we ate there, I couldn't wait to get home and eat some real food.

My husband only recently realized that the side was derma and he's disgusted. You should see the look of revulsion on his face, and he's not a picky eater.

I need to invite this couple back to my house, but I'm afraid it will only encourage them to extend future invites. :blink::sad:

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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We have a friend who like to think recipes are beneath him; it is much more fun to just make it up as he goes along, letting his creative juices guide him. There's nothing wrong with that at all, providing you have a clue. Alas, he doesn't. One of his more memorable creations was snapper, shiitake mushrooms, and polenta. Now at some point those three could have become a rather tasty meal. Not that night. He sauteed the mushrooms, made some sort of sauce (there was a LOT of liquid), then cut the fish into chunks and added it to the liquid. He cooked it for a VERY long time at a VERY high boil, but still there was more liquid than he wanted. So he came up with the inspiration of adding polenta. He boiled it for another ten minutes or so. The polenta? It was that vile, precooked log stuff, which isn't half bad if you grill it. He just cut in into little pieces right out of the package, like dumplings, and dropped it in. Oh yeah, and he doesn't cook with salt, because it's "bad for you." They don't even keep it in the house.

He served it on a plate, not in a shallow bowl, so that it looked as bad as it tasted.

I cannot tell you how hard I work at avoiding going to these people's house for dinner.

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The worst meal I ever had was at a home in London. I was on a youth exchange with my college tour choir, and we were all staying with willing families. Our host was wonderful in every aspect aside from food. I've blocked most of the meals from my memory entirely (they were that bad), but I remember learning to eat dry toast for breakfast, since it was the most palitable thing available at the time. The one menu item that will forever live in my memory was a dinner where the host served cauliflower as a side. It was cauliflower like in shape, with an odd gray-green cast to it. When I went to nudge it with a fork, I quickly found it was soft enough to spread on toast :blink: I can only guess that it had been boiled for an hour or so before being set upon my plate, with no seasoning or adornment of any kind.

I know the food going into that kitchen resembled something edible, but found myself wishing over and over again that I could have cooked.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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You people obviously never met my ex-mother-in-law.

She holds the record.

The two of us, my ex- and I, were together far, far too many years, and during that time we ate an unbearable number of meals at her house, at my ex-husband's insistence.

The meals all run in together.

Well, certain things do stand out.

You know how the Japanese will gently heat a pot of dashi containing a block of tofu and a multitude of baby eels, which burrow into the tofu and cook there? I was served the opposite, an ear of corn untrimmed of its rotten spots (no vegetables were ever trimmed of their rotten spots) where the cornworm tried to get out during the boiling process, and almost made it. I can still see it looking at me. I have an iron stomach, but that was one meal I didn't finish.

In our first years of acquaintance and marriage, we used to eat there every Saturday, Sunday dinner, and most Sunday nights. Saturday was always Friend's canned baked beans, the cheapest hot dogs available (I forgot to tell you that everything served here was always the cheapest available, though money was not tight), small grey hockey-puck-like burgers [The texture only was like that of a hockey puck. It would have been too much effort to make them flat and regular in shape--so they resembled UFOs.) made from the cheapest hamburger available, and white bread. Always cottony white bread.

Sunday supper was the meal that we stopped going to first. Occasionally she would fix something fresh, ie, new, but often it was something like chili--leftover beans from Saturday night, with leftover MASHED hot dogs, and a packet of chili mix.

Sunday and holiday dinners were the real standouts. Meats were generally put in the oven the evening before on the lowest setting (fluctuated between 'dessicate' and 'incubate'). One popular meat was 7 bone chuck, a cut that for years was sold for less than fifty cents a pound. For a reason! It was only about 25% meat! It was lightly floured, and baked in a pan covered with foil until the grease rose halfway up the meat. There was very little actual meat in those bones. His father would sit at the head of the table and make a big show of carving the "roast". At least once I ended up with a bone and a nodule of gristle as my portion. Yes, the gravy was poured directly from the pan into the gravy boat, and not degreased, so there was at least half an inch of grease floating on top for people to pour on their plates and sop up with the white bread.

Chicken cacciatore was popular. Chicken backs and necks (packed with equal parts of carcass fat blebs) at the time sold for $.12 a lb. at the local market. She would put several pounds of them into a kettle, add potatoes and unseasoned tomato sauce, and simmer it until the bones fell apart. You got to pick the vertebrae out of your teeth, too, more fun! One year we all piled into a borrowed school bus to drive down to Florida. They packed food to start the trip, including a crockpot of chicken cacciatore. Son #3 put his hand on the pot as he entered the bus. "Oh, boy, still warm!" He said. A sinking feeling traveled from my stomach to my abdomen, but the cacciatore was, in fact, never heard of again. I suspect it was pitched when the tentacles growing out of it encircled the leg of a front seat passenger.

Turkey was served for the holidays, especially Mother's Day, the day when the wimminfolk cook up an extra big meal for the menfolk, who sit around, patting themselves on the back for being so good to Mom. Turkey was baked for about a day in a roasting pan covered with foil, with some water added. If the water didn't cook away, the turkey steamed in the pan and essentially disintegrated ("Oh, boy, tender!). If the water did cook away (and it might have been cooked away for a long time by dinnertime), the turkey looked like it had been napalmed. I had once said that I liked dark meat, so thereafter they gave me a leg, whole, because you couldn't have sliced it without a carbide cutoff saw. It was hard on the jaw. The white meat, on the other hand, was so powdery dried out that they served a jar of salad dressing at the table to help people choke it down.

Vegetables were cooked until they were tender enough to cut with the back of a spoon, and garnished with a large quantity of store-bought coarsely ground pepper that looked like nothing but cigarette ashes.

She was an old-fashioned cook, raised by an elderly female relative, as was my mother, but there the resemblance ends. My mother was able to follow a recipe. My MIL could neither follow a recipe nor choose one. So, often, as the family "gourmet", I would be served all sorts of delicacies that the dog wouldn't have eaten. A dish of canned mushrooms in canned unseasoned tomato sauce might be set at my place at the table. Jello salad with a generous dollop of store-brand salad dressing that had been unrefrigerated after opening. A standout was the baguette she bought, hollowed out the slices, and refilled with a mixture of cottage cheese, dry Italian dressing mix, and red food coloring. It tasted as bad as it looked.

The dessert that comes to mind was the pudding she served that was lumpy and stringy. How do you do that to a box of pudding? She told me the directions said to "stir like crazy". This gave me some major insight into the minds of people who can't seem to get recipes to work for them. You see, actually, what the box said was "Beat for 15 minutes on high speed with an electric mixer." Spoon for a minute, electric mixer on high for 15, same difference.

I remember weeks spent at the summer house with a turkey sitting out on the table for people to pick at til it was gone, and weekends there with neither fruit nor vegetable, white bread only: the fiber-free experience.

I can't end this without mentioning breakfast. My ex was the eldest of 4 boys, and the other three were still living at home when I first met him, so I got to sample some breakfasts. Bacon ends and pieces (those big thick hunks of fat and meat) were pan-fried until cooked but unrendered. This was served with scrambled eggs that eager diners generously slathered with imitation Velveeta chunks and grape jelly, so as to leave jelly in the imitation velveeta and imitation velveeta in the jelly. Bleh.

After our divorce, my ex-husband remarried, and his new young wife (who basically has no food taste or cooking skills, but is at least cognizant of this fact) refused to eat there except for special occasions. So I can amuse my daughter with these stories, but she has few of her own, and did not have the opportunity to participate in such a character-building experience as I did in my tender years.

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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.

"It tastes like feet!" -- Ross Geller, describing Rachel's dessert (half a recipe for English trifle, coupled with half a recipe for shepherd's pie with beef, mashed potatoes and peas)

Edited by tanabutler (log)
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It wasn't at someone's home but I think it qualifies.  ONe of my more eccentric cousins decided to marry his longtime GF when they were both in their 40's. They were a bit reclusive and none of us outside his siblings knew them well. The reception was in the Universalist Church basement. The bride and her mother had prepared all of the food for the reception and it was MACROBIOTIC. It may well be that there's such a thing as tasty macrobiotic food but this was the nightmare dreck of predominately raw, entirely unprocessed ingredients that was prepared with absolutely no herbs, spices, sweeteners etc.  Most horrifying were the brownies - the only dish that resembled normal food in appearance but in taste resembled driveway patching compound.  Bright note: they actually served REAL coffee!!! Go figure....

Hahaha true Universalist style!

Don'tcha know, when there's a fire in their respective churches, the Catholics will save the Bible, the Jewish will save the Koran, and the UU's will save the coffeemaker.

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This thread reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when Jerry can't stand the mutton that his girlfriend served him and he stuffs his pockets with it so as to not hurt her feelings. :biggrin: He is then followed through the streets by a pack of dogs.

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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re Katherine's latest post

Oh. My. God. :blink:

I was going to post something clever about the worst meal I ever ate (have to be the horrible prepackaged chicken nuggets that my first college apartment roomie proudly presented as an example of his stellar culinary skills. Deep fried--they were black on the outside and FROZEN on the inside), but nothing...NOTHING could possibly compare to this.

I think this post should be declared a work of art and preserved forever.

K

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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Katherine, I had to read through some passages several times because the tears made the letters blur.

"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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Katherine,

You were together much, much too long! :biggrin:

and I thought my meal last week of chicken, bean sprouts and can of mushroom soup was bad...... :blink:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Katherine, I had to read through some passages several times because the tears made the letters blur.

Yep, I think Katherine's meals win. God, what you did for that man should qualify you for sainthood. Were you spending the night there, or could you at least eat before and after you went there?

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Katherine, I had to read through some passages several times because the tears made the letters blur.

Yep, I think Katherine's meals win. God, what you did for that man should qualify you for sainthood. Were you spending the night there, or could you at least eat before and after you went there?

Before I moved up to the area and got my own apartment, I stayed there on visits. But it happened fairly soon that I got my own place.

After we were married, when we ate there, that was the meal. Since it was what he grew up on, even though he recognized that certain aspects were, say, inferior when compared with absolute standards, in his opinion it was certainly good enough for me.

There was always that discrepancy between what the rest of the world considered minimally acceptable and what was good enough for me.

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It's great to see threads that expired long before I joined being resurrected.

I was unfortunate to be born in the early '40s to parents who lived through the depression and at a time when much food was rationed. To make things worse, my mother learned to cook from her mother who was English.

To be honest, I can't remember a single meal that was edible. I still remember the bag of white oleo with the color capsule. The only fresh vegetable I can remember is iceberg lettuce served with thousand island dressing. Everything else was canned. Clarence Birdseye predates me, but none of his products made it into my parents house.

It wasn't until I went away to college and started dating a woman who grew up on a farm that I learned that food actually tasted good.

Jim

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I still remember the bag of white oleo with the color capsule.

My favorite family story is about the time one of my mom's brothers, who was assigned to color the oleo, inadvertantly colored the lard. Upon discovering this.... AFTER the entire family had used the yellow lard on their potatoes at dinner and gleefully eaten them without noticing..... my horrifed graqndmother banished oleo from the house, insisting that it was to be butter or nothing (not an easy choice to make at the height of the depression with nine children). She may not have been a great cook but she took care in selecting food. My mom's job was to go to the neighborhood butcher to get ground beef for the meatloaf but she was only allowed to buy beef that she actually saw them grind from the chuck - my grandmother (wisely and with prescience) did not trust any meat that was pre-ground. She also got vegetable deliveries twice every day and also stripped opened and checked every single ear of corn individually to see if it met her standards before she agreed to buy. Where on earth did people find the time?

My worst all-time meal: made in my own campus apartment in college by our one wealthy roommate who had grown up in Scarsdale in a home with plenty of hired help. he promised to make us "Randy Zorb's famous lemon chicken". Randy had been his roommate the previous year and we would be treated to a recipe learned from Randy.

See recipe as follows:

Take eight chicken thighs (two per person) and soak in a bowl of RealLemon juice for 24 hours

Bake in oven at 375 degrees until thjey're not too rubbery

Put on plates and serve

Mention to to all guests that you "think there might be some frozen brussel sprouts in the freezer if anyone wants to make some"

That was the entire meal... next time out he poured the envelope of Kraft cheese mix powder directly into the boiling water with the macaroni and asked what to do next. Needless to say, we all started cookign for ourselves after that.

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The worst meal I ever had took place DURING MY ENTIRE CHILDHOOD!!

My parents both cooked and we had a weekly schedule of dinners which consisted of: Swiss Style Steak (block of meat seared in a electric frying pan and then boiled with a can of tomatoes), Hamburger Thing (hamburger meat and Birds Eye frozen vegetables boiled together and ever so slightly drained before serving), Cheez Whiz sandwiches, Baked Chicken with Cream of Mushroom soup and croutons poured on top..chicken was never cooked thoroughly, and finally fatty porkchops fried in bacon grease that sat on the counter for years.

This is why I went to culinary school and became a chef!

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Needless to say, we all started cooking for ourselves after that.

The Conspiracy Theorist in me has me wondering if that was his plan along.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Good for you, Raynickben.

"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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Ack, Raynickben, you just opened a memory that was better repressed.

This won't top Katherine's little shop of horrors, but it is the worst meal of my life, and my mother gave birth to it one day after she dreamed it the night before.

Into a pan with pork chops, she added apples, sauerkraut, carrots and, I think, brown sugar or something. The sauerkraut alone was bad enough to warrant a phone call to CPS, but the entire meal was an abomination of such disastrous proportions that all four of us girls sat at the table, mournfully poking the ghastly mess with our forks. Plaintive voices: "Are you sure we have to eat this?" "But Moh-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-hm. It's gross."

She got madder and madder, and the littlest sister fell into tears because she knew there was strawberry shortcake for dessert, and no chance of getting any unless she ingested the putrid concoction.

I stand on record as being the only child to choke it down—my sisters were not brave or willing, and I think they felt I betrayed them in breaking ranks and finishing my dinner. I was only motivated by the shortcake.

Of course, now it's a family joke, at least to the four daughters that lived through that meal. My mother still insists we were just too coarse to appreciate the subtleties of her cooking, but we insist it was a load of barf.

God, I might need therapy.

Edited by tanabutler (log)
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Last night, I re-read Laurie Colwin's essay Repulsive Dinners: A Memior.

My favorite line was:

Somehow I have never felt that "interesting" is an encouraging word when applied to food.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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The worst meal I ever had took place DURING MY ENTIRE CHILDHOOD!! 

My parents both cooked and we had a weekly schedule of dinners which consisted of: Swiss Style Steak (block of meat seared in a electric frying pan and then boiled with a can of tomatoes), Hamburger Thing (hamburger meat and Birds Eye frozen vegetables boiled together and ever so slightly drained before serving), Cheez Whiz sandwiches, Baked Chicken with Cream of Mushroom soup and croutons poured on top..chicken was never cooked thoroughly, and finally fatty porkchops fried in bacon grease that sat on the counter for years.

This is why I went to culinary school and became a chef!

you know your post reminds me of an article i read a long time ago about people who never got fed good food growing up are those most obsessed with making and finding good food when they grow up.

sounds like you had a rough time with it.

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Oh-- I remembered another one, just about a month ago, that qualifies. I was performing at a summer theater in upstate New York, just got back a couple of weeks ago. They had a cook--really, a lovely woman, worked her butt off for us and generally provided edible cafeteria-type food (sometimes it was even good. Her lasagna was delicious in that kind of generic American-food way), but there was one meal--well, let's just say that it's famous with anyone who has been to this festival.

It was known affectionately (?) among the participants as "block o'fish," and that's just what it was. Unidentifiable white-type fish, obviously pre-frozen, fried or baked or something with some kind of bread-crumbesque topping that came ON THE FISH...

Verily, a horror that defies my efforts at description. I'm not much for fish anyway, unless it's really fresh, and after the first experience even the smell of this stuff made me sick. We took to asking the cook right after lunch what she had planned for dinner, and if "fish" was the response, the cafeteria was practically deserted by the time the dinner bell rang.

*shudder*

Food should not be shaped like a block. That is just wrong.

K

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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As an accompaniment, there's derma (which is literally stuffed intestine, but in this case it has been pulled out of its casing - its spices, fat, and flour) mixed with overcooked tasteless pasta.

but my dear, this stuff known as derma is the wonderful delicacy known as kishke! of course, to mix it with pasta, let alone tasteless pasta, should be worthy of several years in jail at the least. kishke is a very very very heavy substance, and combined with tasteless pasta could well be lethal. eat it roasted with a bit of brisket and oy: so delish!

my husband, who isn't even jewish, has adopted kishke as his middle name. we had a cute kishke experience once, but i won't take the time to go in to it this moment. note that i said cute, not naughty as could perhaps be inferred........with the shape of the kishke and all.........

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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